Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Why You Won't See Me Cry

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.


Mama D said...

I admire people like you who can admit to things like this. I think too often I believe that people think I'm strong so I have to *look* strong, which means I'm not open to being vulnerable or showing weakness.

On the other hand, the experiences of the past 6 years have certainly helped me learn how to seek help and allow myself to be vulnerable!

I say cry inside or in private. Your friends love you the way you are. When you're ready to open up more, you have friends who are willing to let you cry on their shoulders and will not judge you (pro or con) for it.

Love you!

Rachel said...

Hey, you don't cry, I don't like being touched. I am like Cuzco from The Emperor's New Groove-No touchy. Unless its my family members, hands off. Gotta love our issues.

Melisa Summy said...

Wow. The similarities continue. This is getting spooky. If you get too bottled up - we can rent an extremely sappy movie and not look at each other while we use tissues to take care of "allergies" ;)

taffaduggi said...

I like you learned to not cry in front of people when I was younger. It showed just how week you were. Man up is what I was always told. Now I cry at the drop of a pin for nothing. I can just be sitting there and cry. I cry when I think about where I am at in life, and how far I have come yet how far I have to go. I have learned though that the more you bottle it up inside, the more I go crazy, and the more anger I have towards people. I think this is part of why I do cry so easy now.

Louann and Bari said...

Geez. I kinda feel like I prompted this blog.
You know, not crying is terrific as long as you are ok with it. I don't think anyone HAS TO cry. Not if they don't want to anyway. Now, some of us cry - cry - cry and DON'T really want to. We just Do. (Like last Sunday in Relief Society).
You are a beautiful sensitive woman. Cry or Don't - it won't change who you really are. And I (and many others) love you just the way you are now.
I think crying would then make you perfect. And I couldn't handle it if you were translated.

chelle said...

I am so with you on this one. I do cry and I HATE how it makes me feel. I have overwhelming feelings of self doubt/hatred and crying accentuates these feelings. That is why I rarely bare my testimony and hate giving talks and such, because I DO cry and get very emotional. I think I get overly emotional because I try not to. (as is how it works with most things I try to cover up)
Sadly, I find myself kind of doing these things our parents did to us, to my children. Not in the same fashion, but I do see it creep in every once in a while wishing they would suck it up. (terrible mother I know) :(
All we can do be be who we are and except that that is who we are. As long as we are striving to be better, that is all we can do.
I have spent a lot of time recently thinking that I have no one who I would feel comfortable enough to cry with or share all of my emotions and frustrations I have been feeling lately. It is kind of sad. But, I know a lot of that is my fear holding me back.
We are too much alike!!
Just know, I am here if you do ever need a shoulder to cry on. ;-)

Valerie said...

I remember crying behind the couch during sad movies as a kid. Now, Karina and I sit and bawl during sad movies and pass the kleenex back and forth. I want her not to feel like she can't cry. But I was always the "cry baby" of the family. Now I just don't care!! I just tell people I'm a blubbering idiot and move on!! Good luck on this one!!