Kat Atwell is a freelance writer, blogger & stage presence telling stories that deliver laughs, validation & community.

Mental Health | Wellness & Self Image | Experiential & Reviews

That’s a crying shame.

I know this look well.

Hi. My name is Katherine, and I’m a crier.

I took a quiz I found through Time Magazine titled “ What Type of Crier Are You?”. I learned, to the surprise of no one, that I cry more than most people surveyed.

Tears show up when I’m happy, when I’m moved by the emotions of others, when I’m frustrated, when I feel like I’ve let people down, when I feel stuck, when I laugh too hard, when I witness vulnerability, when I see someone else crying…I’m sure there are more.

The irony here is that I’m not a big fan of crying in front of people. I like pretending I’m in control. I prefer my vulnerability to show up when I’ve prepared for it to show up, not just whenever (I’m adorable).

Shockingly, it doesn’t work that way. And even more ironically, I usually get praised for “being able to” cry. I find it curious that crying publicly is seen by some as an act of bravery. How am I being brave when I can’t control my tears?

I think it would be easier to get naked physically in front of a stranger than it would be emotionally, but I’m not willing to test that theory.

At some point in my life, my brain decided that crying was weakness. That being quick to cry was a detriment to myself. Why? How? When did a well-developed sense of empathy become a bad thing? Who embedded this idea in my head? If I think about it too much, I’ll start crying for the little kid inside me that felt broken for being emotional.

I’ll cry for your broken childhood, too. And I’ll cry for what you’ve endured. I’ll cry over your triumphs. I’ll cry witnessing a tender moment between a mom and her child. I’ll cry over seeing someone bestow an act of kindness upon another human. Or animal. Christ, we don’t even need to talk about my tears when it comes to animals.

Crying over myself, though? Ew. No thanks. When was THIS built into my hard wiring? I can cry for others, but not for me? Or, I can cry for me, but only out of frustration and shame? Why is it so easy to cry for others unconditionally, but be so hypercritical about my own situations, determining that tears falling because I’m overwhelmed is burdensome?

Gah. Being a human is hard.

If you’re a crier like me, know that I’m here, weeping alongside you. Hopefully, you’re able to honor yourself with some of your own tears, allowing them to fall without shame, through honesty, patience, and authenticity.

It’s what I want for myself eventually. I want to trust myself enough to cry for my own sadness, knowing that by doing so, it won’t cause me further pain through false judgment.

I still have hope. And, as my daughter would say, these are happy tears.

The next chapter.

Emotional Courage