A Friday Thought to Chew On:  Let the Chips (and Tears) Fall

A Friday Thought to Chew On: Let the Chips (and Tears) Fall

This week has been a pretty stressful one. I seem to have a lot of these lately. I’m starting to wonder — am I creating more and more stressful weeks for myself with the deadly combination of poor planning and procrastination or am I just getting less and less able to manage it? Not really sure I even have an answer to that question. May be a combination of this and other factors. What I do know is that the stress is becoming more noticeable to me every day. I wonder how many of you reading this can relate. I can’t imagine I’m alone in this one.

So what of it then? All of us handle stress differently. Some go for a run, others work it out in a gym while some creative lot work it out in bed. (I wish I were one of those folks. I might not mind stress so much!) And then there is a large population (me included) that reach for their favorite sweet or salty bag of something tasty. And there are plenty of other vices, activities and even some bad serial television in there serving as stress alleviators. We all know what works for us. Lately, mine seems to involve lying down on the couch and napping it away. Of course, that could also be because much of the time I’m up late in the wee hours of the morning working away on my laptop when I should be counting sheep, sawing logs or some of those other clichés I could only hope to be exemplifying.

In the past, I used to handle stress by going for a drive. In fact, I did a whole essay about my love of the open road and the comfort of being behind the wheel.  This isn’t my stress alleviator of choice as much these days. Partly because my car has over 152K miles on it. That gas went up 21 cents per gallon in just a few days’ time probably contributes, too. Besides crashing on the couch, my latest trusty way of dealing with stress is… I cry.

Somewhere between the age of 25 and 35, I went from being the roaming wonderer/wanderer to deal with what was troubling me to climbing into bed with a sappy movie playing and letting the rivers flow from these tired old specks of chocolate peering at you.  Yeah, I found that when I got stressed out, my most effective means of coping usually involved my tear ducts. (My contact lenses aren’t all that fond of this change in standard operating procedure.)

You could blame it on hormones. Well, I could theorize that, because let’s face it – if you’re a man and you suggested that, it would probably just piss off most women. But I don’t doubt there are body chemistry changes that between 25 and 35 evolved to make it so. And now at nearly 45 — damn, in mere days — I expect the beaker has shifted levels of this and that yet again.

Thankfully, I’ve never been one to look at crying as weak. Messy and inconvenient at times, sure, but weak? Hell, no. If anything it demonstrates strength, if you ask me. It represents an acknowledgement that one is human and a ferocity for showing it publicly when others could try to capitalize on another’s vulnerability, seeing it as a liability. But tears are a release, a freeing of whatever pain or discomfort is plaguing the mind or heart. By purging all of that worry and anguish over whatever troubles us, we make room for other emotions. Joy, for instance. Relief is another favorite one that sweeps across the body when something we fretted over for no good reason does not come to fruition.

Yeah, in my world, there would be crying in baseball. If we spilled milk and it created a really time-consuming cleaning task, we might be forgiving of a few tears over it and then go about the task at hand to tidy up our mess. Besides, think of all of the incredible songs about crying. Surely that’s worth celebrating the emotional catharsis of it all. I mean, besides the obvious classic, “Cryin” by Roy Orbison,  there’s “Crying Time” by Ray Charles. “No Use Crying” by Ray Charles. Tears…by…um…Ray Charles. Come to think of it, maybe avoiding Ray Charles might be a good idea if you’re not in a place where you can really let the waterworks flow.

But if you are, well…here (hands you a tissue).  We’ve got plenty more. Go on. Let it out if it helps. I’ll be joining you soon enough. Sighs.

At least it’s the weekend. Yea!!! (shakes tissues in each fist like pom-poms.)  So that’s something, right?

Happy weekend, friends.  ~ chris


  1. Great piece Chris. It can be incredibly cathartic to let the tears out, kind of a pressure release valve. I don’t do it often (watching movies doesn’t count for me, because I’ll do that at the drop of a hat, but only a classy single tear affair) but it’s an air clearing measure from time to time.

    Just don’t let the world get to you too much. Burn the candle at the one end that’s designed for it. Take a few extra moments to breathe. We need ya.

    • chriskuhn

      Thank you, Cameron. And I need good friends like you, too. I’ll try to keep an eye on that candle. I promise. *hug* Appreciate your support and thanks again for reading, too. x ~ chris


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