I am a masterful crier. When things go wrong, I cry. When things go right, I cry. Sometimes I cry for no reason at all. I’ve had to find ways to function in society being the tearful person that I am.
A brief history: I discovered the art of discreet crying in seventh grade. I’d used to count how many times I cried each school year, but I quit once I entered middle school. Classes, teachers, and homework became stressful. People were ruthlessly mean. I constantly “fell in love” with boys and therefore felt heartbroken, in some form or fashion, a significant percentage of the time. I didn’t want to start sobbing in front of my classmates (the ones who usually made me want to cry in the first place). So I began devising plans. Mentally drafting techniques. Searching for ways to keep my sanity intact, at least partially. In several more years of being a frequent crier, I’ve really gotten the hang of that specific art and science. Here’s some of what I’ve learned…
- Yawn. This is one of the most vitally important skills to know. It will explain any tears in the eyes.
- Keep your eyes open fairly wide. Obviously, people are going to notice if your eyes are the size of dinner plates, so be reasonable. Raise your eyebrows some. Squinting eyes will force the tears out.
- Blink sparingly. Blinking too much will cause the tears to be squeezed out, but not blinking at all will provide no barrier between your tears and the rest of the world. This is really something that can’t be explained–it’s all a matter of practice and timing. Also, blink lightly. Any tears that come out will be smaller and more manageable than if you’d blinked hard.
- Don’t talk. Talking is one of the worst things to do if you’re trying to avoid crying. Your voice will crack a little, and you’ll be sobbing more than ever. Communicate with body language and facial expressions–most people won’t even notice if you’re good at it.
- Inhale very deeply. Take in as much air as you can. It’s soothing, and helps take care of any nose-dribble without the obvious sniffling.
- Breathe slowly. Breathe too quickly, and people will hear your runny nose.
- Wipe your eyes. If tears have already started to flow, the only thing you can do is wipe your eyes. Do it quickly, giving people less of a chance to notice.
- Fake cough into your elbow. It clears your voice some, so you won’t have as many tearful voice cracks. And it seems gross, but your elbow can wipe off any residual nose-dribble. (You gotta do what you gotta do, right?)
- Make noises. It’s kinda hard to explain this one. Groan or make sounds of exasperation. It’s another way to clear your voice. People might ask what’s wrong, but you’ll usually have a window of time in which to confidently say “nothing” or make an excuse before returning to your state of self-preservation.
- When you must speak, keep your eyebrows raised and your voice tight. Usually your voice will go up a pitch, but it will keep you from voice-cracking.
- Proceed with confidence. Look the part. After you’ve used some of the previous techniques, you’ll be able to smile and appear okay between breaths.
You’ll eventually figure out some of your own crying techniques. Hopefully these will serve as a springboard. Remember, crying is not inherently bad. It’s healthy and necessary, but it’s not always appropriate in every setting. Please release and express your feelings as often as possible–it’s not a good idea to live like this in the long-term.
Happy (or sad) crying!