Many a tear has to fall
but it's all in the game
All in the wonderful game
that we know as love ...
— Tommy Edwards' 1958 hit,
written by Carl Sigman
To tweak the above lyrics a bit ... Many a tear needs to fall, and it's all in the game we know as life.
After all, man, we've been through enough just this year to make us all want to sit down and have a good cry.
And hey, there ain't a thing wrong with that.
"Although it's often seen as a sign of weakness, crying can be just what the doctor ordered for sorting through muddied emotions and wading out anew," according to a July 24 story, by Kristen Rogers at cnn.com, on the benefits of crying. The story was a nod to International Self-Care Day, which was the 24th.
We've heard before that crying is beneficial. But it bears repeating.
As the story reminds us, our reluctance to cry is a reluctance we came by honestly.
It's true about our folks threatening us when we were children, as Robert quotes, "'Stop crying, or I'll give you something to cry about.'" (The thing that gets me is, they'd often tell us this right after giving us a good whuppin'. It never seemed to occur to them that if we'd just been walloped and our behinds or other body parts were hurting, it was kin-da tough not to holler out in pain.)
"Many of us learned there were feelings, such as anger or resentment, that we shouldn't have or express," so the story continues. "As children grow into adulthood, we gradually learn to regulate — and sometimes repress and stifle awareness of — our feelings."
Or, display them inappropriately. The angry and resentful thoughts floating around in people's heads these days seem to be making their way not just into social-media rants and comments but actions that result in headlines that make us throw our hands in the air. Take those pent-up feelings, mix in a little bit of action-movie justice, and go!
Be nice if more people let off steam by simply crying rather than lashing out at each other in destructive ways.
Looking back I'd have to confess that the tears I cried as a teenager and a younger adult were too often wasted on things like romance-related disappointments involving members of the opposite sex. Those were tears I wish I could have taken back, knowing what I know now ... that I wasn't meant to have a future with those individuals, they weren't meant to have one with me and there's no telling what yike-y turns in life may have resulted had my associations with them lasted. On the other hand, I can think of a number of events during my life in which a good, old-fashioned, mucous-inducing bawl would have been understandable, acceptable, and useful ... but I shed few to no tears.
And as Rogers points out, holding things in can have a negative effect on our physical health. She quotes Stephen Sideroff, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the University of California in Los Angeles: "[Our] feelings have energy. You (then) have to constrict in different ways to hold them in."
This means you create biological imbalances and do stuff you shouldn't do ... "like lashing out at your family or friends," Rogers writes.
Or lashing out at others, and lashing out to the point where you only add to the chaos and cray-crayness that has distinguished this year.
Rogers warns in her story that "emotional restraint can hinder our ability to experience positive feelings, such as joy and love, as well," and mentions about how we often feel better after crying. Much like exercise and (well, in my case) watching those cute pet videos on the TBD network, crying helps us to shed that stress in a healthy manner.
International Self-Care Day may be over with, but the need for self-care has certainly not ended. I urge everybody who's feeling frightened, worried, frustrated, exasperated or — like the old DMX rap song says, feel like they're being made to lose their minds, "up in here, up in here" — to let go of their learned inhibitions, grab a hanky, turn on the waterworks and have a good "ugly cry."
Because trying to hold in your feelings over such things as covid-19, losing friends and loved ones to covid-19, unemployment (and its consequences) due to covid-19, cabin fever due to covid-19, fear at the state of unrest, political exasperation and, well, continuing to hunt in vain for disinfectant wipes at the big-box store ain't pretty.
Many an email has to be written ...