Some people are really comfortable with crying in front of other people. I admire that. I wish that I was emotionally secure enough to open myself up that way. But so far I haven't been able to overcome the years of conditioning that tell me it's not okay to cry in front of others.
I hate crying. Not only does it make me look like a bug-eyed alien, but it's physically draining and makes my eyes hurt. I can appreciate the emotional release it brings and agree that it's sometimes a very necessary function. But I still hate it.
To me, crying is a sign of weakness. No, that doesn't mean I think other people who cry are weak. It means that in my family crying was a visible sign of weakness. And weakness means you're vulnerable. Maybe it was just my perception, but growing up it sure felt like any sign of weakness was pounced on, every show of tender emotion was attacked. Crying made you weak and vulnerable, and the more vulnerable you are, the worse you get hurt.
So I learned not to cry. At least, not in front of other people. My crying is done in solitude. Or I cry inside. But it's a rare occasion for me to be so overcome that tears actually escape my eyes when other people are around.
I wish I could say that this makes me a strong person who is able to handle hurts, but I think it means the opposite. I'm not able to be vulnerable enough with anyone to experience the hurt and get over it. It's the strong ones who are able to let their guard down and trust that their vulnerability won't be repaid with pain.
I truly admire others who cry freely and those who share affection and emotions just like it's second nature. I'm trying to learn from their example and leave behind the unhealthy patterns I've had for decades. Someday I want to be strong enough to cry. I want to be secure enough to let others see my hurt, and hopefully accept their comfort. I'm scared that comfort isn't what I'll get, though. And fear is a powerful motivator. So even though my mind says it's healthy to cry and open myself up, my heart says it's been hurt enough and there's no way we're opening that door.
I doubt you'll see me crying openly any day soon. I wish that sharing this meant that a door was opened to healing, but I think this is just a first step. Kind of like an alchoholic admitting they have a problem. I'm admitting it and accept that it needs to change. It kinda makes me want to cry.