In Defense of Public Crying

Yesterday I read an article on xojane.com. It was called I Cry Everywhere, And So Should You. It kind of made me laugh because I have been crying EVERYWHERE lately haha. That shouldn’t be funny but it’s so true. And I just crunkin LET myself do it, I don’t even care where I am.

The crying started with Nana. Fear and anxiety that she would die. Sort of “I’m not ready for this” type of crying. I tried to keep it in check because I knew her death was an inevitability and I’m the sort of person who’d rather do her freaking out when it’s actually time to freak out. Also, this crying was of the sentimental kind. Anything sentimental, touching or family-related would bring on a jag of tears.

Then Nana died. Naturally tears tears tears tears tears. I’d cry in the car on the entire way to work. I’d cry at my desk all day (more subtley). I’d cry in the car on the entire drive home from work. Then I’d cry all night long until I went to sleep. Not like “This is the end of the world” scared crying. The crying was just kind helpless pain crying. Like “I have a hole in my life where Nana used to be so let me fill it up with tear water” type crying. So I just let it happen, no stiff upper lip here.

And as the days went by, I guess I kind of subconsciously pushed Nana back to the recesses a bit so I could carry on. I know that I didn’t do it intentionally, I think it’s just the mind’s way of protecting itself.

Then began the “joy crying” phase. Oh yes, I was still crying all the way to work and all the way home and all the time I was home by myself and all the time I was with Kristyn. But this crying was “joy based”. A song would set it off. Something pretty would set it off. This crying was “gratitude based”. I was grateful to have been able to see Nana once more before she had to go. I was grateful to have been able to fly home for her funeral. I was grateful to have been able to be there to be there for my Mom and Brother (who live with her). I was grateful to have been able to visit her church and meet her Priest. She spent a lot of time at church and it was nice to get to see a place and a person who was so special to her. I was grateful to have gotten a job at LG just in the nick of time that allowed me to have money enough to go see Nana. I was grateful to have such nice bosses and HR that actually PUSHED me to take the time I needed for Nana, my family and myself. I was grateful to have a paying job at a company I love. I was grateful to be able to catch up on bills, to feel useful, to feel part of the world again and to be able to treat Kristyn to dinner once in a while.

And then one day I heard Adele “Rolling in the Deep” on the radio. I’d heard it before but I stopped and listened to it one day and it blew my mind. Her voice is just devastatingly beautiful. It simultaneously broke and filled up my heart. I just kept thinking that if the world can conjure up a voice like hers, it can’t be all that bad of a place. And again, I was profoundly grateful. And then…

I had a day where I got some bad news and then some REALLY bad news. And so I spent a week or so crying on a regular because I was the opposite of grateful. I was now crying in a “why the funk won’t the world stop screwing with me” type of way. When my girl Adele would come in the radio, I’d punch it off. “Beautiful world my ass.”

Then there was this week. Suddenly Nana is in my head again. But it’s funny because the face that I see isn’t one that is weak or ill. It’s Nana at full bloom. Smiling, happy, jocular, self-reliant, huggy Nana. Without realizing it, I’d switched that face with the face of Nana during her illness. Sick Nana DID smile and joke a bit but she was a lot more withdrawn and serious. I mean she was DYING. If there is ever a time for a no-nonsense attitude, it is when you are actively dying all day. But wherever she is, just this week, now I know she’s happy and settled. Sick Nana’s face has been replaced with Healthy Nana’s face and I’m so glad to have her back. So now I’m crying (as we speak) because I’m glad to have my Nana back and I’m so happy to see that she is happy as well.

ANYWAY. During all of my weeks of public crying, I’ve noticed that most people just ignore it. Leave you to your crying and allow you some privacy. Two of my bosses made ME cry because THEY started crying a little when they found out about Nana. My other boss didn’t cry but he made me laugh a little. He is definitely not as comfortable with these things as the other two because the way he handled me was kind of like how your Dad handles you when he finds out you have your “menses” for the first time. Definitely kind but also kind of always scurrying around corners when you approach. Kind of like, “I care and I’m sorry and I’m going to leave you to your gentle weeping but please call me when you stop crying/mensying so we can get back to the regular business of living.” Haha. It was appreciated. All three of them I will always be grateful for because they kind of let me catch my breath. I’ve worked at places where if you’re going through something, they’ll actually turn up the heat on you to prove to you that you shouldn’t expect any “special treatment”. So mean.

Anyway, through the Jane article, I found another article called Look At Me I’m Crying. It’s about people crying in public. How weird it is. How personal. What a vulnerable display it is. Why people do it. It’s a really good read.

For me, the singular weirdest moment of all of my recent “crying in public” episodes was this:

We were at Newark Airport on our way home from visiting with Nana. We were walking through the terminal and I was just openly crying haha. A friend of ours, David, happened to see us walking past. We haven’t seen him in a while because we moved to LA. He works in the airport and had been wondering if he’d run into us because he saw that we were in NJ on Facebook. We hugged him and caught up for a second before we had to run. This wasn’t the weirdest crying moment, just a moment. David knew why I was crying and why we were home and offered his sympathy. The weirdest moment was just before that. We’d returned the rental car and had to take an escalator to get to the light rail to take us to our terminal to get on the plane. I cried from the second we got out of the car basically. On the escalator, I was just helplessly crying because I knew I wouldn’t ever see Nana again. On the escalator, this man noticed that I was crying. He was standing on a step above me and stayed standing BACKWARDS so he could stare at me doing it. I mean it wasn’t like I was wailing, I just basically had a bajillion tears streaming down my face. I wasn’t wiping them off because why bother? There were only more coming behind it. So he was like OPENLY staring at me but then when I would look up at him, he’d do that quick look away thing like he hadn’t been gawking. I get it. I’m a people watching. I open-mouth gape when someone does something out of the norm in public. I almost got murderized over it once*. I’ll tell you that story in a minute. It wasn’t the looking, it was the pretending not to look that got me. Also, it kind of felt private and not something that was like for HIS benefit. All I’m saying is that he could’ve been more discreet. Anyway, finally I got tired of it and STARED at his face until he turned his body around to face forward. He wasn’t being a jerk, just a curious human and I can’t find no blame in that game.

But seriously guys, it might not surprise you to find out that I actually LIKE to cry. I think it feels good. When I feel like crying, I usually just do it. The more I hold back anyway, the more it wants to come out so why not just let it happen? The only time I’m pissed at myself for crying is at work, over work shit. Anytime anything goes down at work, I start crying and it sucks. I don’t want to be that office crybaby who unleashes on their boss and yet I always find a reason to do it. I mean whatever, I’m not doing it because I want to. It’s always based in frustration. I always moreso feel bad for the person who is unfortunate enough to have to witness that shit. I mean that’s an uncomfortable position to put a person in. And even if they know they didn’t cause it, you KNOW there is now a little piece of them that feels bad like they made someone cry. To anyone I’ve ever made feel like that: I am very, very, very sorry. Haha. I mean it.

So okay to wrap up this million word essay on all the reasons I am a pussy, I will tell you a brief fable about the time I was almost murderized because of my nosey nosey eyeballs who cannot just mind their own beeswax.

Two things I want to get out of the way first.
1) Longtime readers, you already know this story. Sorry to disappoint.
2) “Murderize” was my Great-Grandma “Gram”‘s name for being murdered. She used “murderize” and “murdalize” interchangably to describe a lot of dangers. Here, let me use it in a sentence. “Coleen you better leave that door shut or someone is liable to come in here and murdalize us in our sleep!”
3) Also “liable”. Anyone was “liable” to do anything to Gram.

So what happened was this. One night, we were on our way to Manhattan for I don’t remember the reason why. Either way, it was far too late to be leaving our houses (like midnightish). We were on the PATH Train at Journal Square (in Jersey City). I’m not going to pull your dick and say we weren’t a coupla sheets to the wind because we were. We were sitting on a train, waiting for the doors to close. A man started bullying another man on the platform. He mugged him right in front of my popped-out eyeballs. “Gimme your wallet! I said gimme your goddamn wallet!” I took that train back and forth to work and to clubs and to museums and to malls and all kinds of shit for my whole life and I’d never seen anything like that happen. So me, Kristyn, a friend and some woman were just staring agape with no regard whatsoever to the fact that maybe we shouldn’t be staring. The man noticed and stormed onto the train. He got RIGHT UP IN OUR FACES and said, “YOU DIDN’T SEE NOTHIN. YOU HEAR ME? YOU DIDN’T SEE SHIT!” And we were like, “No no no no no sir, we didn’t.” And the lady? She sold us out. She gave us a look like WE got HER into trouble. Like WE’D been inappropriately staring when she was minding her bidness. I guess she wanted to be on the side of the man who was “liable to murdalize us” so’s she wouldn’t actually “get murderized”. Smart thinking traitor she was.

Oh and that’s the story, there’s nothing else to it. But it was scary and it made for a good story and so that is my parting gift to you after subjecting you to all of this fuckery above. I hope you liked it. (Especially the picture of Dawson. I’ve been missing/hating him a lot lately.)

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