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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 20 March, 2019

In defence of crying in public

Let there be no more shame.

I USED TO tease one of my friends for being a crier. Most nights out were book-ended with her sobbing through deep chats at predrinks all the way through to the forlorn wait for a taxi home.

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Meanwhile, I was trying to will some, any, emotion out of myself, beyond the tears that were prompted by movies like My Sister’s Keeper and Toy Story 3. (The furnace scene is intense, alright?!)

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Then, something in my brain shifted and the floodgates quite literally opened. Maybe it was a symptom of getting older. Maybe it was because of my deteriorating mental health at the time. Maybe it was hormones – that’s everyone’s answer, right?

But I couldn’t stop crying. At everything. All the time.

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The stupid flimsy ending of How I Met Your Mother? There is videographic evidence of me hysterically crying at it. The couples’ speeches at the end of the third series of Love Island. I was positively leaking. Remember when that Dad surprised his kids on The Late Late Toy Show last year? I actually can’t even think about it without my eyes cooking up tears.

There’s still a stigma for some when it comes to crying (or conveying emotion at all, for that matter). So much so, that there seems to have been a hierarchy developed of places you can cry, ranked from least to most shameful. For example, no one cries on Dublin Bus, willingly. Public transport is seen as the final frontier, for some.

Reader, I am not ashamed to admit that my crying sessions on buses are more than semi-regular.

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I’ve tried to hold it in and you know what? I can’t be bothered anymore. Things got on top of me. I cry about housing. I cry about driving (and not driving). I cry about my future. Sure, people might look initially, in the same way they’d probably gape at someone playing music off their phones or painting their nails. Eventually, people stop caring and subsequently stop looking.

Who’s to say that’s not a massive plus, though? How many times have you got on the bus at rush hour, unable to deal with the masses about to infiltrate your personal space? You can’t put your bag on your seat, because you don’t want to be that guy. However, the minute you start crying? You’ll be avoided like the plague, and get to enjoy a, eh, nice journey home.

I’ve come to find it less embarrassing, and more cathartic. The first time it happened, I checked it off my list: a marker for moment I hit rock bottom. Now, I am happy to snivel all the way home on the 9 without much consideration for anyone within five feet of me. Sorry, not sorry. Crying to the masses has led me to shed my inhibitions, and not be so scared of my vulnerability.

The next time you find yourself shedding a tear on the 83, know that you are not alone and that you do not have to “calm down” or “pull yourself together”. (Unless you are heaving and throwing yourself about, then maybe consider it). And the next time you see someone doing the above – do them a favour and don’t stare.


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