Yeah, so I’m a crier. You got a problem?

I used to think it was cool to be tough. I still think that, a little. I used to want to be described as “fiery,” and “stubborn,” and even “difficult,” because that sounded like someone who might disguise herself as a boy and train to be a knight in the king’s court, or tame dragons, or, even in this world, be pretty kickass.

(um, yes! That armor might be a little tight on me, but I could definitely do the cloak)

The last thing I wanted to be described as was “nice.” And the last thing I wanted to do was cry.

It turns out, I’m pretty nice. At least, as far as I can tell. And I cry all the time these days.

Crying has always felt like quitting, to me. Crying happens at the very end, when all else fails. It’s sort of shameful.

Crying is girly, and girly didn’t feel like me.

 

Crying is a sign of weakness. It’s like rolling over and exposing your soft underbelly, when you have hard scales like armor everywhere else (I might still be thinking about dragons).  It’s a little pathetic.

And the worst is crying for no good reason, when there are other people around. That happened to me once, in front of my big cousin. He was really cool and four years older and knew all the secrets of dating. I was fourteen. And I got so frustrated, trying to explain something to him, that I started to cry. I don’t remember what the thing was. I don’t remember any of the conversation. I just remember the terrible, horribly embarrassing crying. I couldn’t believe I’d let myself do that.

I remember crying in college, freshman year. It was right after my birthday. At 3 in the morning (because in college everything happens at 3 in the morning). Inexplicably, I started crying. And when the crying started, I realized that it was about missing my parents. How awful. I was an adult! I was independent! And here I was, sobbing, because I missed my parents so much. And it was more than that. I didn’t just miss them—I loved them so intensely that it overwhelmed me. I loved them with everything that I was. The sort of love that it’s totally not cool to admit you feel for your parents when you’re eighteen. That would be weird, or something. The kind of love that you usually have, but usually don’t have to think about. Existential love. Without you, I don’t know how I’d go on. It was horrible.

It was inevitable that I become a crier, though.

Both of my parents cry. My dad tears up every single time something moves him. It doesn’t take much. A hug, a moment of closeness. My mom is equally emotional. We tease her mom, because she cries practically every time the family gets together, out of joy and tenderness. We are some seriously emotional people.

And so, as I grew older, instead of getting tougher, I became…more the way I actually was inside. Which was a huge disappointment. Because suddenly tears sprang to my eyes with hardly any provocation at all. The day I found myself crying over a commercial, about a kitten, for cat food, I knew I was done.

Cat food. Cat food!

But the music! It swelled! And the tiny kitten! It grew up! And became a cat! Life is so beautiful! So precious!

That’s pretty much my mind, now.

I cry a lot because life is so delicate and stunning and irreplaceable, but also multitudinous. Yup. It makes me cry.

I cry because I love people a lot. Bear, for example. Especially when he’s asleep, and I look at his face. I’m almost always immediately overwhelmed by love and fear and helplessness and hope. Goddamn.

I cry because I’m frustrated sometimes. I cried when I got that rejection letter the other day. And then, after like three seconds, I felt so ridiculous for crying that I stopped. Which is promising.

I cry because I’m scared—because I am not in control, and occasionally things give the appearance of tumbling apart instead of knitting obediently together. Stupid things.

I cry because I am sad. Sad about people who have been abused. Sad about people being cruel to other people. Sad about the way that people are excluded.  Sad about the dogs that get abandoned on “Dead Dog Beach” in Puerto Rico.

I cry because I am sensitive.

In Quiet, the book about introversion by Susan Cain, she talks about sensitivity a lot. She talks about how sensitive people are often deeply impacted by things that are happening halfway across the world. They care, without particularly meaning to, about people they’ve never met, in situations they don’t fully understand.

Yup, I thought. Yup yup yup. Damn it.

You can’t turn that off.

And also, she goes on to say, highly sensitive people are very attuned to beauty. She doesn’t get into details. But, as poetry does without explaining, it spoke to me.

That sounds like an upside!

That’s what it said, when it spoke.

