I used to have a thing against crying.
I used to think crying made made the person look weak, like they can’t control themselves. It’s almost like peeing your pants, only it’s peeing down your face from the tear ducts. If only Depend made “Face Diapers.”
Nevertheless, I cry a lot.
I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m sad, I cry when it’s Tuesday. Often times, I cry when it’s Wednesday. I have no idea why people ask me to read things at their weddings—I’m inevitably going to cry. In fact, I just finished crying over a video on Facebook. Yeah, I’m that person.
As a yoga instructor, I have seen the miracle work of tears in action over the years. The first time I burst into tears in yoga was during a hip opening pose. If you are familiar with yoga, I don’t have to say more. If yoga is not your thing—we hold feelings and emotions in the cells of our bodies, and some yoga poses are great at clearing out those stagnant holdings.
I was told by a buff dude that he didn’t want to practice yoga anymore, because it made him feel “sad.” To me it was beautiful that yoga connected him to that part of himself—perhaps buried—but not to him. I don’t want to turn anyone off from yoga. Not everyone sobs during a practice—but if you do, it’s a very normal and sometimes expected thing. I’m not jazzed about blubbering in front of strangers because the foam in a Starbucks drink reminds me of the ocean, but I do carry fashionable travel packs of tissues just in case. Yoga studios often have tissues in the practice rooms and not just for of seasonal allergies.
My mom was a platinum-level crier. I was 12 or so years old when (then) President Jimmy Carter got Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat to sign the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty. In hindsight, well—you know, but at the time it was momentous. I was probably watching some crappy rerun, when my mom burst into the den, where the only TV was located, and watched the press conference announcing the treaty. She wept. Not like Demi Moore in “Ghost,” but real boo-hooing. When I realized she was actually happy about what was going on, I breathed a sigh of relief and said, “Wow! I can’t believe you are crying over a press conference!”
Wrong. Thing. To. Say.
She somehow managed to turn her pupils vertical like a snake. I learned a lot about the Middle-East from my mother that day, along with the curse she hissed: “I hope you have a daughter just like you one day!”
Well, Mom, these loins go unsullied—but, now I cry like it’s my f*cking job. I hope you are happy on whatever soft fluffy cloud that criers land on when they move on to the next plane.
I used to be more like my father—vocally expulsive. I thought it was only okay to cry when you ran into the coffee table while barefooted or if someone died. Somewhere along the way, the leak sprang up. I cry when it’s appropriate and sometimes when it’s inconvenient.
Say something nice—I cry. Say something mean—I might cry. Make me angry—I will absolutely cry. When I’m mad, I try to think of my copious tears as a mechanism that keeps me from exacting revenge on others. If I can’t see through blurry tear-filled eyes, I can’t possibly swing my scythe at them with any accuracy.
I know that crying is a release. In the immortal words of Shrek: “Better out than in!” And even though he was talking about flatulence, I ascribe to that motto, not only for myself but for everyone. The world would be a much better place if we would just let it the f*ck out once in a while.
Tears are a healing balm on the soul—the essence that our meat-suits encase and transport through the slings and arrows of this human experience.
I do know that when I cry I am reminded I am alive.
When I cry, it forces me to stop whatever I’m doing. I sometimes shake my fist at the sky and say, “Thanks a lot, Mom.” But mostly I look up at the sky and think, “Look, Mom, I’m crying just like you.” We are still connected through our watery DNA, and I wouldn’t change a drop.
There are many exquisite quotes on tears. They are the water that feeds the flowers in our soul—they are the physical manifestation of our appreciation of beauty. Sometimes tears are the words we can’t speak—the love, joy or pain we can’t announce. Some things are too deep for tears. Sadness is a transitory condition and so are tears. If you’re a Buddhist, all of this is transitory. Try to remember that if you are not prone to letting it out, it all ends—even the tears—so let go.
Like Holly Hunter in “Broadcast News,” if you have to set aside a time in your day to cry—do it. If you feel bound up by life, family, work, social responsibilities—cry.
A good cry can be more deeply healing than a round of antibiotics, especially if you have been ignoring yourself and this journey. Let it out. You aren’t alone—I have a huge supply of tissues, and I am happy to share.
You deserve a good cry.
Author: Melissa Morgan
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Flickr/Metro Centric