Marian Hill is a senior in the Writing and Photography programs at SCAD, and she strives to be a photojournalist and novelist. With storytelling at the base of both her writing and photography, she often incorporates both into many of her projects. Her travels around the world have shaped her style and interests in writing as well as her photography. Marian’s goal in everything she creates is to explore the truths of humanity through the worlds of fiction and nonfiction.
Head in my hands, I sit at the edge of my bed. I can feel in my eyes a stinging sensation that I’ve become more familiar with over the past months. The experience of it has stolen all the energy in my body. The tears still burn hot on my face. My throat aches from the screaming, my head is pounding. I’ve survived yet again another crying fit, the third one this week. As a child, crying with every ounce of emotion inside of my body was more acceptable. But passed the age of twenty years, I’m still throwing myself onto my bed in dramatic fashion, crying my heart out.
Crying is, among the many natural human reactions, one that we often have trouble understanding. In comparison to other bodily functions, it’s one of the less repulsive. But still, we contain it to ourselves as if it was just as embarrassing as flatulence. It has such great social stigma that in times of vulnerability that push tears out we are harshly judged for it. People like to think that the stigma has to do with gender in some way, but at the end of the day we are all given hell for it. If a woman cries, she’s over emotional, and if she doesn’t, she’s cold-hearted. If a man cries, he’s a wimp, and if he doesn’t, he’s detached. It’s a form of communication that we deny ourselves of because something in it is inherently wrong, or at least we consider it to be. When we cry, we are visually and audibly admitting to everyone around us that we are overcome by our emotions and cannot handle it. No one wants to willingly admit that, so we cry out of sight.
There is something sacred in watching another human cry, whether or not you know them, whether or not they meant to cry in public or have you see it. In that moment, they felt something that they could not control, and they were pushed to the limit. Crying is an autopilot reaction. Crying is a violent overtake of emotions. So, when you watch someone cry you’ve become witness to them succumbing to their body and its desire to get rid of emotional weight. Fed up with being denied the release it needs, the body takes over and you cry. You weep, you sob, you ball, you wail. You choke up, the first gasp stuck in your throat, and when it’s let out in a loud breath so comes the flow of hot saltwater streaming down your face.
I once heard from a friend that tears were good for the complexion. Something about the salt compound in the tears rejuvenates pores. So, instead of wiping away my tears I rub them into my skin. And since the influx of crying fits that have come with entering my twenties, my skin has become clearer. I breakdown more and my skin breakouts less. Even if having good skin and crying often are not scientifically correlated, the action of washing my face with my own tears has become therapeutic, I feel as though I am giving myself a facial. Hence, I’ve become appreciative of the act of crying for something else besides the catharsis it brings me.
There is a plethora of ways to cry. From the most theatrical of wailers to the single, unnoticeable tear of the shy criers, whatever the reason for crying it’s all just a reaction to being overpowered by an emotion. But nevertheless, the differences of how people cry says something about what they are feeling. I’m the kind of crier who often scream and shout at the top of my lungs (if a pillow is available to me, I yell into that). I sob, uncontrollably too. It’s taken me a minute to find a happy medium between a single tear and screeching banshee so I can take my crying to a public setting if need be.
I absolutely love to cry. Afterwards, I am too tired to feel, and I’ve been rescued from my own emotions. I’ve let everything out, so what else is left? Nothing, and I find comfort in that. Humans need to relearn how to cry, need to fall in love with it like I have. It is more exhausting holding back those strong tear-jerking emotions than it is to just let it all out. Cry when you are happy, cry when you are sad, cry when you stub your toe on the coffee table in the living room because that is truly painful. When we cry, we are a more truthful version of ourselves that has long awaited to be heard, we are more human.