Friday, January 14, 2011


Crying. A complicated subject.  Babies cry and we rush to tend to their needs.  Or not.  Little boys cry and we tell them to be tough and don't cry (well, not in our family because we would consider it psycho to say that to our boys).  It does happen though.  Little girls cry to get what they want and that seems ok.   When women cry men can become VERY uncomfortable.  Or maybe ignore them completely.  When men cry everyone rushes to judge them.  Everyone.  One way or another.

I'm not Dr. Phil so I can't explain any of it.  Like most 'liberals', I'm way better at identifying the problem than suggesting the solution.  I do know ONE helpful thing about crying though so I thought I'd share.

Julia Butterfly Hill changed my life about crying.  I totally love that she lived in a tree.  I get that  Woody Harrelson was one of the few people cool enough to climb the tree and visit her and all that.  But this was the big thing for me - after she wrote The Legacy of  Luna she became in demand as a public speaker.  Not easy for a girl who lives in a tree.  When speaking about her experiences she would calmly say that "I'm going to cry while I'm saying this but I'm just going to go ahead and say it".  I'm paraphrasing but the impact for me was astounding!

I was released.  Just let it go.  No embarrassment.  No judgement.  Don't try to stop crying or pretend you're not crying.  Cry.  But get it said and done as you're crying. 

Some years after that I went to hear Dr. Helen Caldicott, the great anti-nuclear activist speak and guess what, she cries.  This is a woman who once held President Ronald Reagan's hand for an hour explaining the impact of nuclear war.  He listened.  She cried.  And she does not apologize.

My daughter has a tattoo that is a version of this Angel of Grief from Metairie, Louisiana.   We left our home in New Orleans on a Saturday in August before hurricane Katrina and never went back.  We were fine but many people were not.   It's OK to cry.

A quote I remember from the magical and unforgettable " A Wrinkle In Time" -  Human feelings are frail, the ways of the world are ragged.  It's Ok to cry.

Cry Ophelia.  It's the only thing to do sometimes.

1 comment:

carlo said...

What photographer took the picture of the angel of grief onthis blog page?