Let's Talk About Crying and Maybe Cry a Little After

 Photo by  Luis Galvez  on  Unsplash

Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash

Crying. It’s hard for me to talk about. Everything I start to say about it, I rethink and delete. I’m torn when it comes to crying. I know that I do. I feel like it’s healthy. But I also hate it. All at once, when I feel the urge coming on, I want to turn it on and push it far away where I don’t have to look at it. Yet sometimes I stand in the mirror and just watch it happen to me, like, Okay, this is where I am.

Sometimes I cry because of how cruel the world is — not even to me, but to others. Sometimes I cry because I feel overwhelmed in my own little world of work, relationships, goals, doubts, desires, and disappointments. Sometimes I cry because I feel alone — even though generally, I really like being alone — I can be happy to have breakfast alone, work at home alone, watch Netflix alone, but still… sometimes something in me clicks, and I feeling lonely instead of content, empowered, or free. And in those moments I can cry.

When I was crying a few days ago, I made this post. I thought for many people, crying might be a challenge to do, or to have people know that we do — like it is for me. And now I know it for sure. I couldn’t believe how many people responded — on Instagram, Facebook, and in conversations. And this isn’t even everything.

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What’s at the root of all this. Why do any of us even cry anyway?

Science doesn’t have as much to say about crying as I’d expected.

I watched a TED-Ed Video about the different kinds of tears we cry. We have basal tears — we don’t even notice ourselves producing these tears — they protect our eyes generally on a day to day basis. We have reflex tears — these are the tears that onions pull out of us, that exist to wash away harmful substances from our eyes or prevent things from getting in. And then we have emotional tears, which science knows the least about. I’ve read that they help rid of us of stress hormones, are maybe a natural form of pain relief, and that socially maybe they exist to engender empathy in others for the individual, or to help us create stronger communal bonds as a whole.

So all I have to lean on really is that little bit of information and then what I see and hear around me. So for what it’s worth, a few more of my thoughts.

The Crying Spectrums

Like so many other things, crying is not one-size-fits-all. The way we cry transcends age, gender, culture, location, sexuality, all kinds of things — I think it even changes for individuals depending on what they’re going through at a certain point in life.

In my head, I imagine three spectrums.

#1 The Expectations of Crying Spectrum
This is where we feel we should fall on the topic of crying based on what messages we received as we’ve grown up. It ranges from “crying is weak, don’t cry” to “crying is natural, do it as much as you need to.”

#2 The How We Cry Spectrum
This is the spectrum where we personally identify our own crying threshold/behavior. It ranges from “I rarely/never cry” to “I often/can easily cry” or maybe “only intense things like death make me cry” to “something small like missing the bus can make me cry.”

#3 The Kinds of Crying Spectrum
This is the spectrum of kinds of crying we do in our life. It ranges from “shed a tear” to “big sobs that give us a headache after.”

So rather than looking for black and white answers, maybe a healthy approach to understanding crying is simply self-awareness and contextual assessment.

What’s going on? What can you do? Who can you talk to and/or invite in to support you?

With all that said…

Cheyenne’s Entirely Subjective, Unscientific Conclusions about Crying

If you understand your need and desire to cry when you’re sad, overwhelmed, or pained — and you feel it’s restorative impact — then cry with no shame. Push aside the baseless criticisms of “crybaby” or “over-sensitivity.” They’re lies.

If you have found that crying gets in the way of your well-being, your ability to function, or to form healthy relationships — that crying itself is overwhelming you — reach out. Find family, friends, or professionals who can help you identify the issue within your emotional expression so you can move forward in joy, too.

If you don’t like to cry, but you feel you need to, explore that — take that journey. Let no internalized negativity you feel toward crying stop you because — your strength is not defined by tears or lack thereof. Not even close.

If you don’t like to cry, and you have no interest in crying, what do you naturally and healthily do to release stress and pain from your body and mind, so it doesn’t bottle up and hurt you in other ways? Explore that — with friends and family and professionals if you need to.

And where ever you fall on any of these spectrums, don’t let anyone or anything make you feel less than normal. There isn’t a normal. There’s just humans. Just us.

Here for each other.


Want to talk more? Have more thoughts about crying? Hit me up.


Sometimes I Don’t Even Blog — This Is One of Those Times

 Photo by  Anita Austvika  on  Unsplash

Photo by Anita Austvika on Unsplash

Between travel, wrapping up writing and reading for my doula certification process, and some very real just emotional and mental exhaustion, sometimes I don’t have the capacity to put a blog post together, and when that happens honestly, I have to just remind myself that it’s not that serious. I’ve said plenty out loud lately. The blog can take a backseat this week.

This Month in Music: September Vibes

 Photo by  Mike Von  on  Unsplash

Photo by Mike Von on Unsplash

I listen to music constantly. Work, eat, workout, play — these are some songs that have been traveling with me through September. What songs have been getting you through your month?


Fighting for Reproductive Justice Within My Faith: Make Christians Act like Jesus Again

In the intersections of my identity I am both someone who fights for reproductive justice and someone who believes in God and in Jesus Christ. A Christian. It’s easy to say, and yet heavy in my mouth and heavy on my fingertips as I type it out. Why? Because my faith has been used as a tool of oppression for generations, and still today (within reproductive justice and beyond).

People have used scripture outside of context, and a perversion of the concept of holiness to shame and dehumanize people, and to limit their choices and free will, and to improperly elevate and offer power and money and status to other people.

When speaker Kira Shepherd from the Racial Justice Program (and more) at Columbia Law began to speak about “White Christian Supremacy” at Decolonize Birth Conference this weekend, I had a visceral reaction. A skin crawl. A sinking in my gut, in part because I already knew… 

Christianity as a Weapon

I knew that during slavery, people who called themselves Christian declared themselves superior over others to justify enslaving them, humiliating them, beating them, scarring them, separating them from their children and families, and killing them.

