This is what happens when I cry in front of strangers:
- I have to interact with strangers when something is very important.
- When something is very important, I’m stressed out.
- When I’m stressed out, I cannot verbally express myself very well and am prone to crying rather easily.
- When I cry in front of strangers, they don’t understand why I am crying and expect me to have an answer for them instantly.
They sometimes think I am unstable. They oftentimes offer to have me see a therapist. I do not need a therapist, especially not a neurotypical one. I just cry a lot. Crying is not pathological. It is an innate human emotion. Allow it. I can’t talk when I cry and am in a shutdown. I just can’t. That doesn’t mean there’s some sort of situation going on. And asking me what is going on, while also telling me to “calm down,” is not going to help any of that.
When strangers interact with me, mostly in healthcare or administrative positions, and see me cry, they immediately become confused, and immediately ask me why.
I am so, so tired of people’s reactions to me crying. So I’ve made a list for you. Here are the many reasons why I cry.
Reasons Why I Cry:
- I cry when I’m frustrated.
- I cry when I feel stuck and there’s no good option.
- I cry when people expect me to answer them and pretend that I’m okay, when I know I currently have very limited verbal abilities and speaking will hurt my brain.
- I cry when someone asks me to describe how I am feeling because I cannot answer them simply or easily, and it makes me face my emotions and overwhelms me.
- I cry when I realize that the neurotypical world wasn’t made for me or anyone else who is like me.
- I cry when I wonder what I’m doing with my life and how I wish I could make a bigger impact in the world.
- I cry when I feel like I’m not doing enough or when I feel worthless – feeling like I am doing nothing to help anyone and that I’m just floating around in the world everyday.
- I cry when I feel attacked by other people for seemingly innocuous things, like forgetting to shut a door, or not knowing where to sit in a public space, or not knowing who to talk to when turning something in.
- I cry when I feel attacked for being autistic.
- I cry when I feel defeated. When I have done my best, and put as much effort into something I possibly could, and the outcome, usually from bad luck, or miscommunication, is not enough.
- I cry when I put so much effort into something and get .00001% of that reward back.
- I cry when I know I could’ve done a task with 90% less effort and I would’ve ended up with the same exact outcome.
- I cry when things are not fair.
- I cry when people ask about previous stressful events, when I get taken back to how I felt a certain day, or
- when a person said something that made me feel small and weak and like nothing. And I cry because I know they have done this same thing to countless others.
- I cry because I know I can’t protect my autistic friends and community from the bullying of the adult world.
- I cry because I know autistic children are getting bullied at this moment – either from their parents, siblings, “friends,” or peers.
- I cry because I know this is what life is for so many autistic people and I feel like I can’t do a damn thing about it.
But I do also cry when I open up and connect with people who love me, my family and husband. When I am overwhelmed with feelings of understanding and genuine caring from others. When I read other people’s experiences that nearly mirror my own. When I feel like I can finally communicate and express caring towards other people without feeling weak or sensitive or immature and know it will be received and understood by others. When I am overwhelmed with pure joy and acceptance.
There are so many reasons to cry. Crying is something society deems unprofessional or unacceptable, but deems laughter, anger, and every emotion inbetween as “acceptable.” Even sneezing is acceptable – no one tells you to just “hold your sneeze in.” But for some reason tears are perpetually assumed to be shameful. Sometimes, people feel emotions, and they show it. And that’s okay.
Crying is okay.
For me, crying is my everyday life.
Crying is not a crisis.
Please, stop asking me why I am crying.
I often can’t tell you.
It’s a long list.