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.
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.