Before you keep reading, ask yourself when last you cried. This could be either due to emotions, stress, or pain. Now ask yourself where you were when you last cried. Even more specifically, did you have to dismiss yourself from a room to do so?
Chances are, you answered “yes” to the last two questions. But now comes the real question: why? When asked, Orange Lutheran students responded that they cry on average 3 times a week “depending on the week.” This statistic is pretty consistent across the board, making it seem odd that the average student feels so inclined to hide a very normal reaction.
Hailey McCarthy, an Orange Lutheran junior, says that crying in front of others “makes [her] super anxious and uncomfortable.” Many of her classmates (who would prefer to remain anonymous) tend to agree with her statement saying it makes them “kind of uncomfortable.” When asked why, Hailey said, “I feel judged by people and don’t like showing weakness.” This perspective is again mirrored in her peers saying that crying makes them “weaker and more vulnerable.”
These feelings of inferiority and anxiety tied to crying in public are nothing out of the ordinary. According to Dr. Heather Silvestri, a New York Psychologist, they stem from a “Western culture [that] has been fairly obsessed with rationalism, a philosophy that places a premium on reason over sensory and emotional experience.” Basically, society has told us our emotions aren’t rational and therefore must take a metaphorical back seat.
As you may have guessed, this mindset can be damaging to students and their education. Dani Buschini, another Orange Lutheran Junior, says “[she] usually go[es] to the bathroom” when she finds herself beginning to cry during a lesson, costing valuable learning time. According to Mrs. Christina Perez of the Orange Lutheran English Department, kids who feel they need to leave a classroom to cry may “not [have] the ability to miss class and fill in the gaps” and could end up missing out on important pieces of information. She also notes that because of the average amount of times any given kid may cry a week, leaving the classroom “happens more often than most people realize.”
However, this stigma that has developed around crying in public isn’t just potentially damaging to one’s education, but it can also be damaging to oneself as a whole. Crying isn’t a “form of weakness” but, according to Professor Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones of the University of Utah, “a way of letting others in our community know that we are emotionally full.” As a species that relies so heavily on the help from others, crying is a defense mechanism we have created in order to reach out for help. Instead of turning a blind eye to your own emotional needs, or even judging others for the same thing you do in private, take a moment to reach out and understand that we really are all in this together.
Jones, Kirtly P. “I Cry All the Time – Am I Normal?” The University of Utah Health, University of Utah Health, 6 Nov. 2014, healthcare.utah.edu/the-scope/shows.php?shows=0_t00bicfr.
Gould, Hallie. “We’re Not ‘Emotional’; We’re Human: 12 Women Recount Their Last Great Cry.” Byrdie, Byrdie, 25 July 2019, www.byrdie.com/stigma-of-crying.
Photo Credits: Busy.org