Friday, March 15, 2013

In Defense of Ugly Crying

Ugly crying.

The kind where you let it all out. Where there is hyperventilating and you eventually get dehydrated because you've lost that much water. When you end up with a raging headache that lasts two days. If you're me, when you do it up right, you throw yourself into a full blown asthma attack.  Then, there is the matter of this.

Snot bubbles.  OH YES.  A sign of a good cry, always.

Shutup.  You know this has happened to you.

Well, you probably do.

You know what I'm talking about unless you're like I used to be back in the day.  Back when I didn't really have anything earth shattering to be upset about.  Back when shit happened, but I totally just dealt with it.  Back when I was stoic and tough and all that.

Back when I was just better at stuffing things down.

Then life started to get complicated and I fully embraced the ugly cry.  The first one was the day I found out the baby's heart stopped beating sitting in a dark ultrasound room.  I cried so loud and for so long that they shut the door so I wouldn't disturb other patients.  The visceral crying, where you literally lose the ability to control it at all.

I did it a lot back then, then I was good for a long, long time.  I avoided ugly crying for years.

I thought I had toughened up, that I was stronger.   That's what I thought...

...until the day my dad was diagnosed, the day that I knew exactly what the words they used meant, the day I knew he was terminal and there wasn't a damn thing they could do to save him.  That was a doozy.  The kind of cry where you are glad a wall catches you on the way down, then you end up in a pile on the floor.

I never did that in front of him or the kids, because I refused to let my grief screw with anyone else.  I had my ugly cries, sure, but they were hidden.  Got most of it out of my system in the shower, which incidentally is THE BEST place to cry.

I can see some of you nodding your heads right now, because you know exactly what I'm talking about.

After he was gone, it happened a few times, though it wasn't usually about him.  It was more about the things that happened in the aftermath, the unraveling that started.  There was an afternoon, etched into my memory as clear as day, when I was impatiently waiting for the fire department to show up, shaking my fists at the sky, sobbing so loud that half the neighborhood would have known something was wrong.  Fortunately, the sounds around me drowned out my sorrow and I pulled my shit together before the truck filled with hot firefighters arrived.

Back then, I could still do that.

Now....not so much.

Things have happened since then that have tested me in ways I never thought I'd have to endure.  I cry all the time now.  Sometimes it's the silent tears in the car.  Sometimes it's the dry heaving sobs in the shower. Sometimes it's the full blown asthma inducing, soul piercing stuff.  I do still try to hide it from others as much as I can, but I can't always.

I'm not as good at that as I used to be.

I'm not as good at a lot of things as I used to be.

What I am better at, though, is identifying my emotions and letting them out before I explode.  I'm better at giving myself space when I need it.  I'm better at self-preservation.  I'm better at not beating myself up over things I had no control over.  I'm better at real.

I wear my heart on my sleeve these days. I tell people I love them ALL THE TIME.  I've even started hugging people.  For those who know me, this comes as a shock, I know.

I have my moment, however long it lasts, then I put on my eyeliner and will myself to put the big girl panties on no matter how bad it sucks.

This is me, take it or leave it.  Snot bubbles and all.

If you can't handle me at my worst, you sure as 
hell don't deserve me at my best. ~Marilyn Monroe


  1. although I never quite heal my problem from ugly crying, it definitely has a cleansing property to it! phewwww, I'm not alone :-p BIG GIRLS DO CRY!!!

  2. Yeah. When the world gets the best of you there's nothing more cathartic than crying so hard that you puke. That's also the point when my husband understands that I've reached breaking point and steps up his game. Keeping it all in is too exhausting.

  3. After 2 sonos with no heartbeats I went in the last time with a new doctor (we had moved) and when she pulled the sono machine out I was slinging snot. She was so kind and patient. I told her everything. She understood and let me calm down before she started.
    When she stopped to call my husband and our oldest in to the room and showed us the two healthy babies on the sono I slung snot again.
    Ugly tears can be great on both extremes of the emotional spectrum. Even on the same day... same hour. Tears are cleansing.

  4. i have barfed from crying. i have been there. probably snot bubbles too, but i don't know. hideous sticky saliva too. feeling like you've been hit by a mack truck, that too. yup. trauma. it has to come out. good for you. i know it sounds sappy, but levees break all the time. better not to test them. xo

  5. You wrote exactly what I feel now All THE TIME (there are some good days and some really good days) but I cry A LOT. Thanks for sharing. Also crying in the shower is the best. No one hears you and when you come out of the shower all red in the face you can always say its the hot water.

  6. I know this feeling and this emotion so well. I know that soul piercing cry... and incidentally, they had to close me in a room in L&D too because I was wailing so loudly... Grief does suck. Like you though, I've learned life is precious, and we have to love who we have and what we have in this short time on earth. Hugs. xoxoxoxoxoxox

  7. This.Is.Perfect. I could use your hug about now!

  8. Yes. To all of that, yes.

  9. Goddamn I love you. Snot bubbles and all.

  10. You are amazing and I adore you, even with the snot. I'm still in the emotion-suppression stage most of the time, so I don't cry that often. But when I do, I end up with a migraine that lasts for days, swollen eyes, and sometimes puking. I feel you.

  11. This is the only kind of crying I do. I never have one glamorous tear trickling down my cheek. I'm all in...snot bubbles and all.

  12. A good ugly cry can not only cleanse the soul, but set the world back in order. You've reminded me that I think I'm overdue.


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