Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Thursday, July 15, 2010

On Crying

The refrigerator hums over the silence. My reflection, transparent on the glass coffee table, stares back at me. My eyes are pools of oil, but somehow beyond petroleum. A bubble strains against my chest and rises into my throat. It hovers there as I try to think tragic thoughts, then it fades into summer darkness. No tears come.

Until recently men were not supposed to cry, tears being the enemy of reason, a problem instead of a solution, potential aggression wasted. It's hard to hunt while crying. It's hard to cry while hunting.

Now, however, a family's greatest danger is the tyrant within -- a concealed mental illness exploding a payload of unexpressed emotions. Only a fragile and selfish man equates tears with weakness. A strong man cries to prove his excess of strength and his ability to thrive in a more emotionally nuanced world.

I must let tears cleanse my face and give pain its respect. Sometimes I need help crying. It's work to get to those emotions. There are blockages. So I pour myself a gin and tonic. The ice cracks. I squirt the lime slice at my eyes and miss. On the couch, I drink deeply. My iPod plays "America." Ah, Paul Simon, I too am empty and aching and I don't know why.

I've lost many people who I loved and who loved me, some for years, some for just a day or a tender night. Some I chased away and some just disappeared. They're gone forever and so am I as I used to be. Forever. Those simple happy days will not return. Never.

A warm wet wave rises. My throat catches. Huzzah! I sob, and salty poison drips from my eyes and nose. It stops being poison when it hits the air. I'm lighter already. I am. A little more of this and I could seduce a cloud and make it rain, sticky umbrellas everywhere.



Anonymous Asylum Dolly said...

This was funny in parts (i like the bit about squirting the lime juice), but it made me feel a bit sad. Maybe because i feel sad a bit already. I have plenty of tears to spare unfortunately- i just had my second " mini nervous breakdown at the train station" for the month. I wish i was rich enough to be a proper recluse.
But anyway, i find mournful music helps when i need to get the tearies out. generally i don't need much help, but i am a girl, and as you pointed out, it has been long encouraged that women are allowed to but men are not. It is ridiculous because emotions are human, and men are human. Bottling things up is never good. As Leela from Futurama once said: " i keep my pain locked up inside where it can fester quietly as a mental illness". i think Homer Simpson said that too, but whatever.
It is true that it takes a strong man to be able to cry. I do hope though that there are not too many reasons for you to have to do so. Being sad is a shitty feeling.
Cool post Jon. Sending a hug just incase it is ever needed.

7:59 AM  
Blogger sybil law said...

I find myself, recently, just being on the verge of tears when even some stupid commercial comes on.
I clearly need a good cry.

10:27 AM  
Blogger jorg wobblington lopez said...

I held in the tears since I was a little over a teenager but have recently discovered it again with the simultaneous discover of my raging alcoholism. Huzzah.

1:08 PM  
Blogger JMH said...

Bon - Thanks, I'll take a hug. Nothing bad has ever come from a hug, except for the fleas that one time, but it was poor judgment to hug that feral dog.

The blog is a really nice medium for getting rid of this sort of thing, although fortunately there's not too much to cry about in my day-to-day life since I stopped buying milk and spilling it.

Two jokes! I must be feeling better. I hope you do too.

sybil - Is it that sad commercial with Sarah McLachlan and all those neglected animals? I always change the channel.

jorg - The alcohol helps, the "ism" not so much.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous Chef Gulzar said...


Cool post. good one!'
thanks for sharing this...

James Parker….
Chef Gulzar

2:00 AM  

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