The Fashion Magpie Crying

I’m a Crier.

I recently listened to a few snippets of an interview with Joanna Coles, Chief Content Officer for Hearst Magazines, and former longtime editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, and at one point, she commented breezily that she never cries.

Never cries?

Never?

Oy.

I am a crier.  Like, a weekly crier.  Maybe — if I’m being honest — an occasional daily crier.  Not necessarily over serious stuff, either: it might be minimagpie throwing her arms around me in a hug, or a moving scene in a movie (I may or may not have open-mouth sobbed during portions of the movie Hostiles, which I loved until the final scene), or a sweet gesture from Mr. Magpie, or a little love note from my mom, or three boxes of pantry items tumbling onto my head at a particularly frenetic moment, or — and this has happened, too — a tender kindness from a stranger on a hard day, or that time not so long ago that Mr. Magpie and I observed a middle-aged gentleman sitting, solo, in a favorite Italian restaurant of ours in Chicago, and we noticed a little pamphlet at his side: “The best dishes in Chicago.”  There he was, by himself, dutifully ordering the pasta a la norma and a glass of white wine, per the article’s recommendation.  There was something so moving about his earnest pursuit of The Good Stuff, his unblinking faith in the article’s assertions.  We couldn’t help but spool an entire maudlin storyline out of our brief glimpse into his life: was he recently divorced and looking to live his best life?  A bachelor foodie with a bucket list of dishes to try, but no one to try them with?  A traveling businessman making the best of a solitary trip?  Whatever it was, something about his lonely foray in search of a culinary treat spoke to us, and I couldn’t help but wipe a tear away later as we discussed it back home.

I wish I weren’t a crier.  It’s embarrassing.  It often exacerbates an awkward or emotionally fraught moment — leading people to pause, awkwardly, and wonder what to say or do.  And it can undercut a genuine emotion when friends sigh or roll their eyes comedically or crack a smile: “Oh, there she goes again” or “Why is she crying?!” or “Oh, Jen…”  And so I’ve tried — fruitlessly — various strategies to prevent myself from crying over the years:

“Look up at the light,” one college girlfriend said, rather gruffly, when tears pooled in my eyes as I spilled my guts over heartache of one form or another.  “You won’t cry then.”  I was taken aback at her seeming tough love — it was this that stayed the tears rather than the look-into-the-light trick, which I’ve tried dozens of times since, to no avail.

“Bite your cheek if you feel like you need to cry,” my sister wrote in a note to me when I was eleven and upset about something or other.  This, also, has failed me at inopportune moments:  I’ve tried this, and also tried pinching my hand, the theory being that focusing on another type of mild pain — physical — might distract from the impending waterworks.

I’ve stockpiled funny moments — I especially love the slapstick and bawdy humor of A Million Ways to Die in the West, and will force my mind to replay favorite moments in a valiant attempt at self-distraction as I feel tears forming — but, again, without success.

I hoped that after surviving some of the travails of the past few years — deaths, losses, failures — and also enjoying some of its extreme triumphs — births, moves, successes — I might be better situated to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to tear-worthy moments.  But no.  I might have a better perspective on things in a general sense, but I seem always a minute away from a cry.

Recently, I’ve accepted this in myself.  Crying is as natural to me as smiling — when something funny happens, I laugh; when something moves me, I cry.  We all know the impossibility of stifling the giggles once we get going; the same goes for crying — so why fight it?  Why denigrate it?  If anything, it’s a testament to how deeply I feel the world around me, to how much of my heart I wear on my sleeve — it’s me.  I’ve even come to embrace the laughing reaction it sometimes elicits from loved ones, which I’ve come to learn might be a form of relief, the displacement of the grief or anger or heartache they are experiencing into a sort of avuncular condescension: “Oh, Jen — there she goes again.”  And the conversation shifts, and the mood lightens, and we can all take a breath.

What about you?  Are you a crier?  Do you stifle it, or do you own it?  And if you’re not a crier — God bless you.  (How do you do it?!?!?)

