I’ve been asked how many times I’ve cried in front of other people.  It’s surprisingly few, but it made me think about the types of crying that I do.  Weirdly, I found a lot of categories, and I’m going to describe a few.  Fyi: this is not a sad post.  I’m not generally a sad person, and I haven’t been crying an inordinate amount lately (mostly); I just like to share my thoughts (obvs: I blog).

I Just Don’t Know Why I’m Crying: Of unknown origin.  You might be sad, but you can’t be sure.  Or you might just need to squeeze out some tears.  Who knows?

Click for scene.


Happy Crying: Things are so unbelievable good.  You feel relief.  The fear is gone.  There are so many wonderful things that can bring us to tears.  Sometimes life overwhelms you with goodness and grace.  And that’s the real beauty of the human condition.


HappySad Crying: “I’ll be right here.” “‘Mo cushle’ means, ‘My darling.  My blood.'”  Sally Field at her daughter’s grave (see Gut Crying, below).  Christian Bale yelling for the American plane.  ‘Although I will be lonesome for you, even in Heaven.’  You do it at movies.  You do it at lines in songs.  You do it at the funeral that punctuates a long illness.  You do it when forgiveness washes away a bitter period of resentment.  It’s those incredible moments when hope breaks through tragedy, when life is hard and good, and when you are reminded of the incredible power of love.


Church Crying: Go ahead.  You can let the tears drip.  People will assume you’re overcome by the power of God or that you are deeply convicted.  It doesn’t matter what you’re crying about.  And you don’t have to hide.  Just get it out before the sermon starts.


Stoic Crying: Those tears will not fall.  Your throat closes.  Your eyes, open as wide as possible, start to burn.  You can barely talk.  You will not let them see you cry.  You will not deny your pride.  If the tears start to fall, you get angry; you beat your eyes trying to make them go away.  You stare at a fixed point on the wall.  You’re not okay, but you’re not going to show that.



Sad Crying: The most common type of crying, this one is pretty straightforward.  It has a specific catalyst and tends to be pretty rational (as outpourings of emotion go).  Something happens.  You cry.  It subsides by itself.  You don’t cry about it again.  It’s just a way to process hurtful events.

Buffy has the saddest cry face. When she cries, I cry.


Public Crying: Yeah, you’re pretty sad.  No one is around who will ask you what’s wrong or about whom you care.  Life is overwhelming sometimes.  Common locations include the therapist’s waiting room, public transit conveyances, and fast food establishments.  Have some more fries.  Life is worse than calories.


Shower Crying: This is pretty pitiful.  You may just be trying to hide the sound.  Or you may have been left alone with your thoughts (speakers not loud enough), and the tears have finally come.  Either way, you’re doubled over or sitting in the tub, and you’re…real sad.  It’s a tough one, but it’ll pass.


Shocked Crying: I think that this is most common with an unexpected death or life event.  You’re not ready for the pain, but, more importantly, you’re not ready to process something like this.  Tears are an automatic and cathartic response.  They may not be connected to any real thought or feeling.


Gut Crying: This one is the worst.  It can stem from a chronic pain or from a deep wound with no immediate balm.  Eventually the tears just aren’t enough.  Your stomach twists, and you feel like your body is trying to force your guts out through your throat.  You are probably doubled over, hacking.  The tears may even stop.  Your body just needs to get the feelings out–do anything to stop the pain.  It will not subside quickly, and it may be accompanied by small showers of tears afterwards.  I am so sorry for your pain.


Misery Crying: Everything is simply awful.  You may have clinical depression; your life might suck right now; you could be a tragic figure; or you may be worried that consumption will get you before you can get all of your beautiful words out.  I won’t tell you that it gets better.  I will tell you that the prayers of the saints are with you.  Be blessed, and may you know peace.


Wow, that actually was kind of depressing.  Maybe this will help.

Click for scene.


Over It.


So…I haven’t been here in a while.  And I’ve really missed it.  I’ve missed it so much that I’ve agonized over my leave of absence.  I started three drafts that didn’t go anywhere.  Because my life wasn’t going anywhere.  Because I was in the throes of a depressive episode.

That’s actually what it’s called.  It can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, and I don’t know how to predict the start and stop dates.  I know that it broke yesterday because I woke up and felt, for the first time in about five weeks, like I could engage with the world without feeling panic or pain.

