I‘ve never met a lady who hasn’t cried at work before. It doesn’t matter how baller we are, how much charisma and strength we exude, or how hard we try to keep our crap together—a sick relative or a picture of a dachshund in a wheelchair (fig. 1) can make the strongest women misty.
(fig. 1, wheelchair dachshund. Keep on keepin’ on, little guy.)
If crying at work is impossible to avoid, the best thing you can do is roll with it. Here’s how:
1. Don’t fight it—or yourself.
Seriously, don’t. Have you ever been swimming in the ocean? You can’t fight against the waves (fig. 2); you jump them and ride them back to shore.
(fig. 2, beating up the ocean. This does not work.)
Don’t beat up on yourself for crying at work; this is not something “strong women” can avoid, or some “sad-sack problem with your emotions” you have because “you are a giant failure” and you should “probably lay down in front of a city bus.” Not that I have ever thought these things; they are just examples.
2. Shut the door, hit the bathroom, find an office.
Sometimes it’s better to just cry alone, and different weeping hidey-holes have different advantages. Sobbing soundlessly in a bathroom stall offers endless toilet paper tissues; a darkened office keeps anyone from seeing your face. Lots of offices have “relaxation rooms.” Take advantage of these.
3. Take deep, cleansing breaths, plus two ibuprofen.
Someone in college once told me to “breathe in Jesus and breathe out peace.” I have never forgotten this, and now when I am sad I think of it because it’s the most hilarious thing anyone has ever said to me.
Ibuprofen soothes swollen eyes and headaches from your endless, racking sobs.
This is great for the walk back, and for the rest of the day. Do you have really bad allergies? A cold? Did your contact lens get something in it? Did all of these things happen at once? Nobody can prove they didn’t (fig. 3).
(fig. 3, weeping child. This baby just has an eyelash in its eye. I swear.)
You can do it. The sandy shore of functional adulthood is just over that next wave. I believe in you.