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.
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?!?!?)
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!