But the thing is, the more I cry, the better at it I get. By which I mean, I am beginning to have some respect for crying. Instead of feeling like I’m seriously failing to get a grip, I wonder if maybe this is something that might be worth crying over. Like, kittens. They are so cute and vulnerable. I want to protect them. Maybe that’s OK. My cat is on my lap right now, purring happily. Every time I see a cat food commercial, she gets extra petting. And every time I look a Bear’s face as he’s sleeping and feel awed and astonished that he is my partner, and that I am sharing life with someone else like this, it makes me want to tell him how much I love him the next day. So that’s good.

As for the crying because of stuff like rejection letters—I don’t know. At least it was only three seconds last time.

And I’d rather be a dragon tamer, if I could choose.

But since I can’t, I think that I can take a little crying over the milk that got spilled, in exchange for the sensitivity that I can’t help but feel towards people in trouble, towards the world in general, towards beauty—whatever fascinating set of things it might cover, and towards the people I love.

Not so bad.

So bring on the tears!

Also, I think it’s actually possible to be fiery and nice at the same time. If not, I’m gonna do it anyway.

 

(Bring it on, adorable kittens!)

* *  *

How do you feel about crying?

Unroast: Today I love my wrists.

P.S. It might even be possible to be tough and nice at the same time! Imagine that! :-)

P.P.S. I just noticed that people are talking about me over on the big blogger bashing blog Get Off My Internets. I thought the timing was funny, with this post about being sensitive. I actually read through the comments, which I never do, just because I was so impressed that people wanted to have a conversation about how lame I am, so far away from my blog and my writing. I got called “batshit crazy” a lot and some people seem to think I think Bear is ugly. Which is bizarre. And the really weird thing was, it didn’t bother me. I was kind of flattered, oddly. And thanks to the people who defended me, even in that forum, even if you agreed that I’m a little crazy. I guess I’m willing to be seen as a little crazy, if that’s what it takes to have an honest conversation on the internet :-) . But to the haters: here’s more fodder: I cry a lot! And then I write about it.

In happier news:

A reader cake pic for the gallery! She tells me it’s red velvet…Yum! Send me yours soon:

 

59 Comments »

Kate on March 28th 2012 in being different, being sad

59 Responses to “Yeah, so I’m a crier. You got a problem?”

  1. Melanie responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 12:36 pm #

    I actually have the nickname “mafia.” I never raised my voice or caused a scene, but if someone was being out of line I would turn and calmly say, “You may want to adjust your behavior before someone does it for you.” If they continued, I would break their nose. You know what? I’m much happier now that I’m a passive crybaby. I cry or mist up probably once a day.

    When I first got sober, I cried CONSTANTLY. Probably because I’d been burying my feelings for so long, that they were all coming out at once and overwhelming me. Feeling was hard at first, but now I’m okay with it.

    As for that blog dissing bloggers, there are always going to be people who have negative things to say about you, even if you are damn near perfect. This blog is one of the most positive, helpful blogs out there so anyone who has something bad to say is probably just really insecure and lashing out. It has nothing to do with you at all. But hey, maybe it’ll get you some new readers that didn’t know about the blog before, so there’s that.

    I am pretty out of the closet batshit crazy. There’s nothing negative someone can say about my blog, or me, that I haven’t spent years saying about myself. I’m glad those years are over.

  2. katilda responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    i just found out about that GOMI blog earlier today and…GOOD HELL. i feel so sorry for people who have nothing better to do than sit around and hate other people. their lives must be really terrible if that’s the best they can come up with! maybe they all need a good cry? let it out, people! all that pent up rage can’t be doing anything good for their mental health. (also, i’m a crier too. the more so the older i get. i support you and your emotional ways. besides, maybe you could kill a dragon with love and tears…or better yet, make him your pet.)

  3. Emmi responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 12:39 pm #

    In my angsty teenage years I decided to squelch down my sensitive nature and be strong and tough. The past couple of years I have had to re-learn how to embrace my softer side. Being tough is good, but being soft is also good. I’m content with having both.

    My dad also cries at everything. We saw Paul Simon in concert last year, and he was choked up and leaking tears the whole time. I’m not that bad, but I do feel those instant emotional swells at films and books and commercials, where I feel my eyes fill up. But I don’t have an active-cry a lot. Usually during films.

