So, I cried tonight. We’re not talking some sniffles and a couple gasps… these were big old bitch baby tears. The kind of snotty cry that leaves you looking at yourself in the mirror just because even you are surprised that someone can contort their face into something that looks so simultaneously pitiful and confusing at the same time. It makes me want to be a puppy, because even when puppies are whining and crying, we want to hug them and love them and be their friend. But when I cry, at least like I did tonight, it makes me look like something akin to Cher’s son in Mask. (And because I just Google searched that, I won’t sleep for the rest of the night. Super.)
But in the long run, I think I like crying; sometimes, I think I do it for sport. And other than that one commercial that comes on during Christmas when that girl’s brother comes home from African and fixes himself some coffee, then she puts the bow on him and says You’re my gift this year, I usually don’t cry that often. I learned to control it, especially the intense ones, because of my excessive tears shed in elementary school. If one could dehydrate from tears, I would have from ages five to nine. But every once in a while, a good cry is fantastic… cathartic even. It’s your moment to completely own everything inside of you, and if you’re going to take the time to cry, just go ahead and cry about everything. Sure, your boyfriend just broke up with you, but don’t forget about the economy and those one-eyed dogs on the ASPCA commercial, and how Mags died in Catching Fire (spoiler alert!), and all those smallpox blankets the Europeans brought over to the Native Americans. Just go ahead and ball your eyes out about everything that might have bothered you because in such a fast paced society, you may not get the chance to cry again for some time. I think I may have even cried about how Gabby Douglas didn’t do so well on the uneven bars this week, and then I cried because it was time for a nice African American girl to win the all around. I cried about everything, and it was great!
And I’m no stranger to a good tear fest. Back my senior year of high school, during what was supposed to be an assembly about graduation, I received my second consecutive D on an English paper. I was done. Capoot. I’m not saying that grades regularly brought me to tears; I like to believe I cry about mostly important things, but with graduation at hand and so many Ds served all at once, I think I was well overdue for a cry. So, I walked into Mrs. Freels’ Art I class full of a bunch of freshman with tears streaming down my face, threw myself into the darkroom revolving door and just cried in that extremely dark photography corridor. Mrs. Freels followed behind and I explained everything to her: the graduation, the Ds, my fear of everything in the world, probably something topical I had seen on TV that week and she responded, Well, just cry. Keep crying until it’s all out. I can’t remember the last time that I cried… most adults can’t. That’s why we’re all in therapy because we’re too embarrassed to do exactly what we all want to do: cry. This is healthy; I wish we could all be this healthy. And then her words made me stop crying because I was confused. I didn’t understand… why don’t adults cry? I know after a good cry, I’m ready for a nap because my eyes are tired, and I usually rest like a dream.
And from that day, I’ve never stopped a good cry from happening because if my absolute distain for celery, running, and daily vitamins doesn’t have me in the ground by forty, then I really can’t afford to not be mentally healthy by withstanding a nice cry. And I’m sure I’ll cry more in the coming weeks, and you know what, I think you should, too. Maybe not about me (but honestly, you can cry about me if you want.), but find a reason to cry about something: rising gas prices, the unrest in Israel, not having another episode of Dallas until January, what I’m sure is to be an overwrought and complexly historical closing ceremony of this year’s Olympics… there really is a multitude of options that await you. And in all seriousness, who are we if we stop crying. We hold back all these emotions because we’ve been taught that as we grow older, we should. You don’t dance in the car in fear that someone will see. You don’t laugh or smile because we’re in the professional world now. You don’t cry because if Hilary Swank has taught us anything, it’s that boys don’t cry. And then what do you have? Another generation of jaded, angry adults. Life doesn’t have to lead anyone down that path. Take time to laugh and take time to smile. And for God’s sake, if the knot in your throat is the size of an apple and your eyes are watering like an efficient landscaper in July, then cry. Even if it is just about those dogs that Sarah McLachlan won’t quit singing about.