So I was on this 8h flight to New York. And even though all my efforts to spend the flight super productively (2h of sleep, 1h of content writing, 2 hours of video editing) I still had some time to kill. So I give in to the masses and watch a movie. There was all kinds of shitty movies and a few good ones to pick from. The title I chose was “Me, Earl and the Dying girl”.
And yup, I cried. 2 times.
Watching the above movie, you get to know Greg, a struggling teenager just about to finish high school. He´s a bit weird, like all of us, but he found his ways to cope. He has one good friend and a hobby as well. However, his life turns around when one of the girls in his school gets leukemia. His mom is friends with the mom of the dying girl and makes Greg hang out with her.
Then we follow the story of how the “doomed” friendship starts to evolve. You follow a few months of Greg spending time with Rachel, turning from weird and awkward to quite profound. They both share personal stories, we see them in all their plasticity. We get to know them and see how their world really looks like. We get attached to them, it´s a beautiful and touching story.
And then the inevitable “climax” comes. Rachel has been worse and worse and finally decides to stop her chemotherapy, meaning she gave up and decided to die. Greg gets really sad and then in turn angry about this. They have a huge fight and say some really mean things to each other. Story at this moment is very dark and emotionally demanding. So I, being a very emphatic dude, start to cry.
A few years ago, I would probably try to hide it, to stop it. Even now, conditioning almost took over. When I felt the tears I started to pinch my skin. It´s a silly thing we do in order for pain to overcome the sadness and the crying to stop. I soon realized what I was doing, figured it was a coping mechanism I don´t need anymore and allowed the tears to go as they will. Funny enough, it didn´t last so long. At one of the final scenes something very bad happens and I cry again. Then the movie finishes, and I think about it for some time.
So I know how everyone says that crying won´t get you anywhere. Well, I say that´s bullshit. Especially the “real men don´t cry” part. Fuck that.
Another incident. A really good friend of mine came home after a great night once and just “passingly” mentioned, “I cried in the Uber on the way back”. I felt that he wanted to share it, did share it, but still felt a bit of shame about it. I asked him why. “Because I was so happy!” I gave him a big grin and said, “Good, that´s a good thing to do!”.
Another incident. It was my first summer camp back in Slovenia, volunteering with children with “emotional and “behavioral” disabilities. Meaning aggressive, depressive and other kids that would for some reason be the “black sheep” of the class. You know them, each class has 1 or 2. Kids that get bullied, kids that get sent to the principal, kids that bully other kids, “weirdos” and so on.
So at some point I remember seeing one of the kids, slightly chubby, 10 years, running after another kid with a kitchen knife, threatening to stab him. Me and another guy catch the kid, take the knife from him and hold him on the ground. What was very unusual is how hard he struggled. The 10 year old kid struggled so hard that 2 adult men could barely hold him. I felt such intense hatred and pain from this kid, that as soon as he calmed down, I went to the back of the camp.
I sat down, and started to cry like crazy. That was a proper waterfall. I could not comprehend how a 10 year old kid can go through so much shit in his life that he can fall into a blind rage so strong he´d be willing severely hurt or even kill another human being. I was overwhelmed with the force of his feelings. Again, being a very emphatic dude, that had a huge impact on me.
Just for the record, I later learned, that his rage was not directed to the other kid. His eyes were white and when he screamed of killing the kid, his eyes would look into distance, meaning he was re-living an event from the past, which the other kid somehow triggered. That´s where severe dissociation of your feelings can lead. #justsaying
So why I´m writing all this long blog post about some people crying? Because it´s a problem. Crying is stigmatized as something bad and unproductive, especially if a dude does it. Well fuck that. Crying has it´s function, we cry for a reason, it´s a very honest human expression and should therefore be used when needed, not repressed. And not only when somebody dies or some real big shit happens. No, even when watching a silly movie. That´s completely cool too.
Because look, sadness is just the other side of the happiness and one cannot exist without the other. So if you prevent yourself from crying, you prevent yourself from loving.
That´s the sort of thing that I might tell a girl I meet. I know she likes me, and I tell her I like her. But maybe we don’t have a lot of time, so she doesn´t see any point in us spending more time together. I see potential for amazing moments full of love and surrender that both would remember for a lifetime. She sees crying and being hurt.
Traveling a lot kinda sucks for that reason. You meet someone you really like and then you have to go. And then you get hurt. And typically, people don´t like to get hurt. When they do, they respond with toughening up in a way that they close themselves. They don´t want to be hurt again. So thats why they don´t allow people so close, so fast. They form a bit of a shell around them.
But you see, the problem with the shell is that it will prevent you feeling both bad and good emotions. Therefore, my advice to you is, embrace life, be happy when you cry. That is just a sign that you are capable of enormous love. And that´s a thing to be happy about.