Why I cry a lot. And why it’s okay if you do too

Photo by apenny

By Amruta Lakhe

Recently, I had a fight with a friend. To neither one’s surprise, the moment I felt overwhelmed by the consternation, I broke down. It was not a loud, gasping-for-breath kind of a cry but more like an angry stream of tears rolling down. I was still making my point, but as soon as my tears made an appearance, my friend walked away saying, “There’s nothing anyone can say to you without you crying.” Then I proceeded to cry some more. But it also made me think. Am I a cry-baby?

I cry a lot, sure. On an emotional range of 1–10, one being really depressed and 10 being ecstatic, I cry at anything above seven or below four. I cry at the more ‘normal’ things for instance, I cried when I did badly on an exam, when my best friend left the country and when I saw my mother cry. But, I also cried when I was defending the FTII students’ stand before my father or when my mother found out her 25-year-old was dating and disapproved. I was weeping with frustration when I couldn’t find the last line to my college essays. Clutching a fellow crier, I was howling with the significance of it all when the New Year hit us.

If you cry enough, you get a reputation. You’re identified as ‘senti’. The moment I know I’m about to cry, I’m more worried about this reputation. When someone gets angry with me, I can start to feel the sting in my eye. I know I’m about to well up. I turn away. Hot tears will begin to leak out any second. I do all I can to stall them: deep breaths, blinking rapidly and even try sneaking off the water from the corner of my eye. Because once the waterworks begin, even though I’m the one that’s upset, it ends up really, really upsetting the person I’m with. Because I’m making a scene.

But I want myself (and others) to understand this meltdown. Please do not flatter yourself in thinking that you have that much control over my life. This is not about you. Like every other fancy of my life, this is about me. Also, I’m not crying because I’m sad, I’m crying because I’m overwhelmed.

This feeling of being overwhelmed may be a familiar one if you’re a fellow twenty five year-old. I feel overwhelmed frequently. It’s a tricky age, where the struggle is to remain relevant. We are all on a pursuit, not ofhappyness, but of relevance. Love, family, ambition and friendships will face the strain all at once. It’s not an easy time.

This age sees you at your vulnerable worst. For me it was, switching careers, moving cities, making friends, losing friends, quitting my dream job and taking a leap of faith. That’s a lot of things to happen in five years. My choices professionally and personally became bolder. I struggled with money (how to make more), ambition (how to not compromise on), commitment (should I make one), family (is every family dysfunctional) and love (where am I going with this?). All this is bound to weigh down on you. A few tears seem hardly out of place.

What I understand now is that this too shall pass. I was not a crier a year back, and I won’t be one a year from now. So it leads me to believe two things: one, hopefully this is temporarily and two, my emotional range has been expanding. When I move into a different city, learn how to cook and pay the bills on time and when I feel particularly collected one Sunday morning, I will settle into my own. The tears will stop. I will find another way to cope with my late twenties. Maybe by becoming a raging Hulk, it could happen.

But until then, here’s my humble opinion. If, like me, you find yourself breaking down at the tiniest things, pay attention to yourself. Find out what’s causing these outbreaks. If it is serious, get help. If you’re a partner or a parent or a friend of someone who cries easy, reach out. It could be a phase, but it could be something worse too. Show concern, not ire. Until then, we criers should not wipe away our tears quietly. Now, I don’t cry as much, but it’s okay if you do.

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