I cry just like my mom

I cry just like my mom

I cry just like my mom. I can hear her in my sniffles and the ragged breaths between. We both hide our faces in our shirts, and turn our heads to the side and try to laugh. I didn’t even know I knew these things about my mom.

Of course, I mean the public kind of crying. The right credit card commercial, wrong moment kind of crying. The kind that you couldn’t quite explain and find crushingly embarrassing for a vague reason, the explication of which you also find embarrassing. That kind. The accidental emission of tears that might befall any of us in the course of human events.

Not the private kind of crying. Or maybe that, too. I think, yes, maybe…we both still try to hide our faces in our shirts, but our shirts become tainted not just with tears, but with snot. We gasp, we wheeze, we plead for air, and somehow it just won’t come. Probably everyone thinks we are being dramatic. Everyone else just doesn’t understand feelings, we probably think.

I really hate watching poignant things with family members, because we are all so guilty of scanning the room looking for approval of our emotions. Is this not touching, our eyes beg, is this not pain? Even when you become aware you’re doing it, that it’s practically a language, it’s not like you can stop. The eyes shift around in their little bowls of clotted cream asking aren’t I normal, isn’t this awful?

It’s a claustrophobic feeling, knowing what another person cries like. Hearing it when you cry. Feeling like the echo, and not the voice. Wondering if anything you feel is real.

Do I cry like my mother because I am a mimic? Does everyone learn their crying from somewhere? Who is not an echo, who is indeed a voice? We all look like grandfather’s mother – but then, who did she look like?

The voice is the one who clears her mind. The voice does not ask these questions.


I’ve cried so much today it feels like I fell and hit my head. Like the cracks are there but not showing yet. Like the next fall will be one to remember.

I think it’s over and then it’s not. It’s very dangerous to look down. I wonder if my mom has this problem, too. I wonder what normal people think about.

Do you every wish you could stop wondering a thing? I bet if I could stop wondering I wouldn’t sweat through all my work shirts.

I never actually cried at work. Well, not any way anyone could see me. People like us, you just can’t tell how tough we’re being all the time. Can’t tell my mom I’ve gotten the ax. Or asked to give myself the ax. Brother wants to know what’s wrong, why I’m seeing a psychiatrist. It’s not as simple as something being wrong, I say. Everybody needs a little help sometimes.


It seems like there should be more crying here. More crying for the crying. A devastating soul wave to rise up and crush all the pain and replace it with a fresh wave of raw red agony no one could ever forget.

The truth is there’s no mourning. You’re never really allowed to heal. You find a jar to put it in, and then you either decide to stop looking at the jar or not.

It doesn’t stop the little shit from banging on the glass, though, or crying out in menacing torment. And that’s how you get ear plugs, tattoos, whiskey and dope.


I’m crying again. I cry out to God in gratitude because I finally saw a psychiatrist. The tears spill over, and I do not jealously hide them from the mother in my mind.

I hear “Northern Lad” and I start crying. He went to the loony bin first, and that’s how I finally did it, made the call. I text him a link to the video and tell him how it used to soothe his tears when he was a baby, a premature tiny little baby. He’s thankful. I’m thankful. We’re crazy.

The truth is there’s no mourning, or there is only mourning. You can’t put your pain behind you, it is part of you. The best thing you can do is cry when no one’s looking and think about who taught you to cry. The best thing you can do is help other people cry.

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