This post is not for the weary. It was inspired by tears, for one, and a conversation at work about the fans who cried over Michael Jackson’s untimely death and whether or not those tears were legitimate. The post was not directly inspired by Michael Jackson’s death, but by the idea of tears being legitimate or illegitimate.
I’d like to think that all of the tears I shed are legitimate. So here is the list of things that are worth crying over for me. Due to the unexpected length of each item, I have decided to split this post in two. Stay tuned for PART II.
I have never been a crier. In fact, there was one Christmas when my sister and I were both coming in from out of state for the holiday. On the day of our send-off, mine to Washington and my sister’s to Ohio, my dad commented, “How come your sister cries every time she leaves and you don’t? You don’t care about us or something?”
I thought about it. I think about it to this day. I don’t have the answer (to the first question; the answer to the second is obvious). Even when I have had the urge to cry, I bite the insides of my cheeks and look away, breathing deeply. I hold it in as much as possible. But holding it in has become harder in my old age. The flood gates, I mean, tear ducts were finally opened by my long and arduous job search.
After days spent working hard scouring the internet for something worthwhile and writing cover letter after cover letter to sell myself when I didn’t even believe in the product fully myself anymore, I would just sit and cry in my room. There was even one night when I was riding in the car with someone and as we talked about other things, I could feel the tears starting to roll down my cheeks. I had never in my life cried inaudibly until that night. I still don’t think that person even realized that I was crying.
I’ve painted quite a pathetic picture for you, haven’t I?
1. So first thing worth crying over, rejection, also known as a broken heart. This can be the result of a love interest gone bad or fruitless job searching.
In the midst of my job search, when I was already emotionally weakened, I had a terrible bus experience. I was riding up to my sister’s place, and a few stops after I got on, this man, probably 28 years old, clearly under the influence of something, got on. I realized as soon as he got on that he was trouble, but he sat down and didn’t seem to bother anyone. But after a few stops he began yelling at no one, at everyone, violently in volume, tone and word choice, demanding that people stop looking at him. He would just sit there and be quiet for five minute spans all it took was one sideways glance and the rants would start again. As he sat facing inward, he would kick up his foot in the face of the woman sitting across from him who was doing everything in her power to stay focused on her phone, while he yelled at her about what country she should go back to. An old man got on the bus during one of his quiet spells and made the mistake of trying to make use of the empty seat next to him. The young man stood up, put his face in the old man’s face and through physical intimidation, racial slurs and more hateful words than I care to remember, forced the old man out of the seat.
I was affected on multiple levels by this experience. I was furious that there wasn’t anything that anyone could do, specifically that I could do. I was also incredibly saddened by the life story that this man must have had, that would have inspired this much hatred for himself and for other people.
As soon as he got off the bus, everyone still riding looked around at each other. It started out as laughter, the laughter of relief, but before I knew it, I was sobbing. The can’t speak, can’t breathe sort of crying. I was trying to explain to the strangers who looked at me as if they wanted to comfort me, but didn’t know how, that I wasn’t crying because he said something to me or because I had been scared. I was crying because of the feeling of helplessness, because of the amount of times that he had violently told people to go back the country they had come from, because he had so much hate inside him that I could feel it. I continued to cry and one of the women on the bus turned back to look at me and said, “Those are the Virgin Mary’s tears.”
2. So second thing that is worth crying over, helplessness in the face of hatred, not being able to protect those around you from it and not being able to combat it.
To be continued…