29 2/12: The Lachrymologist

I used to be a crier. Any strong emo­tion, good or bad (though more often the lat­ter), could bring on tears like a reflex. Now, I can’t remem­ber the last time I cried, which means it’s been a while. More than a year, I sus­pect.

Getting misty-eyed does­n’t count; that’s too easy. A poignant scene in a movie, the right song at the right moment, even see­ing some­one demon­strate a Tai Chi move­ment with mas­ter­ly detail and pre­ci­sion can cause my heart to swell, but the feel­ing only lasts as long as a few blinks after the blurred vision. When I refer to cry­ing, I mean when the tears are enough to over­flow and leak.

Self portrait at 29 2/12


When I was young, the kids in school would laugh at boys who cried — much less social­ly accept­able in this cul­ture — but I was nev­er embar­rassed about it. I thought it was nat­ur­al, the way some peo­ple are gay or Caucasian. I thought I’d grow out of it, the way one grows out of a fear of the dark grad­u­al­ly and sub­con­scious­ly, but I kept cry­ing well into my 20s.

I’ve always won­dered if my dad has ever cried, even as a child. I can’t pic­ture him doing it, not even when my grand­moth­er dies. He’s so care­free and log­i­cal that I can’t see any­thing affect­ing him emo­tion­al­ly. With my dad as my ear­ly mod­el for a man, I’m sure this is part of the rea­son I don’t feel like an adult yet. Society teach­es us that adults, or male one’s at least, aren’t sup­posed to cry.

I’m not sure why it’s been so long for me. Maybe the ther­a­py, com­bined with my study of Taoism, has evened out my ups and downs, help­ing me acknowl­edge my weak­ness­es (so I’m not as hard on myself), as well as the uncon­trol­lable nature of life. Maybe my life is sta­ble enough now that I did­n’t need that kind of release.

I turn 30 in 10 months, and I won­der when I’ll cry again.

The Turning 30 Series


  1. Ironically, your eyes look as though they are get­ting ready to release tears in this picture…maybe its just because they are reflect­ing the water from the tub…

  2. The thing is: Society has proven to us time and again that it is rather stu­pid, does­n’t lis­ten, and is often wrong.

    There is noth­ing wrong with a man who cries so long as it is for a good rea­son. Granted, I don’t want a wimpy man, but I don’t’ want to be myself a wimpy woman.

    Here’s anoth­er thought: Maybe your body is sav­ing it up for one big release. Sometimes there is noth­ing more sat­is­fy­ing than a good, cleans­ing cry.

    • I dunno…sometimes I think of myself as a wimpy man. Or the old me, at least. But maybe that was just the words of my dad, who would call me a wimp, still affect­ing me.

      You’re total­ly right about sav­ing up tears. It’s almost like a pres­sure-release valve.

  3. I think men fail to real­ize how reward­ing it can be for a woman to com­fort. We can only com­fort if we know how upset you are. If you don’t cry, we won’t have any idea.

    If being com­fort­ed goes against your grain, I sup­pose it’s train­ing from oth­er men who were embar­rassed that they might have to show a need for com­fort.

    I mean,.… how stu­pid is that…? Unless you’re in a war… which is where most of them got all this crap.

    I only saw my father cry once — when his own father died. I am hop­ing men are evolv­ing away from that extreme lack of emo­tion.

    • Being com­fort­ed def­i­nite­ly does­n’t go against my grain. Maybe that’s why I used to cry so much.

      I real­ly can’t tell you if men are evolv­ing; I don’t relate to 95% of them.

      • Oh I con­sid­er you high­ly evolved. Not sur­pris­ing you haven’t a clue where the rest are. : )

Leave a Reply