I Can’t Cry… and That’s Okay!

I just finished watching Parenthood, a fantastic show full of family and love and laughs. It is also a show full of cancer, hardships, failures, and tears...but not my tears. I watched the last episode, and I smiled and laughed and felt sadness all at the same time, but I felt like I should have been crying given that I felt all of these things. So I tried really hard to in order to prove to myself that I could do it. I sat in complete darkness and focused. I clenched my eyes shut, thought very hard about sad things, and blinked, blinked, and blinked some more, but alas, no tears.

Not a single tear was shed through six seasons of emotional highs and lows.

I should not be surprised, though. I do not cry often, and on the rare occasions that I do, no one sees. I sometimes feel guilty that I can’t cry when bad things happen. I don’t cry at movies or TV shows, and I don’t cry about things that make me sad or frustrated in my everyday life. For a long time, I thought I was some sort of sociopath who couldn’t feel what other people were feeling because I couldn’t cry when others were sad. Hell, I couldn’t even cry when I was sad, lost, or scared.

But I realized something over time.

Just because I cannot cry when I am sad or someone else is sad does not mean that I am a sociopath. It does not mean that I lack empathy. I can feel others’ pain. I can empathize. I can feel my own hurt. My skin is just a little tougher than I'd like to admit, and I process emotion in a more reserved way.

I believe that crying can express vulnerability and beauty and honesty. I know I possess these things, but I express them in other ways. My lack of crying does not mean that I am broken or that I am strong all the time. Others’ crying does not make them weak. We express emotions in different ways, and I am still working on expressing how I feel (I am a personal fan of hiding all emotion from others…yes, I know, SO healthy!) Yet, I have realized that trying to make myself cry or feeling embarrassed for not crying is dishonest, and I want to be honest...

...and here I am being honest. I cannot cry, and that is okay! For all of those who struggle with their emotions too, it’s okay. We are okay. Actually, we are more than okay. Not weird, or “off”, or sociopaths. We are just a little more reserved with our feelings.