    I’m not sure how sensitivity and beauty-appreciation are linked, but I do know that since I decided to let my emotional side flow I do find beauty in so many more things than I used to. It’s lovely!

  4. Elyse responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 12:47 pm #

    I love a good cry! I have films i watch that are a guarenteed cry when i need a blow out! My guilty cry moments come when watching kids films! Triumph over adversity gets me every time! Love the blog by the way……

  5. Frankie responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Sorry that GOMI haters decided to hate you. I really hate that that website even exists. It makes me sad that some people spend all their time hating on others.

    I am a crier too. In fact I’ve probably cried during the same commercial you referenced. I know that those Mac vs. PC commercials that were on a few years ago made me cry every time. I have no idea why. They just did. I get embarrassed when I cry, mostly because my best friend in ninth grade told me I looked hideous when I was crying because our classmate died. We didn’t stay best friends for long after that.

  6. Loren responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    I used to be a ‘crier’ when I was a child. And I remember it being the worst thing. Something would happen that would make me feel overwhelmed and frustrated and the tears would just pour out. Then an adult would yell at me to ‘Stop crying’ like it was something I could turn off and on like a faucet. Then I would always get sent to the bathroom to ‘wash my face’. No one really coddled my crying, I wouldn’t turn it on to get pity I just couldn’t help myself.
    Authority figures always seemed really irritated by this habit. I always wanted to yell ‘If I understood what was wrong I would STOP it.’
    I forced myself to stop crying when I got a little older, it was probably the worst decision I made. It wasn’t until the past year or two that I felt comfortable doing it in front of other people again. I know that damn cat commercial you are talking about. I well up every stinking time.
    Also, I do not understand the GOMI page, they don’t seem to be funny, but they have such an intimate knowledge of the internet they obviously closely follow most of the people that they hate. I don’t understand what they are complaining about half the time.

  7. aly responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 12:58 pm #

    I have never heard of GOMI before…wow. Why are people so mean? Why expend so much energy on negativity? I really don’t get it. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to read things like that about myself….totally made me flash back to the cruel girls in junior high. Do you get desensitized to mean comments over time?

  8. Amanda responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Oh man, this speaks to me. I am a crier and I’ve always hated it. The implications of crying are never good – you’re upset or sad or weak or hurt. And sometimes I am those things. But I also cry when I’m furiously angry, or when I’m tremendously happy (your Bear example rings very true), or when I am overwhelmed by the plight of the animal characters in a Disney movie (this happens a lot). It’s like there is a scale of 1-10, with 1 being very very sad and 10 being very very happy, and if I am anywhere outside of the range of, say, 4-7 I am probably crying. It’s just how I am and I really need to start accepting it and stop feeling like a sissy little crybaby every time I tear up.

  9. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Who are these evil blog bashers you speak of? Want I should get a baseball bat and kick some blog basher a**? They’re talking about you, which is good…even if it’s bad. Funny that. Like it or not, you have their attention…this is immensely funny. They have no idea how funny. As for CRYING? I don’t trust people who can’t or won’t cry. And…are you possibly pregnant?

  10. rowdygirl responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    “I cry because I am sensitive.” This is me. I’m also sarcastic and salty at times. My negative mother used to say things to make me cry and then would say.. You’re too sensitive, and moody” My ex-husband would torment me to the point of tears and then say “ohhh.. you’re gonna cry, are you?” So.. for me, crying is like failure. Not being to withstand something. But I’m working on it.

  11. Patricia responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    When I was a child, I cried at everything. My father, in particular, felt that this was not a habit to be encouraged and so there was a chart on the refrigerator with a gold star for every day I didn’t cry. I didn’t get many gold stars.

    As I reluctantly grew into an adult, I became embarrassed by the number of times tears welled up in my eyes. I was a teacher and teachers aren’t supposed to cry so I tried very hard to “cure” myself. During my early 50′s, I started taking an SSRI for depression, and, hey! I stopped crying! But after a few months, I notice that as well as not crying, I was also not laughing big belly laughs, I was not singing and, the really bad thing was that music stopped thrilling me, stopped raising the hair on the back of my neck. So, against medical advice, I slowly weaned myself off them.

