Crap! Here it comes! Not now! No! No! Maybe if I pinch the bridge of my nose…nope. Argh! Science! What if I open my eyes really wide in order to achieve more surface area of my eyes being exposed to air and thus allowing them to dry? Nope. Well, crap!!!! Biting the inside of my cheeks and lips? Ouch…and nope. Why can’t this happen when I am alone? Why does it always have to happen when I am in someone else’s presence? I hate it! I hate that I can not stop myself from crying when I get frustrated or angry and I hate that he is looking at me like this. Now, he won’t remember what I am saying or the point of this conversation…all he’ll remember is that I’m weird and can’t handle heavy topics because I appear to be hyper-emotional. Great…now I’m going to be described as “a hysterical female” and I can’t even be hysterical (literally means to have a uterus…I will never be hysterical again…but my eyes don’t seem to comprehend that!) This sucks!
This is the conversation I had in my head just a couple of weeks ago. I was so frustrated with my apparent lack of self-control, that when I got home I began researching how to circumvent the crying process. Turns out…there isn’t much you can do about it. Some people suggest the bridge-of-the-nose-thing and some suggest physically taking a step back from the situation in order to feel that you have the “space to gain some perspective” but nobody has figured out yet how to prevent it. One research paper (science geek-out alert) even suggested that when a woman cries, there are chemicals released from her body that lower testosterone in nearby males which is meant to reduce aggression in any male attackers…my personal experience is that it just reduces my ability to be viewed as a rational and intelligent woman.
So, why am I writing about this? Well, it turns out that a LOT of women struggle with this and I want you to know that you’re not alone if you are one of them. Another thing is that it appears to be truly physiological and not due to some sort of mental or emotional deficiency at all…which would mean that it is a safeguard that is in place in order to protect us from harm. It is meant to protect from physical, emotional, and mental damage or danger. I wouldn’t curse my reflexes for responding to something hot so why do I curse my body for it’s natural response to danger? (The tears weren’t the only response; I also noticed that my hands balled up into fists, my heart rate sped up, I began sweating, and my mouth felt almost gummy and sticky. So…it’s probably safe to say that my sympathetic nervous system was primed and working full-speed…great…why can’t other things like…oh, say…my metabolism be working at full speed? I digress.)
Here is the thing though, in my experience, there are two kinds of people in the world: those that cry and can’t help it…and those who hate to be around those that cry and can’t help it. And I can have all of the head-knowledge in the world on the topic but it doesn’t matter because the other person (the non-cryer) doesn’t have that same knowledge so I am consequently still seen as a blubbering, irrational, stay-away-from-that-brand-of-crazy kind of woman. Even though God created this in me out of his infinite wisdom and love for me, I would like to short-circuit it somehow or download information about it into all of the non-cryers out there…but I can’t.
So, I’ve had about 10 days to think about this, process it, pray about, and discuss it with trusted friends and I have come to a few conclusions. First, God instilled this characteristic in me so I need to embrace it just like I do my crazy-thick hair, my freckles, and my crooked dimples…it just…is…and I need to accept that and be okay with that. Next, even though our culture sees this kind of display as a sign of weakness, I don’t need to judge myself by the culture (Culture gets things wrong all the time! Polygamy was once part of the prevalent culture and I wouldn’t judge myself for not following along with that so I need to see the difference between a true flaw and a perceived flaw.) Additionally, I have spent years changing myself from being a guarded person who conceals who I am to a painfully-vulnerable person…so this is consistent with my goal of being authentic and real…it coincides with part of my mission. Finally, I should be thankful to my creator for using such care in designing me that he instilled safe-guards…you don’t safe-guard something that is without value…you only safe-guard what you love and hold dear…so, it’s actually a beautiful thing that God created me in this way.
So how about you? Do you have the same struggle with tears or maybe some other perceived flaw? How can you identify if it is truly a flaw or if it is only a perceived flaw? Would that difference matter to you? If there is something about yourself that you are wanting to change, would the people who love you support the change? If not, you might want to evaluate it further because it could be an unhealthy change. Even if this doesn’t apply to you, there are people around you trying to change themselves (for better or for worse) and you could be a source of truth being spoken in their lives…so will you? Will you speak truth, encouragement, and life into others?
My prayer today is that we will all embrace the creations that we are and accept that perceived flaws are not necessarily actual flaws. I am praying that we will thank our Creator for the care he took in forming us and those we love. I am praying that we will focus on excising barriers that exist between ourselves and our God as well as between ourselves and our loved-ones. (After all, we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.) Much love friends,