In my ongoing quest to find the silver-lining of COVID, I’m choosing to appreciate that quarantine has given us the time and space for the elusive, good cry.
Admittingly, pre-COVID, I’ve been a huge proponent of letting my feelings and tears fly, if not with reckless abandon, I’d say with measured surrender. And my life has been better for it.
But there’s always been a little bit of hesitancy to own up to my cry sessions. I’m a tough woman that sometimes enjoys her steely persona. I’m surrounded by other badass friends, family, and colleagues who I’ve never quite known could appreciate my misty-eyed displays of emotion.
Now, I don’t have to wonder. I’ve been on countless calls, Zoom conferences, and group texts where friends of all ages, personalities, and professions have admitted, “I cried yesterday,” and I squeal, “Me, too!” as if we’ve discovered we both share a mutual disgust of the royal family on “The Crown.”
After almost a year of quarantine and a lifetime of cries, I feel especially qualified to give you the top 7 types of quarantine cry sessions that we’ve all been through or will go through soon. So grab your tissues, and know you’re not alone.
The “I followed the recipe exactly!” Cry
Food. It’s been our great, universal solace. We’ve clutched our comfort foods like the life-saving devices they are. And all the time at home has made little chefs of a lot of us. I mean, what other time in our lives could we make a 5-hour braise without a second thought?
But with so little to look forward to, it’s very important we get our food right. So even though we thought our first attempt at a cornish game hen should turn out perfectly, we are DEVASTATED when the meal we’ve been looking forward to all day, that we’ve been slaving over (it’s still hard work even if we literally have nothing else to do, ok?), turns out wrong. The only thing to do is to eat peanut butter directly from the jar and go to bed immediately. While crying, of course.
The “They got my order wrong!” Cry
Or maybe you’re still holding out hope that food can still redeem the day/your life. So you order carry-out. This brings double the fuzzy feelings because it also means you’re supporting local businesses, which we all love posting about social media.
But, wait. What’s this? You open your bag of carry-out full of delicious smells and broken dreams, and you see it. They forgot it. Maybe it’s the mac-n-cheese. Maybe it’s one of the toppings on your pizza. For me, it was when Chipotle forgot to include my side of chips. No matter what it is, or how small the mix-up, you’re left UNHINGED. At this point, you’re hangry and feel like the world is nothing but empty promises. You eat in silence, tears rolling down your cheeks.
The “Your package has been delayed!” Cry
Speaking of empty promises, is there anything more disappointing than the unfulfilled guarantee of 2-day shipping or whatever you paid extra for because it’s quarantine, and you deserve this?!?!
This is a unique cry because it’s actually multiple small cries over the course of a few days. The angriest cry is when you get the first email: Your package has been delayed. Suddenly, you’re an angry mom in a Lifetime movie whose teenage daughter didn’t come home last night. You’re tracking every move. Googling every possible route and post office from China to your house trying to figure who WHO WOULD DARE!
You, then, go through several phases of denial and acceptance as a few days go by with multiple emails, sometimes they even say your package is somehow further away than the day before. Your cries go from angry to passive. You have no control. Your package arrives two weeks late.
The “I forgot my mask!” Cry
All of these cry sessions and disappointments mean you need to get out of your house. Besides, you’ve run out of food, so a grocery trip is essential. Or maybe you have a doctor’s appointment or you’re dropping off baked goods to neighbors.
Wherever you’re going, you’re out there. And you’re feeling amazing. Elated. Slightly human again. That’s what makes this cry session especially SNEAKY AND RUDE. You’re actually in a good place in the moments leading up to it. You’re not just out in the world again, you feel productive, which can be a fleeting feeling in the midst of a pandemic. Then, you see a person approaching you from a distance, you reach into your pocket or into the dashboard or under your hat to put on your mask…and you feel nothing but air.
No elastics strings, no awkward folds, just emptiness. That’s when you throw your hands in the hair and sink your head so low your nose almost touches the ground, and get back into the car to go home. And cry the whole way back.
The “I forget how to work” Cry
This professional and emotional breakdown usually starts with the smallest hiccup. You forget about or arrive late to a meeting. Your boss asks you if you’ve completed a task that has been on your to-do list for a week…that you haven’t quite gotten around to. You said something under the safety of your “Mute” button only to realize, the 5-second vent session about another unnecessary meeting was in no way silenced.
These minor faux pas usually happen in tandem with another small, but equally humiliating personal task. For me, it’s usually realizing the dog hasn’t been out all day or breakfast is burning. And, just like that, you’re in the THROWS OF AN ENTIRE IDENTITY CRISIS. Were you ever good at your job? Is this really what you want to do with your life? Am I just living my parents’ dreams?!?! This is a silent cry you try and stifle until you can download the carry-out menu to your favorite restaurant and pray you can avoid yet another “They got my order wrong” cry.
The “The Show is Over” Cry
Movies and TV shows have always been a universally loved pastime. We turn to these visual stories for reprieve, reflection, connection, and we’ve needed all those things now more than ever.
This is why when your favorite show is either canceled or you’ve reached its bittersweet conclusion, it’s really painful. Like, FULL-ON UGLY CRY status. After all, we’re not just mourning the end of a show, we’re saying goodbye to characters who have become like friends and places that seem like they could be home. This cry session is especially potent because it’s hard to shake, even after a couple of days. And you can expect to add on an additional day of sobbing if your favorite show, say The Office is leaving Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime permanently.
The “Everything hurts, and I’m Dying” Cry
A.k.a The Shower Cry. The mother of all cries. The cry that all other cries are leading to. This is the cry that your whole body, mind, and soul seem to need.
This sacred cry has been vital to humanity since, I don’t know, probably when the first caveman expressed his longing for opposable thumbs underneath a waterfall. Is it the way the water feels? Like a light, tender, non-judgmental touch? The soothing sound? The hug of the warm steam surrounding us (if you try to have a Shower Cry in a cold shower you’re doing it entirely wrong)? It’s probably all those things.
All I know is that The Shower Cry has been a vital part of our quarantine lives. It’s been a safe place to cry about all the important life events we’ve had to reschedule. All of the family and friends we miss seeing. The sheer exhaustion, confusion, and fear of it all.
So, while all of the cry sessions on this list are 1000% acceptable, needed, and, I think, healthy, this CRY SHOULD BE CELEBRATED. Because it’s good for the soul, and you’re almost always guaranteed a good night’s sleep.
Which reminds me, stay tuned for the next list of the top things keeping us awake during the quarantine. And, remember, we’re all crying together.