    I developed my own “cures” for depression: go for a walk, harmonize with Three Dog Night and write about how I felt. And cry. Cry a lot.

    I am 77 and I still cry. I am a crier and that is a Good Thing. Crying is good. Crying relieves stress. My Irish aunt summed it up in a phrase I often use to myself. “Sit down and have a good cry and a nice cuppa tea and you’ll feel a lot better.” She was right.

  12. D responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    I’m not a crier (unless I’m watching movies…). My Mom always has been, and until I reached some point in my twenties, I really had a hard time dealing with it, because I didn’t understand it. I always equated it with weakness before, but now I’ve come to realize that I was just not being very nice or fair. Crying because you care is not a bad thing, and certainly not a sign of weakness. Crying about rejection letters means you care about your career- that is not bad!

    Sometimes I wish I cried more, I always feel so much better when I’m done.

  13. BornfromAcubicle responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 1:36 pm #

    if ur a bit crazy then I must be too! i end up agreeing on practically everything you write Kate..

  14. Haley responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    This resonated with me, as well. While I’m more likely to laugh at super-sappy commercials or movies, I do cry when frustrated or mad. The most embarrassing example was during my qualifying exam in grad school, during which the profs continue to ask you questions until you stop getting them right. I knew being wrong/clueless was inevitable, but that didn’t stop me from crying in front of these seasoned old guys when I got all confused. I fell like I lost all of my stoic smart girl cred. (although they did pass me, yay!)

  15. Christina McPants responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    It’s funny, GOMI picked on you for why I enjoy this blog. You manage to verbalize and analyze the insecurities that I have (and I think everyone has) and find ways to work through them.

  16. Celynne responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    I wish I could cry. I can get really really close, but I can’t let myself. And I certainly don’t trust anyone enough to cry around them either. I think it’s just one of our body’s ways of physically expressing some really powerful emotions, happy or sad. I have had some happy cries before, over things like how much I love my cat or how beautiful a forest is on a summer afternoon… I far prefer those cries than ones of pain.

  17. melissa responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    haha omg I cry all of the time. Sometimes for no reason! I’m just ridiculously empathetic! The other day I watched a funny video of a girl crying because she was so excited about something and I actually started tearing up, wtf?! It wasn’t even sad or even remotely moving!

    I think the most embarrassing cries sometimes are the ones that come after something so incredibly funny that I just can’t stop laughing. I mean, it’s worth it I guess, to laugh so much, but it’s still embarrassing :O

  18. Also Kate responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    When my therapist first described me as “sensitive” I was all: “Excuse me? I am not sensitive. I am a total badass. Also, I don’t have feelings. Feelings = weakness, obviously. I’m not even sure what we’re discussing here.”

    Obviously, I was the best therapy client ever. But yeah… it’s taken me a while to come around to the idea that I might be sensitive, because I’ve always wanted to be that warrior chick with the sword and the armor and the badassery. But I’m also deeply introverted, and I do hurt when I hear stories of abuse or injustice even when they are in no way connected to me, and I do love me some poetry and ok, mayyybe I cry while watching movies on occasion. So perhaps this sensitivity thing has more to recommend it than it seems at first glance.

  19. Kate responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    @katilda
    I totally want him to be my pet,
    And that sounds weird out of context.
    :-)

  20. Kate responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:34 pm #

    @Haley
    Oh no! That’s EXACTLY the situation I’d cry in. I’d try so hard to be as covert as possible about it. I’m glad they were understanding. I bet they actually see that a lot!

  21. Kate responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:36 pm #

    @Patricia
    I’m so glad that both your laughing and your crying are back and here to stay! Good for you! And your aunt’s comment makes me want tea. Now.

  22. Hannah responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:53 pm #

    @Patricia: I completely agree. Crying big tears and laughing big laughs come the same place. One’s worth it for the other.

    I cry because life is amazing and big, and sometimes it’s a little too big for me, and sometimes it’s a little too isolating for me, and sometimes it’s so big that I have to cry because I’m in awe of the whole universe. And sometimes it’s sometimes it’s missing a little too much amazing and sometimes it’s too amazing to live without tears.

    I’m trying to think of a good example of fiery and nice together. I know that there are….

