I’m not sure if it’s because Mercury is in retrograde or because my period started last Monday with cramps that made me double over; but last week was sent straight from hell. I was just so stressed out and every few minutes I could literally see the work piling up in front of me. I was drowning in work with no end in sight and no actual time to do it all. I felt incredibly overwhelmed and considered walking out of my office and never returning. Then it happened, a rogue tear that I’d been fighting back with every ounce of my being slid down my cheek with lightening speed. I quickly closed my office door. I couldn’t control them. One after another they took turns sliding down mixing with my precious Estée Lauder and splattering on my khaki colored pants. I succumbed to feeling utterly overwhelmed and I silently wept at work for 3 minutes. Then I went to the bathroom to clean myself up. I looked myself in the mirror and sternly said: Self get your shit together. You’ve got 4 hours left and you’re outta this joint. And then, just like that, I was fine. I went out and continued treating patients until my shift ended and I treated myself to an uber home (mainly to avoid people and get home as quickly as possible). I just hope the driver didn’t feel weird as my eyes welled up the 2-3 times they did on the 10 minute drive home.
[one_half padding=”0 15px 0 0″]I can count how many times I’ve cried at work on one hand. I was always told it’s something you should never do especially being a woman. You’ll be seen as weak and emotionally unstable, mostly by men. With women climbing professional ladders and entering professional spaces typically reserved for men, we are taught to be less emotional, less vocal and less feminine to be on a level playing field with our male counterparts. I call bullshit on that. I think women should be women and be the vast complex beings we are with feelings and emotions. You know what they say, behind every great man is a woman telling him what to do. I’ll bet my life that woman has cried at work.[/one_half][one_half_last padding=”0 0 0 15px”]I wanted to know just how many women have done this taboo deed at work and took a quick poll on Instastories. The results shocked me. I am not alone. 90% of women and a few men, who took the poll admitted to crying at work. I believe a quick little cry can sometimes be therapeutic. I usually don’t do it in front of anyone as to not make anyone uncomfortable but I do it when necessary. There was that time I broke up with my ex on a Tuesday and cried my way through work sporadically in the bathroom all day Wednesday. Then there was the time I found out my dog died and I openly wept in front of my boss and all my coworkers. That was not a good day for me. [/one_half_last]
Photography by Rose Lazard; Editing by Monroe Steele
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I think my whole point for writing this is to really try to destigmatize shedding a few tears at work. We are women, we are complex and sometimes the stressors of the world seep out of the little ducts in the corner of our eyes. That doesn’t make us any less capable, or any less… anything. So stop feeling shame (which is what a few commenters reported they felt) after having a good cry at work. Crying is natural and human. One should never feel any shame attached to crying. It’s something we were meant to do. That’s what tear ducts are for! You know what they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it. Exercise those eye muscles. I can almost guarantee after a good cry, you will still be able to get your shit together and conquer whatever task awaits you. For me, that was finally speaking with my supervisor about my increasing workload and my desire to work less and get a raise. These are things I’d shoved into a box in my mind for months not daring to speak on them until I reached this breaking point. Would you believe I’m getting a raise and moving towards working one less day?
I should cry at work more often.