The Joy of Crying : Why I Broke Down and Hope to Do it Again

Part 1: An Introduction

If you are like me, you go through each day hiding whatever troubles you’ve been carrying. Whether you have mental issues and/or are stressed from school/work/finances/a social life you don’t have, that stress continuously pours down on you everyday and bottling it up is the only way you can carry on each day with a facade of a smile that is part genuine, part “I don’t want you to worry about me” and part “I wish you worried about me but at the same time I don’t because I don’t want to come off as an attention-seeking loser.”

And I kept it bottled up.

Back when I was in elementary school, and even through high school, I cried a lot. I was made fun of and insulted and outcasted because of how unstable my emotions were.

Crying is thought of as infantile, hence the term “crybaby,” and so adults are led to believe that they shouldn’t cry.

I had been working hard to keep myself from crying, believing that every time I cracked I was reverting back to being a child, with the possibility that I would never become an adult.

Being depressed and stressed is awful, and many people have it worse than I do. I had devised strategies for keeping myself sane. My go-tos were singing, watching Youtube and anime and procrastinating on school work, as well as taking 5-HTP, vitamin B-12, St. John’s Wort and some anti-stress pill things (all over the counter).

It worked for a while, but then one day I didn’t take any supplements in the morning and was feeling like crap. And then I cracked and everything I was holding back burst out like a flood and I cried my fucking eyes out. I just sat down on the toilet and started bawling.

Screaming out and nearly hyperventilating. Snot and tears and drool and sweat. (Not like the movies at all, let me tell you.) Thoughts all racing through my head, making me scream louder and louder, maybe 30 or 40 minutes straight.

And then it was over. I stopped, and that depressing feeling in my chest was gone. That balloon in my chest that kept filling and filling had finally burst and I felt fine. And then it hit me: crying is a good thing.

Crying is an amazing thing, in fact. We think we have to spend every day bottling up our feelings just to make it through the day, but with just one intense cry session, we can empty out that bottle so there’s room to fill it up again as we continue bottling up our feelings to make it through society’s standards.

Though I’m speaking about crying from the perspective of being a girl, where society has deemed it more appropriate for a girl to cry than a manly guy, it is my heartfelt opinion that the ability to cry should not be hindered by our views of gender and that crying should be gender-neutral. Though me saying this can’t change anything for the time being… but you have my support, men! If you cry, you are the manliest man in the world!

So after you bawl your eyes out, here are some steps to take for after-care:

1. Step one: Take care of your eyes. Get them cold to keep them from swelling.
2. Step two: Wash all that snot, boogers, and tears off your face.
3. Step Three: Rehydrate, replenish the fluids that you have spilled on to the floor
4. Step four: Breathe (maybe this should be step one instead, because by now you would’ve passed out.
5. Step Five: Treat yo’ self. Eat an entire cake if you have to (which you totally do, but it’ll make you sick, so don’t).

So take my unprofessional advice and let it out no matter how tough of a facade you put up.

Part 2: Stressed

I work hard, or at least I think I do, and I have other people telling me I do — does writing for the newspaper, working at a restaurant over 20 hours a week, working as a secretary on Saturdays and taking 20 credits count as working hard?

All this work makes me wonder, what is there in the future for me? If I keep giving people my “all,” what is there left to give myself?

I love giving to other people, though. I work hard to get everyone in my family and my close friends something for Christmas and it always gets me in the knitting/crocheting/sewing/getting-tired-and-buying spirit. Oh man, I hate Christmas, but that’s not the point.

Well, as convention time rolled around, I agreed to help someone with their cosplay, basically doing all the work, and then the convention ended without me getting more than a thank you for all my hard work, and it got me thinking, why do I work so hard for other people?

Why did I spend so much of my hard-earned money and hours of labor for someone? And then not even get to finish my planned cosplay and I ended up going with one that I had already made? And then I didn’t get anything in return? It just makes me so pissed, but I can’t speak up for myself because I’m afraid… of something.

I also feel taken advantage of at my restaurant job. I work at a Japanese restaurant. My boss complains about not making a lot of money most days and doesn’t give me tips. Minimum wage is $11 an hour minus taxes, but tips are something restaurant employees are supposed to get, right?

I’ve been helping with the cooking, too, and redesigning the menu (which he didn’t end up using and resorted to handwriting it, which looks sloppy and unprofessional), and fixing up some stuff with duct tape, and buying pens because we keep losing them. But he complains about losing money, and so I don’t ask for tips anymore, and I don’t look for other work because it’s only me and one other person other than my boss that work there.

