Let It Out!
Not many of us like to cry in front of other people. The snot, water dripping from our eyes, and unclear speech associated with tears are embarrassing. We get concerned about what others may think.
Outside of my children’s births, a special moment during a capoeira event years ago, and my mother's 70th birthday party, few people have ever seen me cry. It’s not because I save it for when I am alone. Tears are not part of my go-to expressions for sadness or joy.
I don’t reveal this truth as a badge of honor or a testament to emotional fortitude; this is my unfortunate reality.
Plenty is happening these days to justify crying anywhere. Yesterday there was another mass shooting in the US. The war between Russia and Ukraine continues.
We need to protect our mental health. Expressing the full range of our emotions is an act of self-care.
Think about it.
When was the last time you cried? Were you watching a great movie that hit an emotional chord with you? Did a family member or a friend of yours pass away? What were the conditions?
Last Saturday, I lost my cool during a warm tribute to my mom. My siblings and I hosted a luncheon in honor of her 70th trip around the sun. The event's significance and awareness of my mother's breast cancer diagnosis made me tear up when I shared a story about her consistent patience and love for me.
Despite acknowledging my mother’s health condition, I haven’t allowed myself to accept the full implications of cancer.
A life without my mom is difficult to process. She is always there to answer my phone call and offer parenting advice. She extends herself whenever I visit to ensure I am comfortable. For those reasons and more, I released tears in front of about 50 family members and friends.
Although I was embarrassed when my voice crackled during my tribute, I am grateful for my mom's sacrifices over the years. She helped raise six children. Because of her efforts alongside my father's, my siblings and I have experienced varying degrees of success in our personal and professional lives.
My sister Melanie talked about how our mom supported her recent challenge to earn a PhD.
Friends, nieces, and sisters of my mom also shared stories about my mother’s impact on their lives. One of my cousins took the mic to speak and refused to look at the audience to avoid tears.
Now that you've thought about it, what will you do?
If crying is not your thing, use this weekend to discover another healthy outlet for your emotions. Holding it all in to save face leads to poor choices.
Some of us resort to violence because we cannot manage our emotions. For example, see Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock or any of the unfortunate recent mass shootings driven by angered, frustrated, and depressed individuals.
Journaling, going for a walk, talking to a friend or therapist, and crying are some of the many ways to release stress, sorrow, and happiness. Avoid getting drunk or high to escape your feelings. Hangovers and coming down from the trip will only make matters worse. Instead, use this weekend to identify a new productive activity supportive of your emotional well-being.
If your mom is still around, call or message her today. Below, look at some of the footage captured from the luncheon and for more context to the woman I am blessed to call mother.