If you know me well, you know I’m a crier. My emotions live close to the surface and spring forward without regard for my location or the present company. 

For much of my adult life, I felt a pounding shame when the tears would flow. I thought it was a sign of emotional volatility, or maybe, and much worse, a sign of weakness. I worried that the show of emotion counteracted the image of a strong, smart woman I worked so hard to display. 

I worked for years to change. Therapists, self-help books, and Ted talks – all trying to find the trick to hold back the waterworks. 

But today – two days before my 43 birthday, after dropping my son off with his Dad, facing the latest Corona numbers, while dealing with limited mobility due to an injury, all the time wrestling with the realization that dating during a pandemic is probably not CDC advised (UGH) – I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks about my tears anymore I needed a good cry! 

To get the badly needed purge started, I went with an old reliable—Conway Twitty singing Hello Darlin’. A song particularly guaranteed to bring on a good cry as it was Alice and Dusty’s (my grandparents) song. Halfway through, it was on, and it felt so good.   

All that trying to change and learning about how my creative brain operates, I didn’t learn how to stop them. I learned that they are a vital part of me. My tears help me. They are like the whistle of a tea kettle; they alert me to danger and release the pressure I’m feeling.  

So with all that, I am recommending a really good cry to everyone. Just let it go. Acknowledge that life is strange and hard and uncertain. And crying does not make you weak (that includes you, men)!  

And as they say in my family, about burps, it is better on the outside than on the in (I think it applies to tears too).