If you haven’t cried in public, you’re missing out.
I’m going by the legal definition of public here, so think of it as all the places you’d be arrested for public sex.
Bathrooms, cars, parking lots, classrooms, offices, checkout counters, airports, churches, the DMV… I’ve cried in them all. I angry cry, I sad cry, I happy cry, and I stress cry. I wouldn’t call myself “a crier,” but the majority of my loved ones have seen me cry, and boy-oh-boy have some strangers see me cry.
Theatrics. I’m good at them. Even when it’s not intentional.
I know I’m not the only one to explode in public, and I thought it might be handy to dish out a guide to how to cry in public better… because if we’re going to do it, we might as well commit.
I promise I’m not getting in a habit of writing listicles, but eat up kids.
Tips and Tricks to Crying in Public:
- You’re eyes start welling up. You’re in the middle of Target. Rub them furiously. Say things like, “Oh my God, what is with the AQI in here?” and dismiss yourself to a bathroom.
- You’re in a bathroom stall. Someone walks into the bathroom. You’re immediately thinking this person knows I’m crying OR WORSE, they think I have a shy bladder or something is wrong with my butt. For some strange anxiety reason, this feels like your entire reputation is on the line. Don’t worry. Instead, frantically unroll toilet paper. Mess with things in your pocket or bag. Make it sound like you’re unwrapping a tampon. Drop something. Cough. Do whatever you have to do to feel comfortable while you imagine this stranger is there solely to focusing on your every move…. even though, I promise you, they are absolutely not.
- You’ve started crying. Cry HARDER. Cry as hard as you can. This is the rip-it-off like a bandaid method. Sneak into a corner, stairwell, or some place with a mirror you can watch yourself cry it all out.
- Someone of importance catches you crying? Leave it vague, leave it semi-serious. For example, “family issues.” They don’t have to know it’s because Panera got your order wrong and it was the straw that broke the stress camel’s back. When that person follows up with you later because they’re a kind-hearted not-soulless individual, calmly assure them that your “family issues” are resolved and thank them for their concern.
- You’re crying in a bathroom stall in a place you won’t return to, try laughing at the same time. It’s strangely satisfying. Nobody knows your face. Worried a stranger is going to memorize your shoes from underneath the stall and give you wicked side-eye when you emerge? Jump on the toilet seat. Laugh harder. Hide those shoes and you’re golden.
- You’re not an ugly crier? You’re an elegant crier? You have nothing to worry about and someone will probably ask if they can take your picture. Be flattered.
- A stranger notices you’re crying and reaches out with an “Are you okay?” No. You’re not okay. The world is caving in and everything is darkness. It’s 100% acceptable to lie here and answer with an “I’m fine, really. Thanks though.”
- Got your phone with you? Great. Emergency text your friend with a casual “What’s up?” Get into a conversation about nothing. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT tell them the world is falling apart and you’re sobbing because they’ll probably say something along the lines of, “What’s wrong!? I wish I was there,” or “Don’t do that, I love you!” and you’ll be hit with a confusing wave of love and comfort that will make you sob even more because the world is equally beautiful as it is awful.
- Got your phone with you? Need to be honest, get it all out? Text a friend that you know will handle you super well if you send something like, “The sky is falling. I’ve been crying in the bathroom for 30 minutes, do you think my date will notice?” knowing they’ll reply with this, a simple “they’re stupid anyways,” or a “well, did you eat dessert yet? Because if so, you can probably just leave.” This works best if you make a cry-pact in advance so your friend knows not to overreact.
- Got your phone with you? Don’t have friends? Who needs em’ anyway? Watch this, this, or this. You don’t think animals are the source of all comedy? I can only help you so much. You’ll have to consult elsewhere for soothing content.
- If you find yourself at a movie, concert, or attending a Broadway show and you feel the urge coming on because you’re witnessing pure glory… embrace it. This is 2017, it’s cool to lose your shit. You’ll just come off as having a deep appreciation for art. Take those free brownie points.
- You’re in your car. You’re about to start sobbing while driving and that’s dangerous. Pull over if you can’t help it. Any parking lot will do. Lock your doors. Have a good cry and ignore the outside world. Turn on your windshield wipers, blast some washer fluid and know that your car is crying right there with you.
Lastly, know that not only is it okay to cry in public, it’s good to feel feelings. It’s healthy. It’s okay to lose control of your soggy, salty eyeball drops once in awhile. If someone judges you, sincerely fuck them.
I think everyone has had those moments when you physically need to get out a feeling. It’s different at different times. For me it’s tears, yelling, calm conversations, or writing in a notebook. Depends on the day.
Normal is a construct. Let’s dismantle that bullshit.