Chapter 5. Crying

Justifiable tears

At a certain point of development when suffering disappointment a child may realize it’s possible to refrain from crying. Otherwise, suffering an unexpected hurt can challenge the young or old resulting in unbidden tears.

Crocodile tears

Tears prove you care. Fake that and no one will doubt that you are heartbroken as you consume your prey.


If you thought yourself able to handle any affliction, we wonder what you’ve done with your involuntary responses. Where did you bury that child who used to cry for attention, cry for hunger, disappointment, separation, threat of danger, and cry because of pain? Nerves run from your tear ducts to the part of your brain that processes emotions. Did you manage to pull those out by their roots? The more likely explanation is that you’ve been lucky that your loved ones haven’t died, lucky that your unfounded assumptions have turned out in your favor.

Types of crying

Infants cry when they need attention, and have different cries when they are angry or in pain. There are many ways to describe how adults cry. Weeping, wailing, and whimpering, sobbing, bawling, and blubbering.

Tears of grief

Grief counselors told me not to suppress my tears. For me, it seemed like a strength, a sign that grief couldn’t kill me, no matter how much pain I felt.

Tears of joy

People cry at weddings, and when, in relief, they witness a momentous accomplishment or completion of historic importance after much struggle, and these tears are indistinguishable from tears of pain except by their context.