Sometimes I weep in my car, glad for an enclosed space to emote until I’ve cried myself out. Seldom do I think of people catching sight of me: weeping. But when I do think of that, I hope it gives them pause. Why is she crying? Oh, that’s right, everyone has something that makes them want to weep.
Giving myself over to the weeping in my car: it feels sacred. As sacred as the tears my daughters sometimes cry with me. Or as sacred as anytime we witness tears. Witnessing our own need to grieve by giving ourselves over to tears when we have the space for it: sacred.
This life, it pulls it out of you. Passing time, glimpses of the life we already lived that’s never coming back. Loss and hurt and even the deep bliss of shared love right in the moment. Happy tears.
I know many people don’t like tears. Perhaps they weren’t born with the crying gene. Or they were born with it but they learned to stuff it. People debate where people should cry. But the funny thing is that I have cried in some inappropriate places. And perhaps a small part of me feels bad. But the other part of me knows I am human having a human experience and it’s OK that sometimes the tears were so necessary that I didn’t have to wear-with-all to seek out a safe space to cry those tears in.
I cried when I was let go (fired!) from a job I even knew I was going to be fired from at that exact moment. When I said, “Sorry, I told myself I wasn’t going to cry,” the person who was firing me said it was OK to cry. Perhaps she was sorry then: that permission she gave me unleashed a torrent. But the person had known me for a decade; she wasn’t surprised. The person in the room for the legal part of the moment ducked out the door. And the words spoken as I cried made the firing less of a firing, more of a we-both-know-this-isn’t-working-and-that’s-sad-moment.
But that’s specific. I’m just thinking about crying and how crying moves our emotions. How I know sometimes that I need to cry or my daughters need to cry, and I create a container for those tears. The car is a sweet place for me to grieve passing time, say on the way to pick up a 16th birthday cake for my eldest. And when my kids cry in public (they have the gene!), we always talk afterwards about how other people respond to their tears. Any response is interesting, from “I can take your braces off if you’re going to cry at every session” to “Your tears are OK with me; here’s some Kleenex.”
We all seem to know what to do with joy and laughter, but what do we do with tears?