As I write openly about things like reproductive challenges (back before I had my uterus burned forever), grief, mental health or parenting struggles I’m always comforted by voices who say, “I thought I was the only one.”
Yesterday I found myself fighting off tears all day because my brother left. I reminded everyone in my family (“Mom? Have you been crying?”) that I always do this when I say goodbye to him, and I did it whenever I had to say Goodbye to my Dad too. These are very normal things that make me cry. I am fortunate to love my family enough that saying Goodbye makes me cry…it’s a sad thing, but it’s a blessing.
But then I think about all of the other things that maybe aren’t so normal that make me cry. Sappy Starbucks commercials with trans men celebrating their name being used. Trailers for superhero movies. Sweet potatoes. (Don’t ask.) I cry a lot. Especially over the last 4 years as I look at election night 2016 as the day I cried the most in the last several years. I cried so hard that night I couldn’t catch my breath.
I have never come across another adult in my life in the wild who looked like they had been crying. NEVER. That I can think of, anyway. I’ve been around people who have cried to me as a friend like I have to them, but never just randomly crossed paths with a stranger who had been crying and y’all? I cross paths with strangers almost every day WITH TEARS IN MY EYES.
BUT! With my brother’s visit I also realized: I also laugh ALL THE TIME. Like, I laugh LOUDLY and OFTEN…especially when he’s around. He was only around me for 5 days and I almost wet my pants from laughing at least a dozen times. My kids love making me laugh because it’s so loud and it makes them feel proud. Unless their friends are around and then they try not to make me laugh because my laugh is so loud it’s embarrassing.
So now I’m wondering, how often and how strongly do you laugh and/or cry? Maybe the two go hand-in-hand? Maybe I’m a frequent cryer because I’m a frequent laugher? Maybe I cry so hard because I laugh so loud? Maybe the two things are connected and I can temper my shame over the constant tears by being grateful for a lot of laughter in between?
Or maybe I’m just grasping at straws and trying to make myself feel better because there have been a lot of tears lately. Raising teenagers is hard. Being the emotional support of your family is hard. Working inconsistently so without real culturally-defined purpose is hard. Living in Trump’s America is hard. I feel like I’m crying every day now and I think I’m just looking for either A) Silver lining in the form of my frequent laughter or B) Voices from the ether that say, “I cried at the grocery store too.”