    Also: learned a new word today! Multitudinous. Never seen “multitude” as an adjective before, so thanks :)

  23. notemily responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    Oh my god, is that the commercial with the guy who builds a kitten room for his girlfriend and gives her a kitten that says “marry us” on its collar? That one gets me EVERY TIME. It’s the room, I think. I foster kittens and I would LOVE to have a room like that.

  24. Kate responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:55 pm #

    @Hannah
    Thank you for noticing that word. I was proud of myself.

  25. Kate responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 2:56 pm #

    @notemily
    Damn it, yes. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to reveal any more details… :-)

  26. Phoebe responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    I love this. I’m a huge Crier…big time.

    I try so hard to be tough and badass but I am just really sensitive, But I think theres enough room in me to be all these things.

  27. katie responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    “And so, as I grew older, instead of getting tougher, I became…more the way I actually was inside. Which was a huge disappointment.”

    I so relate to this. Of course, I never thought that I might be fiery or tough. I might’ve fantasized about it once or twice, but I’ve always been a big weanie. I’ve decided that it’s a good thing, though. I’ve determined that crying is a sign of humanity. Those who don’t cry are missing something (perhaps a little defensive projection there!).

  28. Cammy responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 4:24 pm #

    I used to be a total Anticrier; I can think of maybe 3 crying events in the totality of my undergrad years. The past couple of years, though, I’ve gone from almost never crying to rarely passing a week without a tearshed. I don’t know if this is due to the fact that now I’m in a relationship that has helped me to break down a lot of emotional walls, or the fact that I’m now on birth control and it sometimes yo-yos my moods. Probably a little bit of both.

    Great topic!

  29. Lynellekw responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 4:31 pm #

    I cry when I get frustrated. Which has lead to crying inappropriately, like at work. I’ve decided to be cool about it. S I cry. So what? If it’s particularly bad, I’ll go to the toilets & wash my face & hide in a stall if I have to. But trying NOT to cry just makes it worse.

  30. Mara responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    It’s funny, because this whole crying thing is something I figured out for myself in the past year or so.
    I never wanted to cry. I hated it when I cried. I couldn’t understand why my eyeballs felt the need to leak whenever I was having a bad day!
    I knew I was tough. I was a strong personality, I was kinda badass for a middleschooler– but I just couldn’t reconcile the self that I knew with this person who cried so much.
    The problem there, of course, is that crying is so closely associated with weakness of some sort, with either being physically wounded or just emotionally weak.
    As it turns out, crying isn’t weakness. I am the fracking Queen of All Crybabies, okay? But no one will ever be able to convince me I’m weak for it, because I know it’s not true. (Also, they’d probably end up with a broken face if they tried.)

  31. Mandy responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    Yep, I cry too. And I’ve gotten alot more comfortable about it as I get older. But I’lm still not comfortable doing it in front of anyone but my husband.
    And as for the GOMI people… Let’s just realize that they’re wasting their time, talent and engergy being negative on purpose, and thereafter, ignore them the way you would politely not notice that someone is wandering around with their pants unzippped.

  32. Maggie responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 6:40 pm #

    When i am overwhelemed with emotion and yes that some times happens with a commercial …. Hallmark…and the tears flow……I cry.

    Love your blog.

    The folks at GOMI must not have jobs or lives to devote the amount of time required to read and write so negatively about bloggers.

  33. Kate responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 6:45 pm #

    @Maggie
    Oh my god, that Hallmark commercial. I am so, so embarrassed, but it gets me every time.

  34. Alicia Cumming responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 8:47 pm #

    You’re the woman for every woman. Your personal anecodotes really reflect our own fears, struggles and experiences, many which go beyond the mid-20s just out in the world and must find myself and be comfortable with who I am phase. It’s never ending. Love this. Another amazing blog about common life experiences-again speaks to everyone even though it’s theoretically geared for teenage girls (the editor is Tavi Gevinson), is this:
    http://rookiemag.com/

  35. Anna responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    I think crying is okay, because it’s much better than taking your emotions or other things in out on others or never doing anything about them. I have to say the last time I cried, it was because I was really, really frustrated and I wasn’t allowed to retaliate to the person I was angry at (read: my friends shoved me in a car and wouldn’t let me move until I agreed to not punch the person out, then we all agreed the person was to pathetic for me to care about)