But I’ve also covered for my coworker a lot recently, and he’s been unable to cover for me on multiple occasions, which seems really unfair to me, and now he’s thinking about quitting?! What am I going to do then? Drop out of college? I can’t do that. I’ve already missed some of my classes covering for him when he was sick.

So I’m stressed and pissed about that, too.

It’s difficult to speak up for myself because I’m not very good at voicing my opinions (outside of the newspaper, that is).

I want better treatment, but I also don’t want my boss to get mad at me and give his “This restaurant is too expensive and I keep losing money” speech again.

And so I end up crying it out on a toilet seat and never let anyone know anything about my feelings… You won’t tell anyone, right?

Hehe, well, things don’t change just by crying, but it made me feel better for the time being.

And hopefully it will for you, too.

Part 3: Regretful

Being an anime fan, I find myself watching way too many set in high schools. Even though they are the dominant force in anime settings, and the anime world is saturated with them, I can’t really find myself hating on the cliche.

The “high school experience” portrayed in these anime shows a group of friends hanging out and having fun during and outside of school, and it was something I had lacked for most of my high school life.

For the greater part of high school, I focused more on my studies than socializing. It was sort of a pride thing with me, thinking that being different from everyone else made me superior to them. It was also in part that my focus on my studies made my parents proud of me, in comparison to my brother, which also led to being part of my pride. (I was really full of myself back then.)

By the time it was too late, I watched high school anime and reflected on my choice to isolate myself, and how I’m stuck fantasizing about what a true “high school experience” would be like.

The closest I got to a high school experience was my senior year, when I finally ditched math and science club and spent time with the friend I made, and then meeting her friends and being a part of her club. And through her group of friends, I met someone I came to like, and took a leap to my first good relationship, going romantic anime-style and confessing in the rain.

But by the time I realize I had made it to my ideal “high school experience” stage, it was already over, with a lackluster prom then graduating from high school and moving on to college.

I cling to those memories and I fantasize and dream of more. If I could go back with the same friends I made my senior year in order to fully enjoy that “high school experience” I would, but thinking more about it, even if I could, it wouldn’t be like my fantasy.

All my friends from senior year had their own circle of friends that I didn’t make it into, that were cemented before I came out of my studious shell. I will always be the outsider because that’s just my luck. Always too little, too late.

But I still cling on. Hell, I’m still clinging to my ex, maybe because he reminds me of my short “high school experience” and being with him makes me feel like I’m still living it, and I just can’t move on because I’m being forced into adulthood too soon and I just want to go back in time and stay in that blissful era of living in the moment and being a child.

And though I am at a time when I am content and happy with those around me, I can never remain in these happy moments as the unceasing march of time carries me haphazardly to the abyss of death…

Part 4: The End

Most, if not all, people have thought of their own death. Maybe not thinking about it suicidally, but thinking about the effects it would have on other people.

It might be weird, but I sort of imagine dying to feel like this choked-up feeling I have in my chest-throat area when I get depressed.

I can’t really imagine an excruciating pain to be associated with death, maybe because I’ve never experienced anything like that. I just imagine that sort of pain/feeling taking over and everything ending.

Initially, I thought I wouldn’t care if I died, but when I think more about it, death is a really complicated thing.

For starters, everything I’ve worked for would be for nothing, even if I felt like it was nothing to begin with, I’ve still been through things that I’ve had to make an effort for, and if I died, all of that would have turned out to be meaningless.

There are also countless people that would be devastated. Sometimes I would fantasize about people actually giving a fuck about me if I were dead and giving me the thought that they never had if I was still alive. But what I’ve come to realize is that when I’m dead, that attention doesn’t matter because I’m not there to receive any of it.

The death of other people around you is also difficult because it makes you wonder about what happens after death. Is there something after death? It is extremely difficult to think of nothing being there, because it is impossible to think of not existing. This is where religion comes in and tries to compensate for that fear or create more fear so you have to follow them and yada yada yada.

I guess here, I’m supposed to make a conclusion of some sort. This is the last quarter I’ll be at SCC and the Ebbtide, but things will move on without me, as different people come and make their marks and my pieces of brilliance and satire will be forgotten. But I was here, and I made whatever difference I could, and whatever that was will be there forever.

And you, my wonderful reader, were here too.

And so we should all cry and cry, letting out all of our bottled up emotions, screaming into the world all of our troubles with no fear of retribution.

Nothing will change right now, but over time, things can turn around whether for better or worse.

But if you’re like me, you’re not alone.

And at least you’ll feel better, I hope, and that’s all that matters right now.

-Ilona Kinnear