Can crying be considered a hobby?

I was sobbing over a scene in A Million Little Things when Anya walked in. I tried to discreetly clean up my face, but she caught me.

“No watching sad stuff! I am not happy if you are not happy! Watch something funny — that’s an order!”

I laughed, but I know where she was coming from. There was a time when I was deeply uncomfortable watching things that make me cry; I avoided serious shows and serious books and even serious conversations every chance I got. Aside from the occasional Fried Green Tomatoes or Steel Magnolias rewatch, I never deliberately watched or read anything I knew would require tissues.

Now? Crying at the screen is how I let off steam.

Life these days is…heavy. All of my former outlets are currently lost to me. I don’t have anyone I can unload on without judgement, or the time to find someone, or the time to talk — or the will to, really. And I’ve never been able to just sit at home and feel sad and cry. But lately I need to cry on a regular basis, and I can’t always hop in the car and drive out to the middle of nowhere to bawl. Which is why I watch shows like Million even though they sometimes feel like a contest between writers to see how many dramatic developments you can feasibly cram into one episode. If I saved all my crying for the shower, my water bill would be outrageous. Plus I’m not a fan of long showers, anyway.

I am not a stoic parent. I believe stuffing everything down and never allowing the even, calm exterior to crack, intended to make kids feel safe and protected at all times, sets them up to view adults as all-knowing, all-powerful, unbreakable powerhouses who never ever make mistakes. Then when the kids make a mistake, they feel like a failure. (Or was that just me?) So I have made a point to model a range of emotions — some intentionally, others not so much: Joy. Sorrow. Frustration. Anger. Hopelessness. Determination. They watch me get knocked down, and they watch me get back up. They have seen me fall into deep despair, and they’ve seen me pull myself out of it and push on. It’s messier this way, as they view me as the fallible human that I am rather than a pedestal mom, but I think it’s a better way to parent. I suppose time will tell if I’m right.

But I don’t always want to share the cause of my tears. Sometimes I’m crying for them. Sometimes it’s because of them. Sometimes it’s just for me. Other times, it’s because of things I’m not ready to discuss with them yet: The horrors this world dishes out. The evil people are capable of. The hurts for which there are no easy answers. The way things change and change without getting any better. My fears for their future. So I hold the tears in. And when they won’t be held back anymore, I cry at a screen.

Watching shows that make me cry isn’t pandemic-new for me; I’ve watched This Is Us since the beginning. But that show is hitting waaaay too close to home with Rebecca’s illness, so it is not the catharsis that soapy shows like Million are. I need drama that in no way resembles my life.

As the awful drags on, I’m finding that I spend a good deal of my free time crying. It’s hardly a hobby I’m going to list in my bio, but I find it useful nonetheless. Letting sadness come out as tears beats bottling it up and watching it come out as anger or depression. And crying at streaming shows is a heck of a lot cheaper than therapy.

2 thoughts on “Can crying be considered a hobby?

  1. I am totally with you. I regularly need a good cry. And might I recommend the Oscar-winning CODA? I wept!!! Plus, you’ll like the singing story. (I had to suspend my disbelief in places. C’mon, where are the professional ASL interpreters, for one big one.) But overall really sweet–and so cry-inducing (in a good way)!!!


    1. Ooh — I will have to check that out! I skimmed an article about it for work (one of my beats in my morning job is special education), but I have not watched it yet. Thanks for the suggestion!

      Liked by 1 person

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