So far, every significant day in my 23 years of life has ended with me finding a private space to go and have a nice, hearty cry.
And when I say every significant day, I really mean every single one.
On the day I graduated from college, I snuck away from the celebrations to have a quick, low-key sob fest in the bathroom.
On the first day of my very first full-time job, I came home and cried so hard that I managed to give myself a three-hour bout of hiccups, which accompanied me that night as I fell asleep.
Now, none of those experiences were actually bad or painful to go through; although, believe me, I also indulge in a solid cry when shitty things happen, too.
I've learned I tend to cry whenever anything important happens in my life, whether it's positive or negative.
Yes, I'm a little over-the-top. Yes, I'm a sensitive person.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.
I honestly relish the ability to feel all of my emotions as intensely as I do.
For one thing, I don't think I would have ever pursued a career as a writer if not for my sensitivity. There's nothing quite like the feeling of knowing yourself better than anyone else, and it's amazing to be able to express that through my writing.
But, we all know it's not always that easy to put what you're feeling into concrete, tangible words.
So, when writing isn't an option, I cry.
As you could probably guess, I didn't always feel this secure about crying.
I spent a lot of my time growing up trying to hide or bury my emotions, because it simply wasn't socially acceptable to randomly break out in tears in front of other people.
I mean, no one else was ever doing that, so why should I?
After awhile, though, I realized shoving my feelings down on top of one another wasn't healthy. It felt as if my stacked emotions were threatening my very ability to breathe.
Plus, when you hide so much of yourself from the rest of the world, you start to realize no one actually knows the real you.
Now, as I said before, I still retreat to a private setting whenever I feel like I have to cry.
But I can assure you, that doesn't mean I'm ashamed to let people know I've been crying (the puffy, bloodshot eyes don't exactly go away that quickly, guys).
It just means I'm realistic about how unbelievably uncomfortable other people are with the very concept of crying.
Look, I get that. Crying is vulnerable. It's raw. It's not pretty. And usually, people look at it as a sign of weakness.
If you ask me, crying is the ultimate form of expressing your inner strength.
If you're able to briefly step out of a group of people and let a few tears fall in one moment, and then rejoin the conversation with level-headed poise in the next, that's a pretty impressive feat.
It points to a kind of emotional maturity -- an ability to recognize when you need something, and letting yourself have it.
Crying makes me feel in tune with my very being. It reminds me that I'm human, and the human experience is overwhelming for all of us.
So, it's not about denying that you cry, or about pushing the feelings down further and further until you just don't do it at all.
It's about telling each other it's always OK to cry.