Life in Japan | It’s Okay to Cry… Really.

Hitachinaka, Ibaraki, Japan. I cried today. It’s my way of coping with difficult situations, especially those in which I have limited freedom to speak my thoughts.

Surely, we can say whatever we want to whomever whenever…as long as we are willing to deal with the consequences. I prefer to let my tears speak rather than my mouth because I would rather the judgment of my tears than the recklessness of my words.

For many years, I felt ashamed of my tears. I thought crying made me inherently wrong and weak. I wanted to be stoic because that symbolized emotional strength, the ability to “endure pain and hardship without showing [one’s] feelings or complaining.”

In my experience of living in Japan, being stoic has been elevated to an art form. It seems to be the preferred business stance. It can make showing emotions seem not only embarrassing but potentially job threatening.

Still, I am learning that it is far more important to me to be myself, whatever and however that self is. I cried today at work and will likely cry again in the future. Expressing my emotions through tears is just the way I am. I cry when I happy, sad, angry, and fearful.

And nowadays, when I finish crying, I feel a profound sense of relief and release. I can breathe and move freely once again.

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