I cry everywhere.
Don’t believe me? Name a place. Unless I’ve never been there at all, which I think is reasonable, I have cried there. Apparently there are only certain places where crying is socially appropriate. But I am the honey badger of crying, and I don’t give a shit. But MC, it’s forbidden to cry in public. Yeah, screw that.
I was editing a chemistry textbook while I was getting a divorce. You bet your ass I cried that summer. Did it stop me from proofreading very small copy about zwitterions and dendrimers? Hell no. I may be a crier but I’m a brave little soldier, and I know life isn’t going to stop while I excuse myself to the bathroom stall. I had to explain to a couple of people that no, I was not crying because of something they did in the office. I had a personal issue but I was confident I could still get my shit accomplished. And so it was.
More recently I adopted a 14-year-old cat. I think I even realized at the time that this could end no other way but with me crying in inappropriate places. She was hardy for a year before nosediving into feline decrepitude in two days: She went blind, she peed on herself, she laid listlessly entangled in the curtains. In my arms on the way to the vet, she coughed and went stiff, then limp.
I brought her in, arranged cremation, smiling politely, looking at the bright side. I went back outside and had a total breakdown on the sidewalk. I couldn’t stop crying for two days. Everywhere I went, I cried. I cried through phone calls. I cried on checkout lines. I cried up and down the elevator. Not always the full waterworks, but at the very least I was red, inflamed, snuffly and likely to go off.
Sometimes I’d see other people crying about their own stuff, and we’d kind of go “hey” like bikers passing. I was surprised at the level of acceptance I encountered during this and other major cries. I expected people to seem uncomfortable; sometimes they did. And I’m not trying to downplay the stigma of crying. It’s a real thing. But it’s rooted in fear -- a fear that inevitably something horrible and beyond our control will happen to us all -- and we need to move past.
It’s not as if any of us can stop functioning just because shit went down and we’re sad about it. We have to get through the day. It’s not always graceful, but there’s nothing weak about it.