This is not going to be a real post; I just wanted to let y’all know that I’m back and blogging again.  I’m still not sure whether anything I drafted is usable, but I am lucky enough to have plenty of other ideas orbiting the peripheral thinkspace around my conscious mind.  In the meantime, thanks to everyone who ticked up my Stats feeding on stale posts…it’s so nice to know that I don’t have to be to-the-minute current to still be considered relevant.

One more thought: the rock to which I have lately been anchored has shifted under choppy seas, and I must attach to a more constant point.  I know what this point ought to be, but getting there is difficult.  Your good thoughts and prayers are much appreciated during this confusing time in my life, which may not be an experience alien to your own.

Love & blessings,


“I WAKE and feel the fell of dark, not day.”

I WAKE and feel the fell of dark, not day.
What hours, O what black hoürs we have spent
This night! what sights you, heart, saw; ways you went!
And more must, in yet longer light’s delay.
With witness I speak this. But where I say
Hours I mean years, mean life. And my lament
Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent
To dearest him that lives alas! away.

I am gall, I am heartburn. God’s most deep decree
Bitter would have me taste: my taste was me;
Bones built in me, flesh filled, blood brimmed the curse.
Selfyeast of spirit a dull dough sours. I see
The lost are like this, and their scourge to be
As I am mine, their sweating selves; but worse.

The first line of this Gerard Manley Hopkins poem has been very much on my mind the past few weeks, ever since I found a paper I had written about it in college. Sometimes it seems incredible to me that I could have ever conceived a paper’s worth of insight about fourteen lines of poetry, but then I read a poem like this and am blown away by how much can be said in fourteen lines. Today though, my main concern is that first one.

It is about four in the morning. I am awake for who-knows-what reason, and I am up because my bestie was also online (that is a feat at present–her schedule is six hours later than mine, as she lives in the GMT block [Correction: BST. Who knew?]). And I have work to do, work which has been put off while I have been much tried of late. Regardless, I am fully awake, yet all I see is darkness. And all I feel is darkness.

For those who don’t know, I am going through a very difficult struggle that concerns a close family member with Alzheimer’s (not my parentals–they are all too young yet). I don’t want to say too much because, as an anonymous source pointed out, this person’s struggle is not necessarily mine to tell. My struggle, however, is mine to tell, and that is what I will share today.

You see, Alzheimer’s isn’t fair. Now, I’m one of those people who grew up with parents whose constant refrain was, “Life’s not fair.” I get that, and I’ve been pretty okay with it for some time. I still rebel a little against the principle, stamping my foot and shaking my fist at circumstance (don’t ever literally stamp your foot–it hurts), but I usually quail under that mental voice. It is, after all, true. Not one thing I have witnessed in this world has led me to believe that life will ever be fair to any person.

But Alzheimer’s is really unfair.

A week ago, my family had to enact a tough decision we had already made. And I didn’t cry. I felt bad (I felt terrible), but I didn’t really cry–not the way my other family members cried. I had short bursts of tears talking to a couple of people, but it wasn’t so bad.

Two days later, I lovingly burned and hand-printed nearly twenty copies of my Summer 2013 mix for various friends and family (I have extras–lmk if you want one). I was so excited to share my playlist, which has taken an inordinate amount of time to compile. But the CD wouldn’t play in my aunt’s car. I was so angry about this that I snapped the disc, scattering shards of plastic all over the car. Then I lost it.

I cried. I cried so hard. Nay, I sobbed. I was hysterical. I was so deeply angry. I felt guilt I did not necessarily deserve. I was just so freaking frustrated with everything. And once I had started, I couldn’t stop. I cried the next day and the next. I am barely holding off tears in any given moment. Right now I may start crying.

That’s where the poem comes in. I am awake, but I don’t feel awake under such darkness. And when I am asleep, my dreams all turn to nightmares. I can’t tell the difference between the dark and the day because there is often no reprieve–no separation between the stress and the fun. My good times are colored by a weight that has settled on me. Everything is anger and stress, that I am going through the most difficult period in my life so far, and that I have no one on whom to lay blame.

I think Alzheimer’s must be like this. Every day a person wakes up, and the world has dimmed a little bit. There is a little less of the day and a little more of the night clinging to every morning–until a person does not wake at all, but lingers in some shadow of dusk until the body gives out. And I think that that is one of the most depressing things I have ever heard. And I think I do not know yet how to cope with it.

Um, that’s all I’ve got.