Keeping up with Kincaid: Am I too emotional?

Managing+Editor%2C+Laken+Kincaid%2C+discusses+their+thoughts+from+the+past+few+weeks

Laken Kincaid

Managing Editor, Laken Kincaid, discusses their thoughts from the past few weeks

Laken Kincaid, Managing Editor

I will be candid, I did not expect to write the article that I did. This was very much an edge of the quill, or rather keyboard, rhetorical voyage that I wish I could explain better. 

While doing research as an attempt to craft an article that justifies how often I cry, I was taken aback when I found that the average person cries only about 3.5 times a month. Although I wanted to make a joke that no one can truly halfway cry, all of my wit has left me as I remain baffled at the low number. 

I was hoping for the revelation that I actually sob much less than the average person but I am sorely mistaken. A column I was originally going to structure as a dismissal of my own imposter syndrome has actually turned into an epiphany. I wanted to be able to distinctively say “no, I am not too emotional! Society perpetuates negative stereotypes that aren’t true to nature! I am flourishing!” Instead, I am left a little awestruck.

As someone who cries, depending on the price of gas and which planets are in retrograde, about once a week, I can succinctly say that I am, in fact, too emotional when compared to the rest of the population. This sometimes stems from minor frustrations that boil over into an angry froth filled with tears of vexation; did I make an easily correctable mistake on an assignment or misspeak in an argument? Little pebbles of inconvenience eventually meld together to make a Sisyphus-like boulder that overcomes me with dread. It is suffocating and the thought that this is “unnatural” or “unhealthy” is disheartening.

But, thank God, I am not alone with my feelings. When Googling these statistics, I found similar searches such as “what is a normal amount to cry per day?” or “is it normal to cry once a week?” I am sure these are mostly from college students, like myself, who face an immense amount of emotional turmoil on a daily basis. In fact, an article I found that polled college students found that, on average, college students assigned female at birth often cry once a week or even once a day! When you are deciding the next steps of your life and it all hinges on (or at least appears to hinge on) a club election or single grade on an essay, it is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed to the point of shedding a tear or two. Everything, every move you make and decision you face, seems to either cultivate or shatter your world. This anxiety is basically baked into the college experience.

To be fair, in the past, I have tried to frame crying as a healthy coping mechanism, a necessary evil if you will. I am sure you have read the research about how crying functions as a hormonal release that instantly lifts your mood and all that jazz. Do I think that all of that is probably a poor attempt to make me feel better about my emotional outbursts? Undoubtedly.

Yet, I feel that the strategy to find total contentment with the comparison between my crying habits and the normal person’s lies, not in trying to dismiss the numbers or downplaying my own emotions, but rather in realizing that it does not matter in the long run. 

Rather than allowing my self esteem to be impacted by how I align with these numbers (probably leading to more tears), the best course of action is to accept my own nature. As long as it does not impact my work, both on campus or out and about, it should not really matter. Crying is a great strategy for emotional regulation, something I definitely need to get through my day. While others listen to music angrily in their dorms, call their parents to vent or go to Swensons to eat their feelings, I cope through crying. 

If I hold in my tears, and therefore my emotions, they will only bubble over and impact my life in spheres other than my emotional self. So, I implore you, stop caring about how you are perceived based on how you express your emotions. What matters is that you have found a healthy coping mechanism that helps you feel the world around you without being a distraction to your professional life. If shedding a tear at night in your dorm room means keeping it together for a presentation in the morning, so be it.