We all have that one friend who’s cried in Costco. Who knows, maybe it’s you. Don’t be embarrassed. Be proud. Yes, you are the crier of the friend group, the emotional mess, the deary who always needs a big hug.
I’m not sure why people shy away from crying in public. Don’t they know the importance of moisturizing their eyes? I definitively rid myself of shame in the second grade with Mrs. Dotoro. Mrs. Dotoro was not the kind of teacher to display an abundance of awards on a well-kept, finely dusted bookshelf lined with first editions signed by Dr. Seuss and short stories based on the Chronicles of Narnia. No, Mrs. Dotoro was the teacher who entered the room with a nearly empty pack of Marlboros in hand and a smear of pink lip gloss on the rim of her coffee mug. Her lashes bore more than the acceptable number of layers of mascara, and the overgrown auburn highlights that framed her face were matted at the nape of her neck.
When the tears welled in my eyes as the pom-poms on my new winter boots fell off, Mrs. Dotoro took that as her cue to step in. I bawled my eyes out in front of the classroom, grasping my pom-poms in one hand and waving Mrs. Dotoro over with the other. This was an urgent matter. We had to do something. She didn’t hesitate to grab the Elmer’s glue, and then the stapler, and then a new pack of Tough & Wide Gorilla Tape. Eventually, she called my mom to apologize. We did everything we could. The pom-poms just couldn’t be saved. Some things are destined to fray.
Since the second grade, I have clung to the comfort of crying: whether it be at Yale Health, Olmo, my summer office desk, the Pauli Murray dining hall, or even the hallway when I can’t make it to my room in time. Crying in public cradles me. The watching eyes, the worried glances, the pretending to not see my red eyes—crying in public is my language of comfort, a mute attempt to reach out for help, and the affirmation that crying simply does not have to be that deep.
While I first recognized my preference for unregulated emotions in the second grade, I have grown to realize that it’s not just me with this inability to keep it together. Some cry in their loved one’s arms, others while watching a movie for class, and still others when sitting in the back row of Marsh Lecture Hall.
My favorite, by far, will always be those who cry in Costco. Who knew the idea of Costco running out of samples could be the thing that pushes someone over the edge? Their eyes begin to water behind their contacts. “Avoid aisle six, it’s a danger zone!” comes over the Costco intercom.
One more thing. Next time you make a Costco run, make sure you buy some tissues in bulk.