Post-Script.

New org-dork alert: we have a lovely upholstered Parson’s chair with built-in storage under the seat.  Unfortunately, minimagpie has learned how to remove the seat cushion and dig around in the basin, and the basin is where we store batteries, pens, shipping tape, and other office supplies.  I resolved the problem and indulged my inner Marie Kondo by sifting through everything, tossing much of it, and organizing the rest in a combination of these and these (perfect for surplus pens and batteries!).  It’s borderline humiliating how happy this organization project left me.

I have also heard that these bins are great all-purpose organizational wizards — use them under the sink, over the laundry machine, in the closet, etc.

These rainboots are uber chic!  I am dying for a pair!

ZOMG – A Mark Cross box bag on super sale…in the most delightful bubblegum pink…!

This adorable dress was just marked down.  Love!

Apparently this pineapple basket was so popular it sold out immediately — but is available now for pre-order.  I think I need this for our entryway!  Would be a great spot to conceal our stash of mittens, miscellaneous totes, dog toys, etc.

You know I can’t say no to a highlighter.  This stuff looks magically pretty.

I think I need this for minimagpie!  She’s years and years away from needing her own key, but…!  Imagine stockpiling it for the day she gets her key to the apartment?  I love it.

Super mad I missed out on this dress — it’s sold out in my size but still available in a few others and looks like the spitting image of an Alessandra Rich!

I just can’t get you out of my head

LOVE THIS BLOUSE.

P.S.  Are you a rule-follower?  Or a curfew-breaker?

P.P.S.  Loved your thoughtful reactions to my post on D.C.

P.P.P.S.  Have you ever had to break up with a friend as an adult?

25 Comments

  1. Sometimes I treat people who say they can’t cry, that the tears won’t come, they want to but can’t find the way. To me, that is a worse fate, by far. I try to help them express the feelings they learned to bury long ago, but it doesn’t always work. Working with non-criers has helped me appreciate the gift of being a crier and that my feelings are able to find their way out into the wild world.

  2. I’m so happy to know it’s not just me! I think its the way that we relieve stress (in negative situations) and express intense emotion (in positive situations).

    I too have accepted my “Crier” status–to the point that the one time I didn’t cry during a Grey’s episode, I turned to my husband and told him that something was wrong haha.

    Thanks for the sweet words <3 I've so enjoyed discovering your blog over the past few weeks!

    1. HAHA – I laughed out loud at your Grey’s comment — that’s amazing. Cheers to our shared crier status! xo

  3. I am 110% a crier as well — I cry pretty much daily. I love what Christina wrote above, about it being a sign of empathy for one’s fellow humans. I have always been sensitive and generally speaking, I believe it to be an excellent quality. Do I wish I had held it together at a few points throughout my life? (Like when I bawled in my office after receiving news of a horrible accident involving a close friend) — sure, but at the end of my life, I doubt I’ll look back on those brief moments and wish them away. I would much rather have empathy and feeling for my fellow humans (and animals, too — those dog commercials always get me!)

    Love that sweet strawberry key ring — you’re so sweet to think of future gifts for your girl. I still have the Tiffany key ring my parents gave me the summer I turned 17 (and got my license) — such a classic!

    1. Oh man – I didn’t even think about instances where dogs die in movies. I will sob 10 times out of 10. Christina said it just right, though — I agree. xoxo

  4. I’m a crier too. Sometimes it’s easy to feel a little embarrassed by it, but what I try to remind myself of is that I would a million times rather be a sensitive person who feels every little thing than the opposite! That’s not to say someone who doesn’t cry easily isn’t just as sensitive, but it’s a reminder to me that I have a great empathy for other people, which means I feel connected to other people. The sweet story about the man in the Italian restaurant is an example – you care so deeply about other humans and feel a connection to someone in a small way, even when you don’t know them. It’s a really cool and deeply human thing. Of course I would like to be able to soldier on sometimes (like when you drop a half full bottle of perfume and it shatters on the bathroom floor…ugh), but being forced to stop and collect myself in a moment of stress or frustration is a reminder to let myself feel.

