Why Cry?

Did you know that tears are toxic? A small dosage of human tears can poison a rat or something. How did this post get off the rails so quickly? Right.

We hold our tears in way too often, especially in the West where we were essentially taught that our body’s only function is to carry our all-important intellects from room to room. We were told there was no space to feel into sadness, we were shown that tears make you burdensome to those around you. Because tears send a nonverbal signal to your social group that you need help, they make us feel too vulnerable. So instead of letting anyone around us (maybe even ourselves) know that we are in need and then face rejection (and yes you can reject yourself — internalized racism, for example, is a popular form of such a phenomenon), we choke it down, stuff, suppress, hold it in. But the body needs release y’all. Just like you gotta go to the bathroom, and sneeze, and vomit when you’re sick, you gotta release tears when they come, because as you do so you also release toxicity from your body. You heal yourself through the releasing of tears.

We’re uncomfortable with them for sure though. And as I alluded to, some of that is evolutionary: the presence of tears indicates something needs to be done, someone needs to be taken care of.

I know my own relationship with crying has been rocky. I used to hate doing it, and if I could avoid it, I would. I would openly and proudly announce disgust at the idea of seeing a man cry, joking that if my proverbial boyfriend ever did, I’d leave him. (Spoiler alert: toxic masculinity doesn’t only poison the minds of men.) But as I’ve grown, so has my practice of allowing myself to cry. Not only that, but so too has the practice of allowing myself to cry without needing to know why first. Sometimes we don’t let our bodies respond because our (unreasonably) prideful minds inSIST on knowing the reason. Like a customs agent for emotions “Mmmmm Sadness eh? Well what business do you have here, everything looks fine to me!” But the point is so rarely needing to know the why first. If your body has an impulse to expel tears, that shit needs to be expelled.

I know it’s difficult to let yourself cry. The physical act is stressful on the body, not to mention all the aforementioned vulnerability in allowing yourself to respond as your body wills. If you’ve had or have trouble crying, might I suggest taking five minutes to be still close your eyes and focus on your breath. I know I’ve prescribed this method before, it’s because most often all your body needs is space. It just needs a second to know you’re not gonna try to stifle it, or shut it down, or invalidate it. Just give yourself space. And if you don’t cry in that first five minutes, or the next five, or the next five, that’s alright too. This isn’t about checking a box, it’s about feeling your Self. Do whatever is needed to give yourself that.