Tears are unique to humans. Other animals may wail or howl or whimper, but human beings are the only animal that sheds tears. We start early. As soon as we are born, we can cry, although this is in an instinctual way to communicate and call for help.
While non-emotional tears keep the eyes lubricated and wash out irritants like dust on a windy day or the acidic gas released into the air when you slice an onion, emotional tears can start to fall for a variety of reasons. Women cry more than men - about 5 times as often. I believe that, and so would Sam!
Think of the joy you felt when you held your infant for the first time. When you finally hug a loved one after a long separation . When you unexpectedly walk into a surprise party full of friends and family. I remember getting tears in my eyes when I finally met some dear fellow bloggers this year. Joyful tears may make your mascara run, but you're just too happy to care. Goodbyes can also involve tears, but can be much harder.
Other welcome tears can occur with prolonged laughter. Just last night I got to teasing Sam and he got to swatting my bottom. It sort of escalated and we were both having quite a bit of fun. I was laughing so hard, I couldn't even spit out my next witty remark. Sam had me sitting on his lap, and I was positively guffawing. Soon there were tears in my eyes while I tried to catch my breath. He just loves when my laughing goes out of control.
I believe pride is another reason that the tears come. It is a rare occasion that I don't have a few well up when I sing the Star-Spangled Banner in a crowd. When Son #2 graduated from veterinary school, I was definitely one of the weepy moms in the auditorium. The proud realization that a student or patient is succeeding due to my efforts can bring a tear as well.
Now we'll make our way into the times when you cry for more complex or unpleasant emotions. A mild but important one is empathy. It develops slowly in a child. They move from a more self-centered stage of emotional growth to becoming more abstract thinkers and understanding a depth of feeling in other people or even characters in a book or movie. I remember the first movie in which I cried. It was Old Yeller when that sweet dog dies at the end. Recall being sort of frightened by those tears because I didn't fully understand why.
Certainly many of us can remember a time when we were so frustrated or angry that the tears fell. More often as a youngster, but even as an adult there have been situations where my temper wants to rule. Even with Sam there have been isolated instances when I was so mad that I was crying and yelling at the same time. Hasn't happened but once since ttwd became part of our lives, and, as you can imagine, that did not turn out well for me.
Fear or shock may be so monumental, you can't find the words to deal with it, but tears can start almost immediately. Every September 11th and many other days through the year bring me back to those tears and the paralysis I felt as I watched the towers fall and tried to comprehend how many people were inside. What it all meant to our country.
Have understood regret all too well in these last few months. Tears are never going to roll back time and change things. Sometimes you regret something you did or something you didn't do. Other times we tearfully regret something that befalls us. Of course, regret can lead to sorrow. We regret that our loved ones pass away or even that one of them makes decisions that separate us forever here in this life. Memories are triggered by so many factors and often tears spring into our eyes in a moment. A song, a scent, a place, a photo, a letter, even a dream.
Finally, I think we should examine tears and spanking. It is a topic about which I have eagerly pored over in blogs, articles, and books. Some subs can and others can't. I have only read womens' thoughts on the subject, but those who say they can't cry often wish they could. I did count myself among those for a long time. For very long when Sam and I first started ttwd, there was no huge gush of tears with a spanking. If the pain caused a tear in my eye, it was really no different than stubbing my toe.
I longed for that feeling of release of which other women spoke. How the combination of the spanking and the tears cleansed whatever distance that had been created by words or actions or even pulling away. We associate water with cleansing, whether we are literally washing the grime off our hands or figuratively like a baptism washes away one's sins. Tears can cleanse, too.
Once read that for many women, after you finally cry for the first time during a spanking, it happens more easily after that. That has been true for me, and for that I am thankful. I believe that especially when I am dealing with stress, the tears are just as important as the spanking. The release feels complete, and I do have a sense of rebirth - ready to face life renewed and full of grace.
I remember that without water
there would be no life on this earth.
Tears nurture us
just like rain nurtures our planet.
Tears give us our humanity.