Here’s something that frustrates me:
The discomfort of crying in front of people.
I grew up in an environment where you showed others your happy side. The ‘I’m fine’, ‘life’s good’ facade, while hiding any vulnerabilities. Of course, they were for your own eyes only.
So now when I cry, I try to hold it in as best I can in front of people, until it gets physically uncomfortable and then liquid will inevitably leak out of my eyes. I don’t like it, and I find it embarrassing each time.
And that to me, is a problem.
We’ve definitely progressed, with the awareness and mental health resources out there. BUT, underneath it all, there’s still the subconscious belief that:
Vulnerability = weakness.
That to show that you have a HEALTHY set of emotions, it involves discomfort and thoughts of ‘I don’t want to inconvenience anyone’, ‘you better not cry!’.
Crying is not embarrassing, it is NOT weak, it just is.
Where'd it come from?
We’ve been conditioned to hold it in, and act like we have our shit together.
And I have a feeling why that is:
Kids can be (brutally) mean. Back in primary school, if you showed signs of vulnerability…that meant you were weak ie. perfect choice to get picked on. We learn the skill of putting up a front, and over time it just becomes common practice.
But (most) adults are more understanding, they don’t mock others who are vulnerable. We realise it’s sadism to hold in your tears, why subject yourself to it? (unless if that’s your thing idk…)
VULNERABILITY IS SEXY.
To express your vulnerabilities openly (with or without crying), takes a HEKKIN lot of courage.
I fully admire those who can be themselves, even if that puts them under public scrutiny and side eyes.
Little bean Jo
So growing up, I refused to cry in front of people. Some notable times include:
– During Chinese school when I was 6-7 years old ish, my class was supposed to sing a song in front of the rest of the school. No one really knew what they were doing, and then a kid started crying and I had no idea what my lines were so I just stood there, with my eyes opened as wide as I could. That was my (weird, but effective) trick – to stare straight at people which somehow stopped my tears from coming out. I looked like a freak, but who cares, at least I didn’t cry.
– I watched ‘Marley and Me’ with my family out in the cinemas. I refused to cry with strangers around. Here I watched Marley pass away, internally wailing, but externally like a monster whose eyes were as dry as the sticky rice I made the other day (I need to steam it more next time).
The saddest thing about both examples?
After not crying, I thought “Phew thank god I didn’t cry”.
…As if I dodged a bullet, and that not crying was a GOOD thing.
What is vulnerability?
WHAT VULNERABILITY IS NOT:
WHAT VULNERABILITY IS:
- a sign you’re a human being
- a sign you are strong and have feelings
It’s when you’re vulnerable that people trust you more. It’s when deeper connections are made. If people make fun of you for crying, or make it out that it’s a ‘bad’ thing, then seeyonara to them, and hello to decent humans.
VULNERABILITY IS SEXY. Vulnerability is NOT embarrassing. It is NATURAL.
So cry it out.
Cut up an onion as an excuse to let it out if you have to.
And over time by practicing more and more to open up, it’ll be easier (like it should be) to be vulnerable, and own it.