“Sometimes memories sneak out from my eyes and roll down my cheeks.” (Andrew Guzaldo) – as seen recently on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.
Professional actors sometimes use the recall of sad or painful memories in order to summon up tears for scenes in their movies. For the rest of us it is often unintended or at least something that we are trying not to do when our eyes weal up and tears start running down our face. I usually can’t get through a funeral without that happening, but many other things get to me enough to cause that reaction. I absolutely don’t think there’s a man out there that didn’t have tears in this eyes while watching the moving ending to the movie Brian’s Song or perhaps at the ending to the movie Love Story. Those things didn’t even happen to us, yet we are so capable of empathy that they cause us to react as if we were an actual part of the story.
Letting our emotions come to the surface and spill down our cheeks every so often is good for us. It releases the tension that we caused in the first place by trying to “keep a stiff upper lip” and it serve to remind us of our own humanity. If it comes at the price of a little bit of humility, that’s probably not a bad thing either. There’s probably not worse advice that we get growing up than the whole “be a man” thing – man up, shake it off, stiff upper lip, be strong – or for girls to “put on your big girl panties” – big girls don’t cry. There is certainly nothing wrong with trying to act mature about things that happen in life, where that maturity is focused upon taking everything in, thinking things out and making good decisions; however, there is nothing in that string that precludes taking a moment or two to let your emotions find an outlet through a few tears or even a good cry. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles had a 1965 hit “Tracks of My Tears” that talked about trying to hide your emotions behind a fake smile.
I don’t espouse walking around crying at everything or in reaction to every bad thing that may happen in life. I think we must become mature and emotionally stable enough to deal with most disappointments that come our way, unlike the very young who may cry or throw a tantrum when disappointed. We must also learn to deal with rejections in life in a better way than to immediately start crying. Life’s failures may be better met with resolve to keep trying than with tears of frustration or defeat.
There are still many things that can happen in life, or memories that can be recalled out of some new incident, which may warrant a few tears. We can have tears of sadness and also tears of joy. So, it’s not just memories that sneak out of your eyes and roll down your face, it’s your emotions finally getting out showing the world that you are human and that care about something. And that’s a good thing. Often we might cry when recalling a failed relationship, either one that we let slip away or one that just wasn’t meant to be. This Jennifer Nettles song talks about that being a “Good Time to Cry.”
Sometimes life itself can be so tough, so unrelenting in its oppression or repetitive in its waves of bad news that you feel like crying all the time. There are many places around the world right now that might provide such an environment, perhaps a few right here in America. Rapper August Alsina has a powerful and explicit trailer for his release called Song Cry that wraps up a lot of these thoughts and gives a glimpse of a life that might make one want to cry on a daily basis. To listen to the full Song Cry, click here, but be forewarned that it is raw and explicit in parts.
So, no matter what reason you have to cry, let it out. Have a good cry, then gather yourself and move on with life. Maybe you needed that cry to put that memory is proper perspective or at least to put it back on the shelf in your mind where you keep the memories of the people and things that you don’t want to forget. Maybe having a few good cries about someone or something will help you turn those tears from ones of sadness or remorse or regret into tears of happiness at having had the opportunity to know them or the good fortune to have survived the event.