I know what you’re thinking… “Amanda, you made it THIS LONG without crying at work?!” Yes, while I have had my feelings hurt, felt unwanted, and been insulted many times over the past five months, I have kept the waterworks at bay in the workplace until now. And let me tell you, when it rains it pours. It was a doozy. I couldn’t stop crying if I tried. And I did try. I have a complicated relationship with tears. On one hand, I love the catharsis that comes with a good cry. On the other hand, I hate the perceived weakness in women crying when they are passionate about something. On a third hand (but who’s counting), I know my white girl tears elicit a care taking response from the people around me that can draw attention away from real, important problems.
The short version of the story is this- an elderly man with dementia thought I was trying to steal his cane and proceeded to yell and motion at me. I, not understanding Korean and also not knowing he had dementia, was understandably scared and confused. Cue tears. Basically I hid in a corner and cried while six or so women made a human wall between us and calmed him down. They then proceeded to explain to me what happened, and tell me it was not my fault/don’t worry/I didn’t do anything wrong/ etc. I want to be abundantly clear that this is also not HIS fault. It was a misfortunate miscommunialtercation (miscommunication/altercation- Yes I just made that word up). I just happened to be on the receiving end of his frustration, and he just happened to be the trigger for my waterworks.
I don’t think it would have mattered what triggered the tears today; I think they were inevitable. You see, I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m upset. When I’m frustrated. When I see people in love. When I see strong interpersonal relationships. When I’m having an anxiety attack. When I’m embarrassed. When I watch soldiers coming home to their dogs videos. When I watch coming-of-age movies. When I’ve let someone down. When people are especially kind to me. And, I cry when men yell at me. I’m not ashamed that I cry at all of these things. I think it’s important to understand how you personally deal with your emotions and feelings and what you need to do to release the pressure valve in your brain.
Truth be told, I wrote this blog a month ago, and let it simmer in internet purgatory for a while because I didn’t feel like it really had a point. When I read it again today it still resonated, so I’m posting it now. Hopefully it validates your tears? Or helps you empathize with the weepy person in your life? I don’t know. I guess technically I didn’t cry at work today. Today, I went to a coffee shop to write. I did not go to work at all, because my work has been essentially closed as a precautionary measure by government response to the coronavirus outbreak. As mentioned before, I work with an elderly population, who are more susceptible to coronavirus. Please don’t worry about me; I’m perfectly healthy. There haven’t been any confirmed cases in my area, and I have been gifted ample masks and hand sanitizer by the community of caring people around me. Please do keep those affected in your thoughts and prayers.