Today's Slice of Life was inspired by IMANLILYSAAD's "Crying in a Green BMW" post. In my response to her post, I shared that I have been that woman crying in her green BMW. Why? Because crying in my car is safer than crying in front of people.
And this thought took me back to a conversation I had with one of my sisters, in which I questioned society's stigma over crying. Have you every wondered why we feel the need to apologize to someone when we start crying? We see it on TV when people are interviewed. We experience it firsthand when we talk to friends during an emotional time.
People try to hide their tears by wiping them, dabbing a tissue at the corners of their eyes, or shielding their faces from view, as if releasing our tears in public is a shameful act - an act of betrayal. IMANLILYSAAD touches on this in her post when she notices the woman in the green BMW was "crying without the need to wipe off her tears".
I, too, have experienced this sense of uninhibited freedom while crying in my car, not thinking anyone will notice. It feels really good to cry and not feel ashamed, to not feel the need to try to stifle it or apologize for it!
We also pass this stigma down to our children by apologizing to them when we cry. I was guilty of doing this just yesterday! I thought I had overcome this stigma when I went through my divorce. During those painful months, I used to walk my dogs around the marina, sobbing out loud, without a thought or care as to who might hear me. I didn't care if I showed my "ugly cry" in public on those walks; I was healing my insides, the tears washing away the toxicity of betrayal, failure, and guilt.
So, maybe it isn't that our tears betray us, but that they represent what, or who, has betrayed us. And, maybe that's why we try to hide them.
Pondering this stigma, I realize that I want my son to grow up being comfortable in the presence of his tears. I want him to know it's perfectly fine to cry, and that there is no shame in shedding tears. I am going to work on not apologizing for crying, whether I'm in the safety of my own home, driving in my car, or in public. I'm going to embrace my tears, just as I do my laughter, because both are healing!