Lauren Newman - May 2016
It's okay to cry (or not cry)
Personally, I don't think that this is said enough. I will be the first to throw my hands up and say that, not only am I an incredibly sensitive person, I cry a lot. When I say a lot I mean at least once a day. When I tell people this, though I might get the odd surprised reaction, generally they can believe it. I laughed whilst writing that, because maybe they just know me, but even when I mention it to people I don't know they will often have a very similar thing to say about themselves. Does this not mean that crying is a perfectly acceptable thing for us to do? So, if this is the case, why on earth do we put so much pressure on ourselves, and often on others, not to cry? Similarly, why do we prod people who don't naturally burst into tears in sad situations?
I think a lot of this all falls into expectation. We must not project our expectations onto others and pull them up on their behaviour if they don't act accordingly. A big factor of this, I have observed, is gender.
Please don't brush off girls or degrade boys for crying. I think we see it time and time again where people will say to their boys who are crying, "you're not a girl are you?" or "come on, be a man about it" or something equally as demeaning and insensitive. It is also hurtful to dismiss the crying of a female as "she's a woman, she's just emotional". Biologically, we may possibly have more reasons to cry (I don't really know, I got a D in GCSE Science) but this doesn't mean that our feelings become invalid. What I do know is that we should not judge the reasons why others are crying and decide whether or not we think they deserve to cry over it. We should believe people when they are showing their emotions and have the empathy and decency to accept it and offer comfort, if they want it.
There's also the issue of people who don't cry being accused of being unemotional or heartless. I know quite a few people who often can't muster up some tears but who are still very empathetic, emotional and sensitive. The reasons why they can't cry is for them to deal with and, again, for us to accept and understand. I often used to worry that if someone didn't cry at something I cried at, it meant they didn't care about it. I could not possibly have been more wrong.
Crying is a personal thing and if someone cries in front of you, whether by accident or on purpose, do not traumatise them by making crying into a shameful, forbidden thing. Sometimes when someone cries in front of you, it can feel uncomfortable because you might not know what to do. TIPS: Ask them if you can do anything to help. Ask if you can give them a hug (and act accordingly). Stay with them and offer hot drinks, blankets, food or if they want you to stay with them or leave them alone.
Don't be afraid of crying. Be afraid of the fact that there are so many people who hide their true emotions for fear of being judged by others and let that fear drive you to help people who need us.
Final Food for Thought
- If you're hungry, sometimes your stomach rumbles. If you are stimulated enough in a certain way, sometimes your eyes leak water. They are normal bodily functions.
- If you cry, your gender identity doesn't slither out of your brain and stream from your tear ducts. You are a man if you say you're a man (even if you say it whilst crying).
- If you cry for a reason you deem stupid (like dropping a Cadbury's cream egg on the floor - notthatIknowanyonewhohasdonethat), it doesn't mean you're not allowed to do it anyway.
- You are allowed to cry because of PMS/menstrual related issues. Uteri freaking hurt and also casually create sadness on the side when they're not making a baby.
- You are allowed to experience the most sad or happy moments available to humankind without shedding a tear if that's not your style.
- Crying is not the zenith of caring. If you're not a crier, it doesn't mean you're not a carer.
- Crying on the inside is still crying.
Take care gang
Lauren Newman a.k.a shrInking violet