/to weep or not to weep/

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I came very close to crying in class last week. We were looking at obituaries and I was reading out this one that always makes the lump in my throat grow bigger. I pinched my arm, and told myself that what I find emotional may not necessarily be something that everyone else finds emotional. So I bawled like a baby from the inside, kept a stern face and continued reading.

This obituary is a reminder to myself to never take for granted what I have – whatever little it is.

When people you know yap without reservation about merit, and how “they” are taking away what is “yours,” maybe you should remember this girl’s story. Remember, perhaps, the loneliness of those who struggle against odds greater than you can ever know, and how little the abstract mercy of our system can help those who fight hard and grow weary. Practice the small humility that can come from knowing.

When I count the number of times I have felt like crying in classrooms, I am distracted by the number of times I have cried in classrooms. If there is such a thing as prayer then I believe in it wholeheartedly – only when I am close to sobbing like a tap in classes and have to pray/beg to stop.

I once wept uncontrollably when a student yelled at me. I like to believe I wept only because it was a girl. Had it been a boy, I would have made a fuss. I am now quite the expert at castration. This could be a good thing but it just means that I don’t know what to do when kutti little girl patriarchs misbehave.

My friends told me I shouldn’t have cried in front of her. But I don’t know how I could’ve stopped it. My voice did the jingly thing it does when it feels bad for itself.

Like it did a couple of days ago when I was trying to explain to my sister why we shouldn’t feel guilty about using reservation. I was repeating what M has told me so often, ‘Reservation is your right. Don’t let anybody make you feel guilty for using it’ — As I was saying this, my voice began to shake and my eyes welled up.

I was supposed to moderate a panel later that day on upper caste control over documenting Dalit experiences, and wondered how I’d hold back from bawling if my voice got all jingly again. One trick is to self-induce yawning. When I know I’m about to weep, I just open my mouth obscenely so no one will know if the tears are actual tears from being an emo fuck or a yawn.

Crying comes just as naturally to me as peeing and I hate it. It makes arguments weak. So my friends were right when they said that I shouldn’t have cried in front of her.

Later that week, while talking to a student about her writing – she asked me if there’s such a thing as ‘too personal’ when it comes to writing — if I feel vulnerable after putting out my entire life on the blog for the whole world to read.

It was a very reassuring conversation. I often forget that shamelessness is the first step towards writing and I need to be reminded of this again and again even though I believe it on auto-pilot terms. That conversation also made me see how much I have changed and grown over these years. And how much writing itself has come to mean completely different things to me now. Today I cannot separate history, caste, and community from writing. It’s important that I write shamelessly, ceaselessly, sometimes aimlessly because no one else is going to tell my story or my family’s story.

As I was saying this to her -I teared up, again. Maybe I should just stare at walls when I’m PMSing.

What a weepy week it has been.

In other news, rumlolarum will soon reach 300 posts. Cannot wait! I am looking forward to doing some blog revamp.

Featured Image Credits: iStock

Crying

There is nothing in the world that I hate more than crying. And feeling stuffy but crying comes naturally to me. Just as naturally as feeling sleepy which requires no stimulus really. My biggest stimulus to be able to cry is me with a good memory. You don’t have to do a thing. On bad days, I can wake up crying and go on for hours together and nobody, including me can tell you why I am crying. You know how articles on thought catalog claim that crying actually helps reduce stress. Buggers are lying. Crying has never helped me. It has made things go from bad to ‘I want to kill myself – bad’. It makes me a huge drama queen. Not because I can cry and I do but because I cry about every damn thing. I cry when somebody I am fond of yells at me, I cry when I find out that I have hurt them, I cry when they do a nice thing for me, unexpectedly or otherwise, I cry when I am incredibly happy, I cry when I am at peace, I cry when I am in love. My tears are guaranteed to make guest appearances at all kinds of occasions.

I knew I could cry easily even before I discovered the many irritating attentions that it pulls- from self and others. I cannot help but feel that longish, frustrating kind of guilt soon after I am through crying. Guilt comes just as naturally as tears. I feel guilty about having cried in front of people and embarrassing them. I feel guilty for forcefully demanding that kind of attention. I have tried, believe me, to see what is it about that heaviness that just has to come out no matter how hard I bite my lips and try to yawn to keep from bawling. The throat gets all weird and swallowing doesn’t help. My eyes go as wide as they can in the hope that the tears dry up in the eye balls or whatever part it is that they are threatening to come out from. I look away, fiddle with whatever entity is in front of me. Usually, it’s my bag, mobile, a book or a spoon.

Once, I touched an animal. A cat. I am not big on animal touching or petting but I did it that day because I didn’t find a spoon or whatever and I was in a public place. Have no idea how the cat got there. All I remember is that I was going to cry and my throat was heavy so I picked it up, put it on my lap and started petting it. I didn’t realise that this thing was on my lap until it got bored and leaped out of my lap leaving me curious more than anything. Still wasn’t enough to distract me from the waterworks that were beginning to shower.

Anyway, I have found that yawning and pretending to yawn are major rescuers when I want to hold from crying. The yawning helps me beautifully. I have gotten out of many crying sprees from just pretending to yawn and then quickly thinking of something funny.

Why am I writing about crying?

It was a choice between my 16 year old self in love and this so I chose this.