  36. Sooz responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 9:49 pm #

    Kate: You are batshit crazy but in the BEST way possible. I love people who are a little off their rockers. Mostly b/c I’m one of them. Also, I cry all the damn time. About every damn thing. I’m EMOTIONAL. Sue me. (please don’t…I’d probably cry hysterically). Crying is good. Better out than in. And I am SOOOOOOOOO excited that you referenced the book QUIET. It’s my new “make me feel normal” bible….so to speak. Keep up your awesome crazy wonderful blogging. I for one…LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. Penny Ellen responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 10:30 pm #

    My boyfriend calls me the Hulk… I don’t cry nearly as often as I get angry about being as emotional as I am… as if it’s my fault! You cry, I smash!

    Also, I ran across you article in Huff Post today. I related to it so much I checked out your blog. :) Nice to see another woman with the same concept of beauty.

  38. S. responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Don’t listen to GOMI! You aren’t crazy. They are stupid.

  39. Jill responded on 28 Mar 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Amanda! aka commenter 8- Dude! Have you seen Kristen Bell’s interview on Ellen? She says LITERALLY the same thing about the 1-10 rating and crying outside of 4-7 (actually she says 3-7). And tells an awesome story about a sloth:

    http://ellen.warnerbros.com/2012/01/kristen_bells_sloth_meltdown_0131.php

    Even more awesome, the Gregory Brothers autotuned the interview:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ggq6wFUw2FU

    On topic: I’m a total crier, too.

  40. Sara responded on 29 Mar 2012 at 12:59 am #

    I tried so hard to be the badass when I was young, it kinda worked, but wasn’t much fun. I made slow progress loosening up after high school but since I’ve been married the emotional part of my brain made an unannounced decision that I must FEEL ALL THE EMOTIONS! For almost a year I would cry at the drop of a hat. I’m pretty sure that it was the fact that I finally felt safe enough to let all those undignified emotions go. I’ve learned to feel without losing it as of late, but not before my crew at my very stressful job gave me the review “You’re kinda emotional, but we like you and at least we know you REALLY care!”

  41. Isadora Vega responded on 29 Mar 2012 at 1:42 am #

    Tears are filled with stress hormones. Thats why human beings cry at stressful times, it releases those hormones and makes you feel better. Betcha didn’t know that, huh?

    I was the sensitive one. When I was a child my schoolmates followed me around chanting, “Teeny-Tiny is a whiny.” That’s probably why I hate crying in public.

  42. Lynn responded on 29 Mar 2012 at 7:42 am #

    I cry at commericals too! Sometimes I just feel things so overwhelmingly and intensely, good and bad, I can’t help but cry. I’ve come to embrace it :)

  43. Alpana Trivedi responded on 29 Mar 2012 at 10:59 am #

    Hooyah, criers!!!! Thanks for this wonderful post, Kate. Now maybe I can print this out and show it to my chain of command. There are so many things people can do that are worse (morally and legally) than crying and yet people here react like it’s the worst thing ever to show someone.

    People don’t get that I just cry to cry. It’s not to get special privileges or to “have it easier” or get out of work. The Navy seems to operate on “Perception is reality” (which is a whole new journal entry) mentality. Basically, I look emotionally unstable if people (especially higher-ranking people) seem me cry. I don’t know what they are afraid of. And it’s not a goddamn switch I can turn on and off. If I had been told to try to control it while I’m in my office, I’d still understand. But the feedback I’m getting is that don’t do it in public period and then my attitude is just “Go burn in hell.” You know, the whole “you’re a sailor 24/7″ bull-crap. Again, that applies if you’re out on liberty and cause incidents and do illegal things, but not if you cry in public. That’s just people being insecure. And how come other “sailorly” behaviors are more accepted like cursing, name-calling, or drinking? Surely, they don’t add up to much “good order and discipline.”

