Crying is something that everyone has done, at least once in their life. Though maybe not much, or at all, since those first few squally seconds of life.
When you’re very young it’s completely normal.When you’re upset, annoyed, disappointed, worried, angry, scared, hurt, tired and everything else inbetween, you’ll cry.
And that’s OK. You’re not only allowed to cry, you’re expected to.
‘He’s only young’ they will say. Often with more affection because you’re crying.
When you get a bit older, it suddenly becomes childish and even sneered at. People are embarrassed of you, even your own family and friends, a bit at least. You can only justifiably cry if you’re in a collectively saddened state – usually a funeral. Why is this?
When you get much older still, then sentiment comes back into vogue and you can be excused your lapses into sadness or melancholy. People assume that the elderly have an excuse, probably driven by burgeoning senility and memories of irrelevances that are their only comfort.
Actually both presumptions are wrong.
Children are not pathetically unstable, and neither are the elderly.
True, children do act childishly, and the elderly do act in an often unpredictable fashion, but this is merely down to behaviour patterns and priority sets that ‘adults’ – the 17-60 year olds – don’t share. Children and old people don’t have your cares and concerns, so they don’t have your borders and restraints.
Once you’re supposed to be ‘grown up’ then you are supposed to manage your reactions and emotions.
Rubbish. Weeping is as grown up an activity as I can think of. Admitting your fallibility and your sensitivity, even if it’s only in a room on your own, watching heart-wrenching videos online, is true. It’s a true act.
Crying can make you feel like you’re not keeping it together and, if that makes you feel unhinged and uncomfortable, then it’s OK to feel troubled. But you don’t need to. When you get the sore nose and the welling eyes you don’t need to hide it. Even with your partner or spouse in the room, when they catch you sniffing and smile because they’re surprised at your unusual display. You’ll feel daft, maybe even defensive or angry. You should.
It’s because you’re not supposed to be upset about trivialities. Not just because you may be British either. You may be a girl, and thus given free reign to cry. But you know that that’s annoying, and loses its credibility because you do it too much. You know that there are different kinds of crying though, but you don’t get the sense that people understand or appreciate that. So it ends up being the same, and seen as silly.
Small miseries are OK to cry about. Losing a friendship, the death of a pet, a display of emotion in someone that you’ve never met or even heard of before. It shows that you give a hoot.
It shouldn’t be your default position, no, but it shouldn’t have to wait until somebody dies.