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“When the hell was the last time I cried?”
I asked myself that question the other day when I was watching “Friends” (for the hundredth time). And thankfully, my answer was “last week.”
In “Friends,” everyone was wondering why Chandler doesn’t cry over sad movies or sentimental moments, and Monica finally yelled, “You’re dead inside!”
If I had asked myself that question a few years ago, I probably would have said, “I cried one time and a half this year—one full-blown cry when I learned a beloved one had died, and one tear when I was finally done with people’s bullsh*t.”
Growing up in Lebanon, we’re mostly taught to be strong since we’re children. It is not so much as having your parents scream at you not to cry. No, we do cry as kids, but we are taught by the situation in the country more than our parents how to adapt to any sh*tshow we might be facing. And we’ve faced a lot. So, not every inconvenience brings us to our knees.
As I started going to the university and stepping out of my school bubble, I noticed that life gets much tougher out there (little did I know that when I actually started adulting in the work world, university would seem like a kindergarten playground). With the things I had to face alone, without my parents protecting me and fighting my battles, I felt the need to cry every now and then.
And so, I would run to the bathroom in the middle of a conversation with my friend and let out the tears. Later on in life, I would run to the bathroom in the middle of a regular work day and let out the tears. At home, while watching TV with my parents (and nothing had happened at the moment, per se), I would run to the bathroom and cry my eyes out silently, afraid that my parents would hear me and become concerned (little did I know that talking to my parents later proved to be the most therapeutic thing ever).
Growing older, I realized that just as Chandler began to cry endlessly at the end of the “Friends” episode, the gates had opened, and I was making up for years of dormant tears.
I had not cried at school when the mean girl started telling untrue stories about me. I had not cried when I got a bad grade. I had not cried when I lost contact with my childhood friend. I had not cried when I lost people close to me to lethal diseases. I had not cried.
But I was doing myself a disservice by not giving my feelings the freedom they deserved. I met my partner five years ago, and for the first time in my life, I felt comfortable crying in front of someone other than my parents and sister. I found strength in crying because I was not afraid of displaying my feelings. I was finally not lying to myself and others.
So what if I cried alone in the bathroom? Was I such a coward so as not to show that I was angry or sad?
Crying does not mean we are weak. It only means we are at peace with ourselves and our feelings. It only means that if we are not afraid to cry, we are not afraid to be happy either.
Some people express anger by yelling. Others express it by breaking something. If I don’t let out a frustrated scream or punch a pillow, I cry.
Crying is not frailty.
Crying is not childish.
Crying is not limited to children.
Crying is a way out.
Crying lets the burning volcano inside of us erupt without hurting anyone.
Crying is therapeutic.
When was the last time you cried?
It doesn’t have to have a drastic reason.
We can cry just for the sake of crying.