  44. Alpana Trivedi responded on 29 Mar 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    Also, I think there’s this mentality that you’re not “together” or “grown-up” if you have to resort to crying. I had a roommate who once said that “people should be able to get what they want without crying/whining.” But a lot of people don’t get that my reason isn’t that. It’s when everything is bad that I HAVE to cry and throw a tantrum because it’s all I have. It’s one of those “Well, if I HAVE to do fill-in-the-blank I sure as hell won’t do it quietly or with a smile.” And I DO get upset over “dumb” stuff. I’ve had people tell me that it’s okay to cry if “it’s something to cry over.” But who gets to decide? And who really has the market cornered on it?

    It seems that even in nurturing professions like therapist or counselor, you still have to have “professional detachment” to be helpful to your client. And in my job (which is DEFINITELY not nurturing), I’ve had people tell me that I’m so smart and have so much potential “if you just stop being so emotional about everything.” That’s another thing. Why do they pick on “very intelligent” people who cry at small things? It’s like the whole argument “I can’t believe an intelligent, articulate person like you throws tantrums. It’s childish and you need to stop!!” Maybe my ability to think deeply is not just limited to the intellect. And even Einstein said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Not that I’m claiming to be anything like Einstein, but it’s just an example, you know? But I see the argument every day that people seem somehow “less intelligent” if they get too emotional, as if they are mutually exclusive qualities.

  45. Jenn responded on 29 Mar 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    In my mental world crying is not acceptable. It is weak and I have to be strong and independant. I rarely allow myself to do it, especially if anyone is around. I can remember a few times I broke down in front of others and I was really embarrassed. If I feel a cry coming on, I hold it back. There are plenty of things that make me want to cry but I rarely do it. I don’t consider any of this to be healthy.
    I guess I’m just trying to show you the other end of spectrum so you’ll see you are not so bad off. It’s healthy to express your emotions so good for you!

  46. mia responded on 29 Mar 2012 at 5:48 pm #

    I cry at parades. So embarrassing. Also whenever anyone, but especially a child, sings “This Little Light of Mine.” I don’t even like parades, or that song. But …

  47. Marisa responded on 29 Mar 2012 at 8:40 pm #

    When I was a teenager, I thought crying was romantic and beautiful, because it meant that I really cared about something. As I’ve gotten older I still appreciate crying, but occasionally it does make me feel weak, especially if I’m crying because of something hurtful someone else has done. Then crying makes me feel victimized, and I get mad (but I still cry).
    The weird thing about crying when you’re sad and angry is that it makes people focus on the sadness and ignore the anger; if, instead, you shout and throw things, people focus on the anger and ignore the sadness and the hurt. In the first case, you are vulnerable (which some people confuse with being weak); in the second, the anger give you power. That power can be tempting, but is not necessarily productive.
    Also, on an unrelated note, it makes me really happy when men are able to cry. It gives me hope for a world where everyone can cry and still feel strong and badass. (You should start a collection of movie and book scenes where the characters cry and are still fierce and strong!)

  48. Christine responded on 29 Mar 2012 at 11:38 pm #

    Hi!

    I am a new reader and I could not be happier that I found this blog. Every entry that I’ve read so far has related to me in some way. You have the wonderful ability to take your thoughts and feelings (and some of mine, too) and put them into words, which is something I admire and wish I could do.

    So I just wanted to say thank you thank you thank you for doing what you do! You are inspiring.

  49. Kate responded on 30 Mar 2012 at 12:07 am #

    @Christine
    Hi! And thank you! I really appreciate this comment. Thanks for reading!

  50. Charise responded on 30 Mar 2012 at 11:09 am #

    Know what I don’t like? That I cry when I’m ANGRY. It does NOT help things when you are mad and trying to get your point across and the person you are angry at doesn’t take you seriously or thinks you are being manipulative because you are crying.

    I’ve always felt that people who NEVER cry are the being unhealthy about emotion. Too bad that is not how much of the (atleast working/professional) world sees it that way.

  51. Rachel responded on 02 Apr 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    I cry at everything too!! I cry at animal adverts, songs with sad, happy or love inspired lyrics, pictures of cute stuff, beautiful paintings and photography. I cry when I’m happy or sad or angry or inspired! I cry at home and at work in cafe’s and bars! I have always been embarrassed by my crying but after reading your blog I think I to shall try and embrace it! Thanks!

