On crying in public

Very few of my friends and family members can handle seeing me in a tearful state. They try to calm me, comfort me, and otherwise remove the cause of my fit of sadness.

But sometimes a girl needs to have a solid uninterrupted moment to cry. And in an apartment as small as mine, that’s pretty much impossible. So this week I took to the streets, and more specifically a street corner. With an iced latte in hand and nowhere in particular to go, I just stopped and cried.

And the beauty of city streets is that nobody seemed to pause and take notice. In New York, I’m just another overly emotional crazy in a sea of neurotics, lunatics, and all together worry warts. In a twist of logic, I have more privacy on the corner of Bowery and Great Jones than I do in my 11×5.5 bedroom (notably smaller than solitary confinement cells  in the United States). I can assert my emotional state without  third party interference. And I can have a moment that feels all my own, and nobody else’s.

Apparently I am not the first New Yorker to have the realization that you have more privacy in Times Square than you do in your matchbox apartment. Melissa Febos, a contributor to the New York Times Opinionator blog, articulated as such:

“I’ve done it on the subway and at the Museum of Modern Art, in Prospect Park, Tompkins Square Park and leaning against the locked gate of Gramercy Park.If you live in New York, you’re bound to end up crying in public eventually…”

And it’s an unwritten rule among urban dwellers that unless someone’s physical well-being is in danger, you leave a momentarily emotionally unstable individual alone. Consequently, as I stood on this particularly bougie corner, watching men and women with more money than G-d enter and exit the Bowery Hotel, I thought, ‘I can do this. Right here. Right now. And no one will bother me or try to offer me some false sense of comfort.’

So I let all the things terrifying me in that moment– my imminent move, my sense of professional insecurity, and my upcoming quarter life crisis– consume me. And after I had let every last bit of feeling out of me, I slurped up the watery contents of my caffeine and smiled. Like a small child, I had my temper tantrum, and now I was done. I could assume the semblance of a 20something who has her act together. Heck, I could probably prance into the Bowery Hotel lobby and convince some mysterious stranger to buy me a drink.


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