I’m Chanel, and I’m a crybaby. I know what you’re thinking — I haven’t heard that word used since elementary school — but there’s no other way to describe it. I’m moved to tears over the news, movies, songs, commercials, on my yoga mat, at graduations, weddings, births, deaths, you name it… I’m the girl sniffling obnoxiously in your ear and hysterically wiping mascara off her cheeks. Sounds like no big deal, right? In fact, it’s often comical… inconvenient at worst. But when crying is your body’s default response to just about any less-than-pleasant or emotional situation — the way it is for me — it kind of becomes a problem. It’s not just how I react to feeling sad, but when I’m flustered, angry or embarrassed, rather than turning red or raising my voice, I turn into a mumbling, sputtering mess (not the best way to make a point or stand up for yourself). And once the flood gates open, there’s no closing them.
A couple months ago, the issue of my hyper-sensitivity came up in a conversation with my brother-in-law (fun fact: years ago, he made me cry during our second conversation ever… something I’ll never live down, and the reason for his interest in the matter). He said to me what people (mostly men) always say to me: Crying doesn’t solve anything. Why waste your time and energy doing it? My response is, I know. Because I do! In most cases, the tears on my face are accompanied by rational, reasonable thoughts — my mind trying to tell my body to pull it together, take a deep breath, and stop crying. But my body simply doesn’t listen.
So, what’s the deal with crying, anyway? The cool thing about it is that shedding emotional tears is the only physiological function that only humans possess. Doing so is an indication of compassion and, for most, an alleviator of stress — studies have shown that 85% of women and 73% of men report feeling better after a good sob session — so maybe crying isn’t entirely useless? Maybe I’m just super compassionate and empathetic, and just really good at alleviating stress? Personally, I’m convinced that it runs in my family. We’re all sappy, sensitive types… much more prone to tears than others I know who truly never cry.
If there’s one wonderful thing about working in an office full of women, it’s that around here, it’s OK to cry. I can’t count how many times someone on our team has had a meltdown over a bad day, a breakup, out-of-whack hormones, or feeling overwhelmed… and we don’t hold it against them. But I have to wonder: How does an emotional person like myself keep her cool in a less-forgiving, male dominated work environment? And just in general? Are there ways to control the tears? Tricks to suppressing the emotion?
I’d love to hear from you guys in the comments section. Are you a cryer? And if so, how do you cope?