I mentioned in an earlier post that I would need to address crying at some point. The next few posts touch on the subject of crying, so I wanted to chat about that at this juncture. I told you I could win an Olympic gold medal in the art of crying, and I’m quite sure I could. I seriously do not know anyone who cries as much as I do. It’s just not something I can control, and I’ve long since given up the need to even try. It is as much a part of me as my arm or my leg. To quote an old song I love, Cross to Bear, I wear my heart like a wrinkle on my sleeve. The picture above is part of a complicated caricature that a dear old friend drew of me years ago. I was always known for my crying.
My dad was the same way. I couldn’t even begin to count how many times I saw his eyes fill with tears, an emotional man. I thank him for that. My mother, on the other hand, I probably only saw cry a few times in my life. Clearly, in this respect, I took after my dad.
A humorous story, when my mom was a few months from the end, she one day became so upset she started to cry. I reacted so strongly (me, who doesn’t think twice about crying). I ran to her caretakers telling them they needed to “help my mom, she’s crying!!!! My mom doesn’t cry.” They, of course, did help her, and her tears dried. But I had to laugh at my reaction to her crying. I wasn’t really one to overreact in these matters, but that day, I sure did.
When my kids were young, my son came home with one of his school art projects. He had to make a drawing and a description of his family. Of course, we were all stick figures, but he wrote something about his mom always crying, or there always being tears in his house. It shocked me truly. And I’m sure the teacher probably wondered if I was depressed, but Jordan had drawn an accurate portrayal of his family. And I did always cry, but for so many different reasons, and thankfully, most of them had nothing to do with being depressed. I think what actually makes me cry is feeling. I’ve come to treasure the depth to which I feel things, and yes, sometimes it’s brutal, but when it’s good, it’s oh so good. The pendulum always swings both ways, but in the end, I would never give up the joy to avoid the pain.
Probably because I have been such a crier in my life, I’ve done a lot of thinking about how our society treats the subject of crying. For the most part, it’s considered a weakness. For instance, someone who loses a loved one, is described as “holding up well” if they are not crying in their grief. Or “she is being strong.” I’m sure you have heard that one before?
Well, I actually think it’s the opposite. What’s strong is feeling the pain if you really think about it. So many other countries not only embrace grieving and crying, they encourage it. We hide it away like some awful step child.
I say this, if my loved ones are NOT crying at my funeral, then I’ve done something way wrong in this life.
Another belief I have about crying is this (can you tell I’ve given this a lot of thought?) pretty much everything we have been equipped with in our bodies serves a purpose, right? We would never entertain the idea of trying not to urinate (unless there’s no bathroom handy). Of course we wouldn’t, because if we did have the power to control that function for weeks or months, it wouldn’t be long before we’d be sick.
I think our tears are no different. We cry to release our pain. Crying releases endorphins similar to exercising that bring about a feeling of well-being. I believe that a lack of crying creates an illness, so to speak, in your soul, that over time can become an illness in your body.
I say, have a good cry! It’s so damn good for you. Encourage it, put on the saddest song you know or watch a tear-jerker, and for once, don’t fight back the tears. I’ve learned that crying establishes a clarity in my thinking and reasoning powers. It’s healing in every way.
I feel lucky to be blessed with a happy disposition, but I wonder … how much of that might be because tears are never too far away for me? The saying “wash away your sorrows” rings true. I can certainly say I wash away a lot on a regular basis.
If I’m writing and I’m not crying, it’s probably not a very good piece, because it means I’m not feeling it. And if I’m not feeling it, how can I expect someone else to feel it? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this conversation with my kids on the phone.
“You crying, mom?”
“Yeah, just writing.”
“Oh, okay, good.” And that’s the end of that subject, not even worth a second thought. They start in right away to tell me what they are calling about. It’s just status quo.
I cried a lot in the yoga class, of course. And it was nice to be in an environment again that treated it just as my kids do, status quo.
Some might say I take things too personal. And maybe that’s true. But there’s another line in my favorite movie, You’ve Got Mail, that runs through my mind often.
“What is so wrong with being personal anyway?
Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.”
I so agree.
Finally feeling better. Back tomorrow.