When we were kids, our reputations were defined by quirks. These were small and unimportant at first glance, but as soon as somebody found out what they were, it was just as significant as your name. There was the horse girl, or the boy that told fart jokes, the blonde that owned the Holiday Barbie collection – and then there was me – the crier.
I cried when my mom first dropped me off at Kindergarten. I cried when I couldn’t eat my peanut butter sandwich in a peanut free class. I cried when I couldn’t remember my last name. My teachers, family and friends would often tell me I cried way too much and that I should stop being so overly sensitive. I’ve tried this, but always failed. With tears the size of grapes, snot bubbles and a wail which sounds like a Second World War siren- I’d blow off.
I always thought crying was a taboo. If girls weren’t supposed to cry- then boys really shouldn’t cry. I’ve watched my brother be shamed for shedding tears because someone believes he’s broken his facade of masculinity.
While I always understood the appearance aspect of crying in public (it’s not pretty to look at) I never grasped the reason why it’s a bad idea to cry regardless. I remember when I broke up with my first boyfriend, my parents would tell me- in my own bedroom- to stop crying. But I was in the sanctity of my own personal space and I wasn’t ‘offending’ anybody by loud hiccuping cries. Why does our society forbid crying?
We don’t like showing our vulnerabilities. Showing your flaws and weaknesses isn’t going to promise you success. Happiness is the way forward- you must smile, not slouch. As a society, we are forced to keep up appearances and act as if everything is alright. But the more I think about it, the less this makes sense. If you were to choose between someone who’s accepted reality, cried, and moved on, as opposed to somebody on the other side of spectrum, who bottles their own emotions, who is the person that really matured and grew from that experience?
Crying is the acceptance of reality. I’ve learned the more you deny the problems and the situations in front of you, the more it will build in the future. It’s a way of you saying that yes, this is difficult, yes this hurts. After all, crying is a normal emotion and it reminds you that you are only human and capable of doing only so much. I try to think of crying as a way to funnel all of my negative thoughts out of my body, as if I’m physically rejecting the mess of emotions in an effort to feel clean and renew.
And even if you still feel upset after crying, that’s okay too. But you will feel some weight lifted off your chest.
I remember in a former class I took, my professor was discussing the importance of showcasing vulnerability. It’s a quote that’s stuck with me for a long time.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity,” professor Ben Barry, the head of the fashion department at Ryerson said. “Being vulnerable allows you to create counter discourse.”
Crying isn’t going to win you the nobel prize but it will allow you to think more deeply and critically about the situation that upset you. It opens up a passage to make you think more clearly and rationally on ways to solve or bypass the problem. Additionally, showing people you are having a difficult time is a sign of courage; you are allowing them to help you.
So whenever I’m confronted with anybody that’s upset, I tell them to cry it all out and to never apologize for it. Cry as much as you want, and when you feel that you are done, wipe the tears away and start anew.