When did “crying out loud” become a bad thing?

I’ve been crying a lot lately.

I’m not talking about just a tear or two over a sappy movie or holiday commercial.

No, I’m talking about real crying. Picture old school, wailing sob sessions – primitive, primordial sh*t (maybe not quite to the level of the Midsommer crying scene – but you get the picture).

Don’t feel sorry for me, though. This type of crying really helps me feel better!

That’s right – sometimes it’s good to cry out loud.

I had to research a bit to find out when and why the expression “for crying out loud” became a well-known idiom in the English language. Turns out it’s about 100 years old, has nothing to do with crying at all and is actually a replacement for the inappropriate epithet “for Christ’s sake.”

But back to actually crying out loud. It’s not socially acceptable, let’s be honest. Women are permitted to weep softly as long as it doesn’t give us ugly cry face or cause a scene. Poor men aren’t allowed to cry at all unless it’s over sports.

I once went a long time without crying. I’m talking years. That wasn’t a necessarily good thing – I felt cut off from my true depth of emotions.

Thankfully, motherhood changed all that. I cried so much, I was like a leaky faucet during pregnancy and the first year or two of being a mom. Tears came easily again – and it felt good.

Lately, we’ve been going through some tough times as a family and I’ve needed to cry. There’s nothing quite like a good cry to help you process and move through emotion. But I was still just doing the gentle, socially accepted kind of crying. You know – my eyes would tear up, I might sigh a lot but I wasn’t truly letting it all out.

Then my therapist asked me recently if I was allowing myself to truly cry and weep out loud. She said that when we really let it all out – scream, wail, howl and bawl – it is fully therapeutic and helps us move through grief and sadness. So I tried it.

Holy cow, she was right. What a difference! I feel like a new woman after one of these sessions. I sometimes do it in the car while driving – sorry to any other drivers who may get a horrifying glimpse of me ugly bawling as I cruise on by. No shame here. I have plenty of reasons to cry right now.

And honestly, I’ve been crying like this almost daily, and it’s really helping me. I start by leaving the radio off when I drive. Being in a quiet, mindful space and frame of mind helps me to actually feel my feelings instead of stuffing them down, numbing them with mindless noise or ignoring them.

If I need a little jumpstart to get my tears going, I simply put on the Moana soundtrack and play the track near the end where Moana restores the heart of Te’Fiti. That, combined with whatever I happen to be feeling inside, does it for me every time.

“This is not who you are. You know who you are. Who you truly are.”

If you’ve been feeling bottled up, full of sadness or anger, and unable to work through emotions, do yourself a favor and try real, full-on crying. Find your voice – and give voice to all that emotion inside. It works wonders.

Crying is an ages-old method of self-soothing and self-care that we’ve lost touch with in our modern society. It’s time to take back crying and the benefits it bestows.

When was the last time you had a good, therapeutic cry? I’m all ears if you want to talk about it in the comments below or over on Facebook or Instagram.

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About the author

Proud and loving midlife mama. Lucky and devoted wife. Dog, cat, snake and guinea pig mom. Travel nut. Writer since birth. PR and social media pro by day - tattoo doula by night.

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