    1. “That’s not to say someone who doesn’t cry easily isn’t just as sensitive, but it’s a reminder to me that I have a great empathy for other people, which means I feel connected to other people. ” — this is beautiful, Christina — you said what I wanted to say so eloquently!

    2. Love love love everything you’ve said here. You’re right that most crying stems from “a connection to someone in a small way.” True blue, Christina!

  5. I am one of the world’s biggest criers, I think! Beautiful music makes me cry (Bach’s cello suites), an awe-inspiring space (the Duomo in Florence), TV (just binge watched “Call the Midwife” and bawled at every episode)…you name it, I cry about it. Not to mention sad things, of course–they are in a whole other category. I think I cry once a day, come to think about it. Crybabies unite! 🙂

  6. You are not alone in cry-dom. I find myself crying at both significant and seemingly insignificant moments, but significance is relative. I sometimes find myself crying for others who don’t, or for example in the case of Joanna Coles, for those who can’t. I’ve also been described by family as “tender hearted” and that is a trait I proudly wear and choose to embrace. I spent many years feeling the need to suppress that urge to communicate strength and resilience, but I choose to believe that us criers are as (or more) resilient than our non-crying comrades.
    And, I find comfort in science, knowing that my tears contain hormones that relieve stress and improve mood. <3

    1. Oh, I love all of this! “Crying for others who don’t” — you are such a sweet soul. Glad you’ve also learned to own your tears; you are you! xo

  7. I cried reading about the solo dining man you mentioned. I think there’s something deeper with us criers, I think we have a tendency to feel things stronger. I am not saying that people who don’t cry don’t have feelings but I think when we get sad, we get SAD and when we get happy, we are HAPPY. Crying is beautiful, it is showing your emotions to the world.

    1. Oh, tender soul! I agree that sometimes I think I feel things more intensely or perhaps am far more sensitive than the average Jane Doe, and maybe crying is my “tell.” xo

  8. I cried reading about the solo dining man you mentioned. I think there’s something deeper with us criers, I think we have a tendency to feel things stronger. I am not saying that people who don’t cry don’t have feelings but I think when we get sad, we get SAD and when we get happy, we are HAPPY. Crying is beautiful, it is showing your emotions to the world.

  9. I’ve had success with the “press your tongue very firmly on the roof of your mouth” trick, when I just needed to hold off crying long enough to get somewhere more private.
    That said, nothing wrong with being a crier! I try to avoid it at work, because for me it is often just a physical response to any strong emotion, not just sadness, and the wave will pass soon enough.

    1. Definitely going to try the tongue trick when I’m at an inopportune moment for tears; though I more or less accept myself as a crier now, there are certainly moments where it makes things very awkward. Thank you! xo

  10. I hate that I’m an adult, with grown children and I too am a crier! However, I have ALWAYS been one to stand up for an underdog! Nothing makes me angrier than to see people attack someone! So, I guess (and hope) I have a living heart that feels passionately! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! 😉

    1. I know what you mean about not wanting to cry as a mom — I am already aware of needing to be strong for minimagpie, and I especially would never want to cry when she instead needs a voice of reassurance. (My mom is a master at this — she somehow always holds it together when I need her to.)

      And you SHOULD stick to your story! It’s a lovely one 🙂

  11. Before the baby, one of the only times I’d ever cried was when I had operated on this wonderful woman, and had to tell her that the brain biopsy showed terminal cancer. Since the baby: interminable. He opened up my heart.
    MamaMD.GianninaMD.com

    1. Wow — that is incredible, and such a testament to the earth-shattering, life-upending (in a good way) experience of motherhood! xo

  12. I’m hoping crybabies are allowed here because I’m a big one! Especially at saying goodbyes. Even with people who don’t hold significance in my life , which makes it that much more embarrassing. Heck I tear up over mayonnaise commercials. I’d like to think it speaks to the caring and gentle people we are.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *