This I Believe: The Cathartic Power of Crying

Feb 23, 2018

I am a cry baby and I am unashamed. Despite the stigma that those who cry a lot are weak or emotionally unstable, I am neither of those things. If anything, I feel all the stronger because I completely accept the fact that sometimes my eyeballs are just gonna have to look like leaky faucets.

Tearing up once in a while helps me to deal with all of the emotions I experience in my life, and without the ability to break down and sob on occasion, I would probably be a lot less adjusted to this whole existing thing.

When I was a cringe-worthy little sophomore I did the whole cliché teen romance thing. I won’t bore you with the details of my former relationship of about a year, but let’s just say that I was a dramatic sixteen-year- old girl and that it ended badly. I can laugh at it now as just a bump in the road, but at the time I was really hurting. As much as I hate to remember the situation and all of the thinking, healing, and rethinking it made me do, I recall that a major thing that helped me through it was just being able to lay down and sob.

I spent a lot of time overthinking the whole soap opera-­esque debacle. During the school day all of those bad feelings would well up inside of me, and I would spend the entire day waiting to go home so I could lay down and cry. Dramatic? Yes. Ridiculous? Not at all. At first, I tried to stop myself, but eventually I realized after a few good minutes of crying that all of the stressful feelings went away for a while, allowing me to take some time to actually rationalize what was happening to me. I was able to handle my wild range of emotions better by expressing them freely through crying because  then I could think about them and why I felt the way I did.

I realize now that just letting the tears flow can help me to cope with other stressful aspects of my life, even beyond getting  over short-lived teen flings. Now when I feel the floodgates opening, I don’t try to close them. Some people sort out their problems by jogging or by scarfing down 3,000 calories of rocky road, but I deal with my emotional stress by just crying it all out until there is nothing left to cry about.

Crying doesn’t make me weak. It doesn’t make me unstable, and it doesn’t make me anything less than human. I believe in the cathartic power of crying because I am unashamed of my feelings, and I am unashamed of myself. No one can take the relief that crying brings away from me, not even myself. Maybe a rainbow doesn’t always have to come after a storm, as long as the rain cleans the air and my tears clean me. This I believe.

Philippa Harris - Patel reading her essay at the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise meeting.
Credit CARTER STALEY / NPR ILLINOIS 91.9 UIS
Philippa Harris - Patel receiving her scholarship at the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise meeting.
Credit CARTER STALEY / NPR ILLINOIS 91.9 UIS

I am a cry baby and I am unashamed. Despite the stigma that those who cry a lot are weak or emotionally unstable, I am neither of those things. If anything, I feel all the stronger because I completely accept the fact that sometimes my eyeballs are just goanna have to look like leaky faucets.