Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The crying game

Twisted my ankle coming out of the gym Friday after work. Since I’d sprained it about 6 weeks ago, it was still a bit wimpy, and needless to say, it hurt…a lot. I started laughing, which of course caught the attention of my colleague and work-out partner. Her comment:

“Well it can’t hurt that bad if you’re laughing. You’d be crying if it were really bad.”
“Well,” I respond, “if I could cry, I would be.”
“What do you mean, if you could cry; everyone can cry.”
“No, everyone can’t cry…lots of people can’t. I can’t.”

Well, the ‘disagreement’ went on in the same vein, her insisting that everyone can cry, me suggesting that not everyone can or does. Many children learn early in life that crying can get you into trouble—a lot of trouble. The phrase “Stop crying, or I’ll really give you something to cry about” isn’t an empty threat. But, we’re in the minority out there; most people just don’t understand us, and don’t take the time to try.

“I know he hurt your feelings. It’s okay to cry, you know.”
“What do you do if you can’t cry?”
“It’s not normal.”
“Maybe it’s a physical problem; have you been to the doctor?”

Of course it’s okay to cry; I don’t need your permission. And it’s not a physical problem, and it’s perfectly normal…for me. I can feel the tears…way down deep inside, in the inner core of my being—they’re definitely there. They just never get to the surface. They sometimes make me feel very sad. No, that’s not the word…melancholy—yes, I like melancholy, I like that word. They sometimes make me feel melancholy.

“How do you feel about…oh, that’s right, you don’t feel, do you?”

Ah, this one hurts every time I hear it. The assumption that because one doesn’t cry, one doesn’t feel. If you don’t cry, then you must be a cold, heartless bitch, right? If anything, I think people who don’t cry actually feel things more. They feel things deeper, and they feel things longer, because they can’t just cry it all up and move on. It stays there, deep down inside.

The people who are close to me have come to understand me, and they do not concerns themselves with whether or not I cry when in physical or emotional pain. The rest—well, maybe one day they’ll understand. And, maybe one day, I’ll actually cry. Stranger things have happened, lol.

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