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. : )

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