“Crying does not indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.” — Charlotte Brontë
I'm not sure if I'm becoming more sensitive and compassionate as I age or if I'm just becoming weaker and more vulnerable, but I cry all the time now.
Unlike before, when mean girls and rumors would send me wailing, these tears are different. These tears are a deeper type, ones that come from a slower type of hurt.
They form within me like a virus, bottling up until I must purge myself and move on, a little lighter this time.
They are the type of tears you pick up throughout life. The ones you collect slowly and steadily, every time someone shames you, hurts you and breaks your heart.
The ones thrown at you when you're missing home and the ones you pick up when you're at your loneliest. They are the tears you gain when you're feeling abandoned or during a bad day at work. Much like filling a water balloon, the tears keep adding more pressure and weight, until you're ready to burst.
And burst you should. Burst until there is nothing but fragments of balloon and water dripping on the ceiling. Because crying is a necessary and beautiful part of life.
It's a release the same way we feel the need to run or dance. It's a purging of the soul that cleanses you the same way a steam room opens up the pores and releases the toxins.
Because when you cry, there's nothing left but that raw numb place that used to hold a cesspool of pain and hurt that swelled into a choking lump at the bottom of your throat.
“If you've never eaten while crying you don't know what life tastes like.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Because that's what crying is for, to release the pain and begin anew. It's the truest form of life process we have, the mind and the body agreeing harmoniously to this pain that can't be seen. It's as natural and necessary as laughing or breathing.
Recently I've been wondering if these feelings of revitalization and improved health after crying were just my imagination or if they had any scientific grounding to them.
According to Pysch Central, who found some interesting reports by Jerry Bergman on "The Miracle Of Tears," your tears are very much a necessary process that is not only good for you, but vital to a healthy life.
So tonight, or tomorrow or next week, when you feel as heavy as a loaded balloon and as sad as a wounded animal, take some time alone, close the door and let it out.
Let your tears roll over you and cleanse you like holy water on a newborn's scalp. Dig deep into your pain and throw it away in salty, dripping tears.
It Shows You What's Important
When you're crying you understand your pain and you are forced to see it, taste it and feel it. You are confronted with it as your body rocks in rhythm with your heart.
You may not realize it, but this is a time of real reflection and therapy. On a more literal level, crying does indeed help you see better. According to Psych Central, tears are what lubricate our eyes and keep them hydrated.
This moisture is necessary to our eyesight. Jerry Bergman, author of the article "The Miracle Of Tears" also states, “without tears, life would be drastically different for humans – in the short run enormously uncomfortable, and in the long run, eyesight would be blocked out altogether.”
It Purges The Bad
It's true, tears actually help get rid of toxins in the body. According to Psych Central, "emotional tears – those formed in distress or grief – contained more toxic byproducts than tears of irritation."
Thus, the toxins you accumulate from being stressed and sad are washed away with the tears. Whether the toxins are real or phantom, they are purged from your aching body.
It Assuages The Pain
Like screaming, crying is just a natural reaction to pain, and we all know that the pain of real suffering is much worse than any superficial wound.
According to Bergman, "The simple act of crying also reduces the body’s manganese level, a mineral which affects mood and is found in up to 30 times greater concentration in tears than in blood serum."
It's Why They Make Wine
The wine industry would be nothing without tears, much like penicillin without syphilis. It's the trigger and the medicine.
If you feel yourself about to burst but still can't get any tears out, just get yourself a bottle of red wine and the tears will flow long after the Cabernet ends.
It Alleviates Stress
According to Pysch Central, tears have the ability to "remove some of the chemicals that build up in the body from stress" along with proving the opposite effect, that holding tears increases stress levels.
Thus it's been scientifically proven that if you want to rid yourself of that weight of stress, you need to lock yourself in a room.
It Keeps You Healthy
Not only does it keep your soul healthy, it actually completes necessary functions to help the body in times of physical need.
According to Bergman, "tears can be brought on not only by strong emotions, but also by mechanical irritation of your eye, infections, or illness.
Reflex or irritation weeping appears to be ‘designed … as an emergency … mechanism’ because the lacrimal glands automatically provide the proper level of lubrication and protection when needed."
Photo via We Heart It