No one likes to cry. I hate it. But I’m pretty sure I’ve cried more time this semester than I have my entire life.
It seems like, lately, a whole pile of bad things and negative vibes just got dumped on me. It’s just been building up and weighing me down. So I’ve been crying. A lot. And in front of other people too. Not in front of friends behind the safety of a closed door, either. (Though I’ve done plenty of that too.) But I’ve spent so much time crying in public. Sometimes by myself. Sometimes with other people. All of the times, I’ve been a blubbering mess.
This semester, I decided to take a full course load. Three sciences, a math, and a material-heavy psychology course. But I was a smart girl. I knew how to handle it. Until I decided to join a sorority. And then became a research assistant for two research projects. And because all that wasn’t enough, I signed up for a chair position in one of my clubs.
But I’ve always been superwoman when it comes to obligations. I’ve done it before. I thrived under the stress and the deadlines—it was what motivated me to push myself.
The thing with pushing yourself is that it’s all fun and games until you push too far. And then you’re tumbling off of a cliff that you got yourself on. That you pushed yourself off.
I tried so hard to be positive and optimistic about everything. Since I was always afraid to be a downer, I was constantly agreeing to things I didn’t really want to agree to. I kept pretending to be happy about it and writing about experiences in the blog in such a happy way because I wanted to view them as happy experiences.
I failed exams that I thought I was for sure going to pass. My relationship seemed to constantly be on the verge of breaking apart and shattering into a million pieces. I had social obligations that I didn’t even really want to do, but did anyway. I’ve never felt more like a failure in my entire life. I spread myself way too thinly and I started breaking at the edges.
So I cried. Endlessly.
The first time I cried in front of other people, I was in the library when the stress just got to be too much and I snapped. At least it wasn’t full on crying, but it was a lot of sniffling and coughing, trying to hide the fact that I was dead inside.
Then I cried in the middle of a fire alarm, laying down on a bench outside. I was sobbing and screaming into my friend’s lap because a boy broke my heart. Strangers passed by and thought I had an emergency or something because I sounded like my whole world was falling apart. Mortifying.
Since then, I’ve cried on the way to class. I’ve cried in the bathroom while showering. In the kitchen after making dinner. I think I’ve cried twice already at professors’ office hours and once at my advising appointment. And I can’t even begin to count how often I’ve cried in the middle of the night, when I’m all by myself.
I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was never this emotionally unstable before. Bad things happened to me my whole life, but it never got to the point where I was breaking down in front of complete strangers.
It just wasn’t who I was.
My father raised me to be a fighter. He taught me to get back up if life knocks me down. We are one in the same– to stubborn and fiery for our own good. My mother taught me to reign emotions in, to be stoic and strong in the face of adversity. She handles things quietly and efficiently. She’s a much better person that I am. They are two of the strongest people I know.
I needed my parents. I really needed someone to listen to me; someone who cares. But that was not the child they raised. They listened to me cry and scream incoherently over the phone, wondering who the hell they were speaking to. Certainly not their daughter. Not Joanne, who’s never met a problem she couldn’t fix herself. Not Joanne, who’s always been head strong and stubborn in both the worst and best way.
Nothing broke my heart more than calling them, broken and sobbing. Too many bad things and negative vibes were piling on top of me. Things I couldn’t handle. Things I definitely could not fix myself.
After that phone call, I was left lost and confused, but at least I wasn’t crying anymore.
They didn’t know who I was anymore. I didn’t know who I was anymore.
I’ve never needed them in that way before. I’ve never needed anyone that way before. I don’t think I’ve ever cried in front of anyone before– I’ve always been far too embarrassed to. It was a weakness that I learned to hide well. I grew up with the firm belief that crying was for babies. And I’m nineteen years old—way too old to be crying over a stupid boy. Or a stupid failed exam that makes me have to drop a class.
My parents taught me to be just as strong as they are, but I taught myself that it’s okay to feel weak.
It’s okay to feel weak.
It’s okay to feel weak.
Let yourself feel weak; no one can be strong 1o0% of the time.
It’s okay to want to cry into someone’s shoulder until you’re all dried up and then ugly sob until your voice cracks and then just lay there, shaking and broken. You can want that. You can feel like you need that. Don’t let yourself think that you don’t deserve to be upset.
It’s okay to feel like the world is ending and the whole universe is against you.
You’re not being melodramatic, you’re being a normal person who’s trying to cope with really hard times. Don’t let other people tell you that your problems aren’t worth being upset about. You don’t need to immediately think rational thoughts or be positive.
Let yourself wallow for a bit. Then you can move on, once you’re good and ready.
My parents brought me up as Miss Independent. They’ve rarely heard me cry before. I’ve never had a problem I couldn’t deal with by myself. I knew how to handle myself and I didn’t need anyone else.
I’m still trying to find myself after this past month. I want to be Miss Independent, but I also want to be okay with being vulnerable. I’ve always had a hard time letting people in and letting them know I’m hurting. But sometimes, the hurt is too much to deal with on your own and you need someone there. Sometimes, whatever you’re dealing with is just too much to handle on your own.
I talk a big game about surrounding myself with positive people. I talk about my friends and how much we support each other endlessly. But I still didn’t feel like I can go to them when I’m at my lowest point. I didn’t think they needed or wanted to hear any of that.
But needing help doesn’t mean that you’re incapable.
People are there in your lives to help you become a better person, but only if you want them to. Only if you let them. So let them help you. They’re not going to think any less of you.
The thing about feeling weak is that it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are weak. It just means that life knocked you down a little too much, and you just need a little time to get back up.
People treat crying like you’re at your lowest point because of it. It’s something to be avoided, as if feeling emotions in anything to be ashamed of. If anyone know how to be okay all the time, please let me know. Because it seems impossible from here. So I’m working on being okay with crying instead, because the other alternative just seems plain impossible.
Crying is liberating, Knowing that other people care is liberating. Getting rid of all that baggage you’ve been holding onto? Liberating.