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September 1, 2011 / thatsarahdean

A weep of faith

First published in Third Way magazine, September 2011. Guest article covering for regular columnist.

Recent embarrassing things that have caused me to cry: 1) Finishing the last Harry Potter book.  2) A youtube video of a primary choir singing Walk Like an Egyptian. It’s had 24,000 hits. Half of those are me watching it repeatedly through tear streaked glasses. 3) Wenlock and Mandeville the Olympic mascots jumping up and down waving at people in a shopping centre. 3) The poster for Kung Fu Panda Two.

This list is not a cry for help, it is a ‘shout out’ to all the other criers and weepers out there, who like me are sometimes embarrassed to find themselves having a blub at something entirely ridiculous. I suspect that given the state of the world that there are quite a lot of us out there, all blinking a lot and hoping no-one on the bus notices.

As a nation we are experts in stoicism, taught from an early age the merits of holding it in and not making a fuss. These skills have become essential now that we have 24 hour rolling news and streams of firsthand tweets and blogs from those directly affected by disaster, injustice or violence. I don’t think we have become more callous or less caring, but with such an onslaught of harrowing information to wade through, we need to filter our emotions and bottle things up a bit just to get on with our daily lives.

So whilst the stiff upper lip is alive and well in Britain today, I would like to encourage the use of another essential tool for helping us cope with the state of the world – ‘the quiet cathartic cry at something entirely arbitrary.’ Get involved people! Find a tenuous excuse to have a blub and then let the catharsis begin! You’ll feel loads better.

As the great philosophers Aristotle and my Nan both so profoundly said “It’s better out than in.” And what’s the worst that can happen? You’ll be that mad woman crying tears of joy because a sweaty person inside an Olympic mascot costume waved at you in Bluewater.

I find it’s best if you just go with it and don’t try and rationalise why you crying. Avoid thoughts  like “Whilst I am impressed with how realistically fluffy the artists at Pixar have managed to make this spherical panda look on this poster for a film I am never going to see, I am not entirely sure why I am welling up?”  Shush! Just let it out my friend.

Need inspiration for your tears? I have been collecting together youtube of amateur choirs singing cover versions – If you don’t feel moved by the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir singing “Everybody Hurts” seek medical attention immediately!

Finally it’s also important not to let guilt creep in. Avoid thoughts like “How dare I weep about wizards dying in a kids book, when I haven’t wept for the famine in West Africa?” Because dude, here’s the secret – those tears are the same tears… just delayed. So let them come, guilt free. Let it out. And then be sure to pray for the important stuff, not the wizards.

Sarah Dean has the curated of the cathartic website –


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