I’m not crying, you’re crying 

C.J. Stroud is a big guy. He stands 6 ft. 3 in. and weighs 218 pounds. He’s 21-years-old and started 25 games at quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes. The young man has seen his share of pressure moments, he won the 2021 Rose Bowl and played in the 2022 College Football Playoff semifinals. Throw those big games out the window though. When the Houston Texans selected him as the second pick in the NFL draft last Thursday, Stroud sat back in his chair and broke down into tears.

Likewise, a recently-freed Ukrainian man cried when given an apple to eat after a prisoner exchange that allowed 44 captured Ukrainians to return home. Video of the exchange shows a line of men biting into apples after the successful exchange and one man cradling the apple in his hands with tears in his eyes. He said he had been dreaming of freedom for a year.

Finally, a North Carolina man became overcome with emotion after discovering his $30 scratch-off purchase in a convenience store turned into a $3 million lottery win last week. After scratching the ticket outside in the parking lot, he said he initially had a hard time processing what just happened. He just started crying.

We cry for many reasons, some big, some small, but all meaningful.

Image by Julian Paolo Dayag via Pexels.


A flood of tears

I’ve been thinking a lot about tears and how it can often help us grow and learn and release the tension that builds up inside of us. My blog today on The Heart of the Matter, Moved to Tears, touches on my fascination with powerful words and images that bring us to tears. Medical researchers find that crying releases oxytocin and endorphins that help ease both physical and emotional pain, by first bringing on a numbness and then a sense of calm or well-being.

I get the medical benefits from tears, I’m fascinated more in how some words and images can bring on these emotions when we least expect it. We’re deep into our lives, we’re running to and fro, our emotions are in the here and now, and we happen to catch a glimpse of a great movie. We’re not planning to let ourselves go, but we’re sucked into the story and the emotion behind it and the tears start streaming down our face.

How does this happen?

Holding back the tears

I’m fascinated with how great movies like Beaches, Schindler’s List, E.T., The Farewell, Steel Magnolias and tearjerker books like The Lovely Bones, The Fault in Our Stars, Of Mice and Men, and The Outsiders to name a few, have that power. They catch us when we least expect it.

I mention in my post how W.H. Auden’s powerful poem, Funeral Blues, has that effect on me. I hear it and I feel the raw emotion that Auden is trying to convey. I try to maintain my composure, but it’s a losing battle. I can’t help but think about my own family and friends and how important they are to me.

And, letting go, more often than not, is exactly what I need to live my life to the fullest. Can you relate or is this just me? What works touch you?

Related Story:

Moved to Tears

On The Heart of The Matter.

37 thoughts on “I’m not crying, you’re crying 

Add yours

  1. Ummm….reading a beautiful post on the topic…which you provided…is all it takes for me. I found out last night that one of my dearest cousins passed away yesterday. Thank you for the Auden poem. “Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun”? Yes…I’m feeling that today. xo, Brian. 💗

    Liked by 5 people

  2. I cry at films and commercials and tv shows a lot. I rarely cry when reading, which I find odd. I’m also oddly sentimental about certain things…as my daughter chronicles her last weeks f college, I’ll cry at pictures she sends, or hearing that high school friends just did the graduation walk, or someone got a job…just so happy about these moments I can’t help but tear up

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I had to laugh because right after I read your comment, I was on FB and, of course, pictures of my daughter’s graduation came up in my memories. They’re fun moments now, but I remember us being a bit teary as that chapter came to a close. I guess that’s all part of life. Thanks LA.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I second all of this, although some books will make me cry buckets. I wonder if aging brings out more sentimentality and maybe just a sense of freedom that it’s okay to show emotions?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I rarely cry, but I certainly did while transcribing casualty reports of my mother’s three brothers from WWII, and also writing a couple of scenes in that first book. Two books surprised me with tears: Dan Walsh’s “The Reunion” (Vietnam vets) and, just yesterday, Marcus Brotherton and Tosca Lee’s new “The Long March Home.” Auden’s poem is powerful.

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  4. I’ve always been a huge fan of Auden and Funeral Blues is no exception. When I was younger, I did everything to hide my emotions, but now I shamelessly cry with books, movies, shows, or just from being moved by something I witness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I still hide my emotions sometimes. Easier to write about it here on WordPress. Easier to hide. But, I’ve definitely gotten better. I’ve come to see that I picked up my sensitivity from my mother and it’s just who I am. I’ve come to see it as a positive.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am certainly known to cry at moving movies. People’s stories of struggle. And books that pull at a heartstring. Definitely I am sentimental and proud to be an empath. Though I have fought it in a former younger life. Now I just allow myself to sink deep into the emotion. It’s a beautiful place to be.
    And yes, that is a powerful poem. Thank you for sharing Brian.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent thoughts Brian. 👏🏼 I am an emotional person too, and whether it’s a sad part in a movie, an inspirational, heartwarming story on TV, the loss of someone dear, the joy of something blessed to celebrate, or if I see someone painfully crying, I am a bit of a crier too. I think it comes from connecting to the emotional struggles and physical challenges we see people experience, and our empathetic hearts are touched by their stories…hence the waterworks begin! 😢😭😥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hated being sensitive as a kid. I hated that I couldn’t control it. I still try to hide it sometimes, but I really have come to see it as a superpower now. An empathetic heart is a great thing. We don’t talk about that enough. Sure we praise kindness, but being sensitive goes beyond that. I’m getting there . . . slowly. Thanks for the comment Kym!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh Brian, I think many of us are still trying to hold on to our empathetic hearts, especially when there are so many hearts out here right now that are hardened. Continue to embrace yours, because there is nothing wrong with that. I think growing up when you used to hear people say, “Big boys don’t cry,” oh how wrong they were. It’s when you don’t cry that worries me, and that’s not being a cry-baby either. Thanks for sharing my friend. 🤗💖😊

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Lovely post and topic, Brian. I agree with your assessment that crying is part of letting go and letting go is a key ingredient in our continued growth and evolution as humans.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This poem gave me goosebumps. I don’t remember reading a poem and crying. I’m often moved by poetry and words but not to tears. Movies and songs have the tearing up effect on me, especially family stuff like the series “this is us” and “parenthood” and “modern family”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’m the same. I’m much more vested in the moment into TV. Dramatic writing tends to hit me later. When I’m by myself and the words start to penetrate. I tried not to tear up during “this is us” because I knew that’s what they were going for, that was the whole purpose of that show, but it still usually worked. Ha, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to view it not as being a cry baby — of course, that could be the masculine, macho side of me, trying to safe face, ha, ha — and instead, view it more as a description of who we are. We’re empathetic and care deeply about others. So when something comes on TV or the movies that focuses on that side of our brains, we’re more prone to feel it first than our rude, uncaring, barbaric family members. Ha, ha. Yea, when I describe it that way, my family laughs at me! Bah-humbug to them.

      Liked by 1 person

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