I’ve decided that it’s okay to cry at work.
I’m not saying it’s okay to cry every day and I’m not saying to cry to get yourself out of trouble. I’m just saying that, if you have to cry, you have to cry, and I’m not going to judge you…anymore.
I recently broke up with my boyfriend. As much as I would love to keep the crying for my mornings and evenings alone -strategically during the commercials of “How I Met Your Mother” or after a yoga class when I can tell the other yogis that I am just having a wonderful cathartic release as a result of my yoga practice – I can’t.
Tuesday, I got through three hours without crying when, suddenly, I was sitting in my cube, trying to hold back tears. I was like an over-stuffed suitcase, and my tears were about to explode all over the carousel. Because I wasn’t letting the tears out of my eyes, they were making their escape any way they could, and now I was sweating, which, I feel, is not a good look for me.
I was about to collect myself and make my way to the restroom, when I realized, that if I walk to the bathroom everyone at this company will know I’m crying. To get to the bathroom, I have to leave my desk, walk by the entire sales team of guys in their early 20s and the gossip girls in the marketing department, then turn left and walk by the VP of Sales, the COO, the CIO, and the CEO. Finally, I’d have to stroll pass the Director of HR, who you know stares out into the hall all day waiting for something to do. She will eat this crying thing up. She is like a spider waiting to lure you into her office, saying “How have you been harassed and by whom?” And I’d have to explain that no one is harassing me, I’m just taking a little walk to the ladies room to sob in peace.
Once I made my way to the stall, I’d have to wait in line for an actual open one, and inevitably see some female co-workers who will want to know why I am crying. I’ll have to tell them the reason, and then I’d have to hear all about the reasons why their relationships have ended, and suddenly we’d all be crying in the bathroom together, probably holding hands. The worst part of this is that I’d be obligated to go lunch with these girls. I’m not saying that I’m antisocial at work, but the best way to describe it is that I’m antisocial at work. Going to lunch with a bunch of love scorned co-workers is not happening. No, just no.
At this point, I was left with no other option but to cry at my desk. I figured if the eight people in my area saw some tears, it was better than 150 people. I didn’t try to hide it. Okay, at first I did, at first I pretended to drop something and look for it under my desk but then I realized this attracted too much attention. My co-workers asked me what I was doing and I thought about pretending to bang my head but then I really did bang my head so it was okay to let some tears out. I mentally jotted this option down and figured I could use this excuse once a week.
The second time I cried was on Wednesday. I tried to be a lot more graceful about it. I bowed my head down as if I was in silent prayer, placed a tissue on my lap for my tears to fall upon so as not to ruin my new Banana Republic Mad Men skirt, and then lightly dabbed my eyes so as not to ruin my makeup. I thought this look was pretty classy.
This only attracted limited attention. When asked if I was okay, I said “ugh, something has been in my eye all day”. No additional questions were asked.
The third time I cried on Thursday, I decided to go about my work as per usual in between my tears and this attracted no attention. The only person to ask if I was okay was my client, who I was speaking to on the phone. She said I sounded very stuffy and I told her that I didn’t know if it was my allergies or if it was the beginnings of a cold. She then went on and on how everyone at her office was getting sick. This was overheard by my co-workers, who then started spraying Lysol everywhere in our area.
I decided that this final way was the way to go. I cried multiple times that day but still being the thirty year old professional I am, I worked through it. At the end of the day on Friday, I was actually in a much better mood. When a co-worker asked me if I was planning on going to happy hour, I joked “I wish I could but I already have plans to go home and cry”. He replied, “Good, maybe you can get it out there. It’s getting really awkward”.
Ugh. He needs to lighten up.