  52. Melinda responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 11:12 am #

    Kate…girl, I see so much of myself in this post! I’m very sensitive too.

    People have always viewed me as weak because of my sensitivity. But the truth is that yes, I’m girly. I am a woman of strength AND vulnerability. I cry. I laugh. I feel pain. And when I’m not overwhelmed by depression, I feel moments of immense joy.

    I cried often as a young girl. Whether it was because I was being bullied relentlessly, or because I was being abused, or because I was moved to tears by love. I cried because it was a natural reaction to things in my environment.

    But single mothers rarely allow their daughters to cry, even when they are hurt. My mother would get angry when I cried. She raised me the way boys are often raised. I wasn’t allowed to show anger or sadness. She wanted me to be “strong” but there is strength in sensitivity. She plays into the harmful myth about being a “strong Black woman” which means taking on multiple burdens/responsibilities and never letting your softer side show. Unfortunately, she suffers from high blood pressure as a result of holding her feelings in. I’ve only seen her cry a few times.

    As a woman, I find that people tend to see my tears as manipulative. I’ve had to cut a few people off for that reason. I don’t cry to manipulate others or get what I want. I cry because I am an emotional person who feels things very deeply.

    Sometimes I’m embarrassed when I cry, though…not only because of the perception that I’m weak/manipulative, but because I tend to “ugly-cry”, LMAO! It’s not a pretty sight.

  53. Kate responded on 05 Apr 2012 at 11:23 am #

    @Melinda
    I’ve really been liking all these thoughtful comments from you.
    You hit on two things here that really resonated with me– the idea of crying as manipulative, and the idea of crying as ugly. I wish I’d mentioned both in the post!
    When I was a kid, I knew a girl who would cry to get the attention of the boy she liked. It made me furious and I felt very strongly that I would never do something like that. And I didn’t, but I couldn’t help but perceive crying as potentially manipulative (we’re given so many images of a woman’s tears definitively ending an argument or changing the course of the discussion), and that made me feel even less comfortable crying.
    And I’ve also always been afraid that mine might be the “wrong” kind of crying. First of all, my nose ALWAYS runs. Always. It’s not cute or sweet. The idea that there’s a right and wrong kind of crying is ridiculous, but it’s there. I’ve definitely gotten the sense that I’m embarrassed to cry not just because it feels like revealing weakness, but also because I am bad at it. Bad at crying? What? Sigh…

  54. Suzy Marie responded on 06 Apr 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    I’m new to your blog but my goodness it’s wonderful! I was linked to one of your posts and I’ve not stopped reading since (about half an hour ago). I could have commented on many of your posts, but as a fellow crier I thought I’d say hello here. I cry at all sorts of things, and I totally get what you mean about the music, and the dramatic event all at the same time, totally overwhelming haha! Worst of all, I cry when I’m angry, which often gets mistaken for softness but actually is extreme anger. I think it’s totally possible to be nice and fierce at the same time though :)

  55. Eat the Damn Cake » black women and fat and a photo of a girl wearing someone else’s face responded on 10 May 2012 at 11:13 am #

    [...] is not totally rare that I am moved to tears, but this time it was for a good [...]

  56. Eat the Damn Cake » you big softy responded on 24 May 2012 at 11:58 am #

    [...] Because softness isn’t good. It’s weakness. It’s vulnerability. It’s crying in class. It’s having no will power. It’s wimping out. It’s giving up. It’s admitting [...]

  57. Cryer and a Teacher too... responded on 06 Nov 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Cried at school after being bullied by students (mean, disrespectful comments) and Admin (you will have to teach the students w/behavioral issues again for the 7th straight semester, don’t let it get too you like that…)

    @Kate and @Melinda
    Thanks……so encouraged now to just be me – and still do my job effectively!

  58. Black Women and Fat and a Photo of a Girl Wearing Someone Else’s Face | We Are the Real Deal responded on 01 Apr 2013 at 6:13 am #

    [...] is not totally rare that I am moved to tears, but this time it was for a good [...]

  59. amy responded on 19 Apr 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    omg yes. i’ve been crying a lot lately and can’t seem to explain it to people, but this does so perfectly. thanks :-D

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