We were sitting outside of the school in the pick-up lane, awkwardly hugging one another, with me still strapped into the driver’s seat and her behind me in the backseat.
I asked her what was wrong and she says through her sobs, “My friends told me that I cry too much.”
Just like that I was sent spinning back to my own childhood, when my fourth grade teacher told me in front of the class to “stop being so emotional all of the time” amidst the snickers of my classmates, and when my sixth grade friends decided at a birthday party to no longer hang out with me because I was teary-eyed over a close friend of our family being sent to the Gulf War.
I felt the pain of being told a thousand times to stop crying, stop being so emotional. I remembered the deep sadness that came from being a misunderstood child.
I have learned to embrace being a highly sensitive person.
I know now that being a kind and compassionate being makes me a better mother, nurse and person. I know that my tears have a purpose—a release valve for all of the pain that I carry everyday. Without my tears, I could not continue to do my work as a pediatric nurse, as a loving mother, as a writer determined to make others feel less alone in the world.
I long ago embraced that I am what society would call a Crybaby.
Yet, as a child, I desperately wished to be a child that didn’t show her heart on her sleeves everyday, who rarely went more than a day without some adult telling her to “just stop crying.” At that time, there weren’t books about highly sensitive persons and articles about how to cope as an empath. I had not yet discovered creative and introspective outlets for my emotions like journaling, meditation, yoga and the multitude of other coping methods that I now have.
As I look at my children today, two of the three who are also highly sensitive, I am grateful for the wealth of information that I have to pass onto them. I hope that, with my information as a compass, they can find their own way in the world more easily than I did. That they will not spend twenty something years trying desperately to hide their true selves from the world, ashamed of the emotions that could well up inside me at the drop of a hat.
But we are here, today, in this moment. This moment is not for a passing on of coping skills, for helping her to find a creative outlet, for assuring her that what today seems like a flaw may someday be her greatest strength.
No, in this moment I will cry along with my baby until her tears and my own are spent, because there is no better release in the world for two Crybabies than to sit and have a good cry, together.
Author: Amanda Redhead
Editor: Emily Bartran