“If tears of love, joy, and bliss have not washed your cheeks, you are yet to taste life….”
“But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.”
~~ Hans Christian Andersen,
The Little Mermaid
I am so grateful that I can cry.
Not only cry that I hurt or am grieving—which lets out pent up hurt and frustration and grief.
But happy tears as well.
Both are very powerful.
I know people who can’t cry.
Or have to get bombed-drunk to cry (and then maybe can’t stop crying)/
I know people who have been so hurt in their lives that they have lost the ability to cry anymore—or who have blocked themselves from being able to cry.
That’s not true of me. In fact I cry so freely that my characters often cry freely and loving betas and editors let me know that I tend to have an overabundance of criers in my books! LOL! And I have to be aware of that.
I know people who flat out can’t cry.
When I was around thirty and had finally really come out, I got to know this guy and a kind of slumber party a friend of mine had. His lover had gone out of town on business and my buddy wasn’t used to being alone and it was in fact the first time he had been alone for the evening in years. So he asked a few friends to come spend the night. I really really hit is off with one of them. So much so that we talked a few times on the phone over the next few days and made a weekend date. He lived a few hours away and so he was going to come spend a few days (and nights!) with me. We were going to do Worlds of Fun and all kinds of stuff.
I counted down the days. I counted down the hours! My boss–who was kind of my Faerie God Mother–was terribly amused. I had been out for a long long time. He was also just as excited for me as I was (or nearly so).
Then about two hours before this guy was supposed to come see me, he cancelled. He said I was too excited. He just wasn’t comfortable. I was freaking him out. It wasn’t normal for me to be so excited about our coming weekend and he had too much pressure and wasn’t coming. Like of course I was excited! I had been closeted for six years and was finally coming out and finding experience with other men!
I got of the phone and just sobbed! I was near inconsolable. My boss had me come spend the night at his place and he and his lover plied me with good food and lots of cocktails.
And this was what he told me: “Ben. I know it doesn’t feel like this right now, but you should be glad you can cry. I can’t. And sometimes I really wish I could. This way you are feeling? Hurting so bad? You know why that is? It’s because you feel so strongly. When you are joyful you are over the top joyful. The double-edged blade is though that when you hurt, you are really going to hurt. It’s the price you pay. And I would gladly pay it if I could. You are one of the most alive people I’ve ever met in my life.”
I didn’t feel it at the time. All I wanted to do was stop hurting. But since then? Since then I’ve learned it is nothing but a blessing and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.
I know I have found true spirit-friends when they can cry. I have this wonderful friend (who I will not name because I don’t have permission and it could embarrass him) who I know was my friend when we were watching the episode of Star Trek Enterprise and he cried when Trip died. Oh, men who can cry are so fripping sexy! And wonderful! And my friend is a pretty darned masculine guy.
I cried when Trip died. It was powerful to turn to my macho friend and see him crying too.
And again…tears of joy! Tears of happiness!
And there are so many people who don’t get it. They will do something wonderfulnice for me and I will cry—note I did not say “sob”—and it freaks them out or they say, “Oh Ben! I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to make you cry!
I have to tell them it’s a good thing.
I am so grateful that those hard hard years didn’t make me so hard that I lost touch with my feelings.
And if I am fifty-five and society tells me I am far too old to cry?
Well I say to them a word that starts with F and ends with K and it isn’t Firetruck.
I am so grateful that I can cry, and especially cry tears of joy!
photograph by ariadna from morgueFile