Let’s get stereotypical for a moment, shall we? Let’s assume that you’ve been raised to believe that real men don’t cry. I am happy to tell you that this, my friend, is BS. It’s BS because sometimes, when things get rough and emotions run high, the best thing you can do is plunk your miserable ass down, man up and have a good cry. You’ve been through a great deal with a divorce, even in the most amicable of splits you have still experienced a life changing event. If you feel the urge to have a good cry the last thing that you should have to concern yourself with is social acceptance; a release is in order and the odds are great that you’ve earned it. While men crying has less of a social stigma today than it did years ago, it’s important to recognize that everyone has a different level of comfort associated with the process.
No matter your skill level at the moment, there are things to consider to help you step up your crying game, in a matter of speaking. And if you’re new to crying, we can wade gently into the waters while my more experienced cry-guys can pick up a few handy tips.
Why should you listen to what I have to say on the matter? I am, after all, a woman. The reason you may dismiss what I have to say based on my gender is the same reason I recommend that you listen to me: experience. Statistically speaking, women have men beat in the crying department at a ratio of nearly 8 to 1. While I wouldn’t consider myself a professional cryer, I cry enough to know how much better I feel after a good purge. It’s like a weight has been lifted. Like I gave my soul a saltwater bath. Personally, I prefer to cry in private as my nose turns Rudolph-red and my eyes swell into the shape of puffy almonds making it impossible for me to maintain any sense of anonymity. As a result, I’ve learned to schedule my private sob fests whenever possible as I prefer to avoid concerned people whose questions only made my nose brighter and my eyes even larger. Please, take what I’ve learned and use it as you see fit.
First off, choose your location wisely. If, after all these years, you decide to commit to a good sob session the floodgates may open and you need to plan accordingly. I recommend a private room where you’re likely not to be interrupted. If you anticipate being a wailer or vocal in any way, you may want to consider the acoustics. Are the windows open? Are your walls paper thin? Consider these factors not because you are ashamed, rather understand that you are entitled to privacy. Nothing is worse than starting on a good cry and getting interrupted. It’s like an interrupted sneeze; so close, but no release. A little preparation and forethought will allow for you to decide when you’re ready to stop, rather than your environment. Sometimes we need to lock ourselves in the bathroom stall or crawl under our desks but for a first timer or a rusty cry-guy, I recommend starting off at home. I prefer the solitude of my car which is even more ideal if you have kids. Bawling one’s eyes out on the freeway is never recommended but never underestimate the power of a vacant lot. If it’s raining outside it’s even more ideal of a scenario. Nosy passersby can’t tell if it’s your face or the window streaming with droplets.
When considering your location, keep in mind how you cry. If you are an angry cryer, and envision yourself throwing your arms out in despair, doing so in your cubicle at work is not recommended. If you have a gym at your house, an angry cry is well carried out in the company of a punching bag. No gym? Pillows on your bed work just as well. If noise is an issue, face down on the bed screaming into your pillows works too. I personally can’t endorse sobbing on a treadmill but a good run while crying does a body good. If you are in more of a mournful state, curling up on the couch in the fetal position with a soft blanket and a good box of tissue is really effective. There is a certain sense of accomplishment that one feels as the tiny balls of crumpled tissue accumulate on the floor. If you’re out in the middle of nowhere, a good field or the hood of your car works well too. The ground will soak up your tears and the stars will give you some perspective.
Plain and simple: crying is good for you. You are doing both your mind and body a favor. If you cry from a buildup of stress, as opposed to a sad movie for instance, you are actually detoxifying your body. Studies have been shown that crying is more effective than antidepressants. An astonishing 88% of people feel better after a quality sob session. It’s like nature’s antidepressant. Cheaper than a visit to your therapist and requires no form of insurance. Crying is also a judgement free zone. As it turns out, size matters and male tear ducts are smaller than those of females. No need to concern yourself if you’re giving it your best shot and the only thing that comes out is a neat and tidy stream of tears, the important thing is the outcome, not the process. You, my friend, are man enough to cry. so, man up and have a good cry.
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