I didn’t cry when I did a social media detox this morning. I didn’t cry when I sat in the car with one of my close friends last night, shaking my head at bad memories, yet not rocking back and forth because I didn’t have anything to be comforted about.
Even as I recalled all the unnecessary pain that high school, and select individuals, had put me through, I didn’t shed a tear. Three years ago, I would have bawled. Two years ago, my face would have still been wet for hours. Even half a year ago, I would have called my best friend shrieking in frustration. I no longer care.
The only things I care about now, are how my tears can motivate me to do better.
Today, as I watched a documentary on the 2011 Joplin tornado, I was that touched. I saw the tornado tear into houses, but more importantly, people’s houses, and people’s lives… and my eyes welled up. What I thought I’d feel last night, came out today in a stream of sympathy and connection. My mouth trembled into a grimace, as I put a hand to my mouth in horror.
These are the things that fill me with dread now. I don’t stress over finding the right table to sit at; I stress over finding the right words to describe a sensitive topic. I don’t cringe at someone’s harsh opinion of me; I cringe when I misspell a name, or misattribute a fact. I don’t grieve when a boy or a friend rejects me; I cringe when the world rejects an individual, whether unintentionally or intentionally, but in a way that pushes someone to tell their story. Maybe I can be that someone.
I want to be that someone for many someones now. I want to save my tears, savor them when they do fall, let them out in safe contexts when it’s properly merited, as a sign that everyone should cry.
Everyone cried in high school when their social lives were in ruins. Now everyone should cry at the deterioration of the human condition, and all of our efforts to save it, hopefully not being in vain.