Go Ahead and Cry

Go Ahead and Cry
A photo of the author crying circa 2014. 

I make people cry a lot. On a good week, I might make three or four people cry. Recently I made three people cry in two days and one other person almost cried. I love making making cry.

At a family dinner my dad greeted me by asking me loudly if I’d made anyone cry recently in front of dinner guest less familiar with my work and her eyes went wide with distress. But of course I’m joking when when I phrase it this way. It sounds like I berate people until they break down, which of course is not at all what I do.

I do this very strange work where I tell people about the invisible parts of themselves. I put other people’s experiences into words. Usually this makes them happy. More people light up with joy than cry. But sometimes this feeling seen is such a relief that they cry or we venture into a subject that require processing and as they release the holding, tears rise up. I don’t make people cry by being mean. It’s tears of release or relief.

I believe crying can be transformative. For a few years as a child, I was homeschooled by my mother. One of the best things about being taught be her was that she came with no pre-conceived notions of of what learning would look like. Her only foundational belief was that my sister and I were very capable and could learn anything.

Sometimes in the middle of learning we would cry or fall asleep and my mother would never judge these things. Instead she would notice that these things seemed to help us to integrate our learning. “Crying seems to help you process,” she would say. “You are changing modes.” I learned not just the crying was okay but that it could be helpful if I wanted to reach my potential. I believe this is true in learning more tangible things like reading as well as in learning to fully become ourselves. Crying is a portal to discovery
and transformation.

When I say I love making people cry, I mean that I love that I am person that people feel safe to cry around. I mean that I love creating the space for transformation. I love helping people recover a connection to themselves and I love helping them release things that are holding them back from where they actually want to go. I love the moment of break-through. I love watching people find their power through vulnerability.

Recommended listening: Cry (If You Want To) by Holly Cole Trio