Cry or Smile, but Always the Bright Look, from a Bradenseye’s childhood diary featuring BFF Valerie and Rückert

I’m gonna guess my life began with some serious wailing. Most babies enter our world displaying veteran actor crying craftiness. Vocal artists around the globe would applaud the range. We assume wee ones will cry and often. We allow this, even when we don’t like it or begin to stress about wanting it to stop. I’ll wager almost anyone who’s ever boarded an airplane, adding bonus points for those who’ve taken an overnight long haul, only to wind up seated next to or within near enough distance of a crying baby has found their way to prayers to God to “make it shut up” or flinging some serious expletives. My best mantra in those moments is gently aiming to remind myself that we were all babies once, too, and some of our parents took us on planes or needed us with them to whatever destination whereby we encountered a bunch of strangers abhorrently upset with our howling drama. Cursing devilishly at tiny humans being a large human is way worse drama because we have control.

Which brings me full circle to crying in the first place. Everyone cries sometimes. Even if you’re crying on the inside, terrified or promoting an inane belief in being too proud to let yourself lament out loud, crying is a part of life. My aunt and I were sharing about our need to release tears and the persons around us capable of understanding our sorrow. Both of us acknowledged a lot of men, but also some women, were unimpressed with the Niagara Falls waterworks when we turned them on. Now, I’m not speaking about fake blubbering. That’s just rude and ridiculous, even though most have practiced that version more than once getting our bawling in gear. I am talking to the stigma that prevails when the blues take you through more than one tissue box, blasting sad country songs at volume ten, or buying out the Ben & Jerry’s rack at the local grocery.

My ill-fated Romeo just left a crumpled nondescript brown paper bag on my apartment doorstep filled with the confetti-sized shredded remains of anything written I’d ever given to him, along with the significantly-hammer-pounded-way-out-of-shape silver ring engraved with our secret romantic saying. Ever have someone trash parts of you? It might be time for a good cry.

Another pseudo Prince Charming decided to try on a bigger fish more his actual size and I got to swim in the rejection pool. Sound vaguely familiar? Bring on the comfy pajamas, drawn curtains, and a night in with the besties watching tear-jerkers on the tele until you’re all puddled out.

That momma bird walking her babies across the country road as fast as she could, but not fast enough for me to miss all of them due to oncoming traffic as I came over the hill…

Those forty pounds the fitness bootcamp melted off my formerly petite frame found their way back to me with hefty friends in tow…

My dad’s best friend, deliciously Steve Martinesque zany-humored neighbor extraordinaire was diagnosed with what became fast-moving terminal cancer…

The idolatry of a favorite job dashed when you’re booted due to some budget cuts…

Cue my 1970's-upbringing anthem album’s famous tune:

When’s the last time you let ’em roll and had a really good cry? Free-range tears is my expression for the freedom of moving through your sobbing like you’re out to win an Academy Award for authenticity. Weeping is not only worthy it can be very good for you.

I’d welcome crying clubs to speckle the globe as much as twelve-steps. I’ve been ecstatic when a boyfriend doesn’t push back the raindrops from his eyes for sentimental, joyous, frustrated, loss, or similar feeling moments. We come programmed to cry, so I question when I notice a lack of tears.

Those who never cry might not be human. I do think there are aliens among us, but that’s another story chapter unto itself. In the least, we’ve got some masochists. I steer clear of the former two types mainly as I simply don’t relate to complete disconnection from self and empathy. Reality may bring some Rainbow Brite highs, yet zings us all shades of the muted and dark realms too. Crying is cathartic, necessary, and fits as well as milk with cereal. Honestly, those of you who eat your cereal dry exclusively I’d hazard are missing something spectacularly rudimentary to the morning and mourning mechanics.

People who rarely cry are somewhat scary to me. They’re like ticking time bombs. I wonder when they might spontaneously combust from all the internalizing and stuffing their emotions. I just don’t reckon there is anything healthy in failing to release tears if that’s what your body needs to do in order to help you handle the tough moments, the highest love, the funniest comedy, or the scariest zombie apocalypse movie. Take it like a baby and shed those tears for goodness sake!

One of the better rationalizations for the existence of the internet I find is searching for lists and ‘films that will give you a good cry’ or ‘flicks guaranteed to make you cry’ are genius examples. Entertainment is to crying as crying is to healing. Hand in hand, tears in buckets or bathtubs, and the collar of that handsome grown man who can counter your sniveling turned tear storm with a soothing wide-armed hug is the most macho manly man I can think to know. I can picture my dad crying solely for one of the greatest domesticated (barely) cats that ever lived, a pure — and purely humongous — Russian Blue affectionately named Moose (see his drawing in my featured photo). My father yowled his grief more loudly than the mewing that cat did to alarm his firemen saviors in his earliest years with us when repeatedly scrambling to the tippy top of our tallest pine trees only to wind up stuck. Then when my dad strode his buff and well-tanned hide into our lakefront waters to scrounge up the largest quartz boulder I’d never seen a man carry to place as the headstone over this sweet feline’s body buried lovingly in my dad’s tennis duffel bag, I thought it was one of the sexiest sad moments ever.

When I was graduating from high school and senior yearbooks were being prepped, I didn’t know an offer went out to the parents to ask if they wished to include any tribute of writing to their children. Without knowing it, I realized in one fell swoop that my parents understood so much more about me and life and love and tears — especially my tears — than I ever knew! I was surprised and moved to such poignant happiness reading what my mom and dad chose to share to the world in my honor:

Stifling most anything — save vexing items such as murder, hatred, bigotry, and allied bullshit — won’t get you the girl, the guy, the gold, that job, sanity, health, dreams, rainbows, or the unicorns. Go ahead and try crying sometimes. Don’t do it for me, do it for you. Cry because you care, you love, you’re free, or want to be free, miss someone, something, are mad, confused, hurt, perplexed, hexed, or you dropped a note to Ryan Reynolds thinking he’ll so appreciate your knack for creatively concocting sentences and want to hire you only to realize it’s a rather long shot in the dark analogous to the odds you have at making out with your bald statuette Oscar the night of your film industry win since you’re not producing movies right now.

Free-range feeling is healing.

LOVER of life. Especially people, places, philanthropy and photography.