I knew that during integration, people who called themselves Christian resisted having Black students join their White children in school by building their own schools, schools explicitly created to maintain segregation, schools created through the houses of God, to reject other people created and loved by God.

I know now that today, people who call themselves Christian (and Catholic) are also doctors and staff in hospitals that turn pregnant people away from appropriate care, often without explanation, because of policies that are based in religious belief, for example, ones that confuse the lines between appropriate medical treatment and abortion.

Specifically, Kira Shepherd spoke about a pregnant woman who had gone to the hospital twice during early pregnancy with intense pain and bleeding, and was sent home twice with only aspirin, and nearly died, because doctors felt the treatment that would solve her medical issue could endanger the unborn baby (essentially saying that the woman’s life was less significant than her unborn child’s life).

Is it not nonsensical, that people who base their beliefs on Jesus who healed even on the days it was unlawful to do so on, would deny medical care to those explicitly seeking it from them?


My Personal Wrestling with God

Grappling with tensions and realities like these have led to me to an incredibly difficult place of introspection and questioning. It’s not unlike my teenage years when I asked myself, “Is this my faith? Or is it simply my parents’ faith?” In this season of my life, watching all that has been done in the name of Christianity that has shaken me to my core, I have asked myself, “Am I ashamed of the Gospel?”

As a teenager, I read, and I researched, and I prayed, and day by day, in my mind and my spirit I knew that God was real, I knew that Jesus was my savior, I knew that His hand was on my life and that He had created me to use the skills He gave me to show His love and grace and mercy (and sometimes also anger) to those around me — those who knew Him, and those who weren’t so sure, and those who didn’t believe what I believe.

In this season, I have read, and researched, and prayed, and day by day, in my mind and my sprit I know that I am not ashamed of the Gospel, but I am deeply ashamed of the oppressive things that people have stood crookedly on the Gospel to do. It still confuses and frustrates me how it’s even possible. And to be entirely honest, I often feel like I exist on a desert island within my own faith, watching the main ship heave off without me, partially relieved because I know I don’t even belong on it, but mostly very sad.


What the Bible Actually Says

The whole point of striving for holiness as a Christian is to strive to be like The Holy One, Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of God’s law. Our

lives are not about measuring up to laws and standards or forcing those things on others (neither am I saying that all laws are meant to be thrown to the wayside). But for those of us who believe in Him, we need to examine Jesus — What did He do when He lived and breathed and walked on this ground? Who was He? — And start measuring ourselves up to that.

Look at Jesus. Jesus, who was not ashamed to speak with the woman at the well (though that was scandalous for His time), who had had many husbands. Jesus, who was not ashamed to step in to protect the adulterous woman who would have been stoned (and to put the ones holding the stones in their place, also). Jesus, who was not ashamed to challenge the rich young man who thought he could achieve his way into heaven (Jesus said, Give 👏🏽It 👏🏽 All 👏🏽Away 👏🏽Son 👏🏽 and the Rich Young Man said 👋🏽🚶🏽🚶🏽🚶🏽). Jesus, who was not ashamed to have his cloak touched by the desperate and “unclean” woman who had been bleeding for years and no one had been able to heal her until Him (and not only that but He comforted her and admired her faith and called her daughter). Jesus, who turned over the tables in the temple when people were selling things — why? Because the temple wasn’t supposed to be a marketplace. It was, and still is supposed to be a house of prayer for all the nations

Jesus, who was not ashamed, as He hung on the cross, to offer salvation even to the criminal at His side. A criminal who said, “My suffering is justified… still, Jesus remember me…”

How have we forgotten? How do I watch so many “holy” people act so ashamed to interact with so many people who Jesus literally showed us that He reached for and turned towards?


So What Next

Those of us who believe in the God of the Holy Bible (as opposed to the commercialized, capitalist, red, WHITE, and blue God we encounter so often in the US), and who believe in Jesus Christ, His son, and the Holy Spirit, who intercedes for us — we have layers of serious work to do.

We not only have to do the work that God actually calls us to in the first place — the work He specifically and uniquely knit into us as He made us in our mothers’ wombs. But we also have to undermine the oppressive forces that have so successfully rewritten the general understanding of our faith — and in effect have actually co-opted Christianity — what it means to follow and be like Jesus — and in truth, removed being like Jesus from the picture entirely.

Let’s be honest. In this age, the temple is truly more marketplace than house of prayer for all the nations. Which should make our response pretty easy. Let’s turn the tables over.

Let’s be like Him, by being in relationship with people, all the people. And when things feel grey and unclear and scary — instead of running away from each other, let’s pray and wrestle together as brothers and sisters for something better. For something life-giving.

I know some of y’all will have questions that I don’t have answers for. I really don’t. I just have one day at a time, thoughts and desires and prayers and actions that I will look for fruit from in this life, and I will bring to God at the end of my time to say, “Remember me?”


Don't Forget to Do the Things That Feel like Breathing

 Photo by  Steve Johnson  on  Unsplash

Lately I’ve been forgetting to do the things that feel like breathing. Namely, writing and creating. Not for the blog. Not for a client. Not to sell. Just for me.

Recently, as I wandered through the “Writing” folder on my computer nostalgically, I found some screenshots from this little booklet I put together years ago. And I felt such a yearning to create that space for myself again.

We aren’t built to continuously push ourselves doing things that drain our energy. Even if we

mostly like most of the things we’re doing. There’s a difference between doing something as a means to and end and just doing something because it pours out of us.

And we are meant for that, too. To do things that just... pour out of us. What is like that for you? How can you do it more?

 
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SEE THE WHOLE BOOKLET HERE: