February 27, 2013 at 3:11 pm | Posted in Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy), Cult of Personality | 6 Comments

I don’t cry very much.

I DEFINITELY don’t cry in front of people.

You see, that would mean I’m being vulnerable.

No, it’s far more easy to be angry, to develop a hard shell over the soft places, to never show anyone how bruised and battered those places get.

When Amy died, I couldn’t let myself cry in front of anyone. I told myself that I had no right to cry, because my aunt and uncle and cousins all lost far more than I had. So instead, I crept off into the funeral parlor bathroom to cry – I snuck off because I didn’t want anyone to know I was off crying. And I sobbed into my pillow at night, muffling my grief as best as I could until the burning of my eyes hurt too much to continue.

Eventually, I stopped crying over Amy. Because I was choking on my grief, and I didn’t know how to get through it without dying myself.

So I buried it. And over time, it got easier – the not crying. I turned them around – made tears into motivation. I was going to SHOW someone I wasn’t weak, I would prove to them that I was strong, and capable.

And, eventually, I went on the offensive, pre-emptively turning those tears into anger or criticism or annoyance before I could get hurt enough to cry.

And here I am. Nearly 20 years later. When I cry now, it’s mostly from anger – when I’m impotent with rage and my throat closes up and there’s nothing I can do but let it out.

It’s rare, though.

I can count one hand the times I’ve cried about losing my pregnancy last fall. Even when I felt completely shattered, even when I was being kind to myself, even when I told myself I NEEDED a cry – it was never for long, and never in front of anyone.

Never the release from the pain I hoped it would be.

I am now part of a family of criers – my sister in law, mother in law, and even my father in law will often cry when telling a story that moves them. Charlie’s cousin S, going through treatments, told me, tearfully, I cry all the time now.

I am so CURIOUS about it. I’m amazed by their ability to open up and allow themselves to be vulnerable in those moments when their eyes well up. I wonder if crying is a release for them, or if they’re embarrassed by it.

And I’m envious of the freedom in which they feel their emotions. I wish, sometimes, I was as free with my emotions as they are. I wish that when I cried, it wasn’t entwined with anger. I wish I wasn’t angry so much, come to think of it. I wish I hadn’t spent so many years building up this shell around my heart.

Dismantling it is such hard work.



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  1. I didn’t used to ever cry, but the pregnancy hormones with J made me cry a lot, and then for some reason I just never stopped. It’s weird. I’m only embarrassed if I cry in front of someone in a professional situation, which obviously is rare (and generally not more than getting teary).

  2. The art of letting go and crying. It is such a refreshing release even if it guts you.

    When my brother died, I never cried in front of anyone in my family see me cry. They put it on me, to be strong, at 11, and I didn’t want to make things worse for my mom. Do you know she used that as a weapon many years later? “You never shed a tear for your brother” she wielded at me.

    I cry a lot and over myriad things (the Pioneer Woman just posted about saving a calf on their ranch and hand nursing it back to health and I cried. Gentle tears, not an ugly cry.

    And, yes, dismantling is hard work. Keep at it.

  3. I’m a crier. Big time crier. I cry easily and often. Privately. Big caveat there. I don’t like to cry in front of people. And the very few people I allow myself to cry in front of I still don’t feel completely safe doing so. It’s the most vulnerable position I have ever been in – to cry in front of others. I have been hurt by so many friends and family that crying in front of them? As far as I’m concerned, they haven’t earned the right to see it. But it’s hard, because that limits who I can be authentic with, and that, as you know, is exhausting.

    ❤ ❤ ❤

  4. I’m a big crier. I cry very easily. For most of this year I’ve cried after one particular class every day. I cry most easily from frustration. When I am upset about something, frustrate that something is not going the way I want, I definitely cry. I also cry from grief and sadness. I cry easily at movies and TV shows. I just cry.

    I definitely got the message when I was young that I cried a bit easily but I was rarely embarrassed by it. Only when it happens at work, in front of superiors, do I feel embarrassed. I don’t know why I’m okay with my crying. I just am.

    You’re right that dismantling the fortress around your heart will be hard work but I think ultimately it will be fulfilling. I hope you can find a way.

  5. I tend to use movies as a way to cry. I tear up sometimes, but rarely do a full cry. I do feel better after I do, though.

  6. I don’t cry very much, either. And lately, feeling depressed, I’ve been wishing I could cry, wondering if it would make me feel any better. Sometimes music helps, but I just feel like I’m made of stone sometimes. Here’s to the wrecking ball, sister.

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