Tag Archive | advice

The Do’s and Don’ts of Crying in Public

Sometimes I cry, and sometimes I’m in public when the urge strikes.  I’ve learned a lot from crying out in the big wide world, and because I’m a giver, I made a primer.

crying-at-work-001_0

These are my tips for the fine art of losing your shit in front of strangers.  Pass them along.

1. Do walk a few blocks away from your office. The only thing worse than avoiding strangers who might try to console you on the sidewalk is running into your co-workers who will be full of questions. It will be awkward if you have to lie and say, “Gram’s in hospice” or “I’m pregnant” because you don’t want them to know that the boss who just offered them the corner office by the good copier just offered you a free subscription to Monster.com.

2. Do bring your phone. You don’t have to call anyone. You don’t even need a charged battery. You really just need a phone case. When the urge to keen strikes, hold the phone case up to your ear and wail like it’s the day the music died. Strangers who see you weeping into a cell phone (case) will give you wide berth on the sidewalk. This prop is especially useful for people who like to scream when they cry. It’s much better to scream into your phone (case), “But what’s it all for? I gave them the best years of my life!” than to risk having shop owners trying to eject you from the premises.

3. Do get your brows waxed. This is good for when you’re on the verge of a big cry, but can’t get it out. Head over to a local nail salon. As a non-English-speaking Vietnamese woman named Tammi plucks your brows, the pain will trigger a flood of tears. Tammi will feel terrible, but explain, “It’s not your fault. It’s just that I gave them the best years of my life, and also? You’re tweezing the skin off my forehead.” Later if you have to explain why you are sobbing on the corner of LaSalle and Lake Street, you can point to your eyebrows. “Just got plucked. Hurts like a mother fucker.”

4. Do lean. The best public crying posture is to face a brick building, raise your arms above your head as if you are being frisked by an officer of the law, and let your salty tears drench the dirty city sidewalk. This stance allows you to avoid eye contact and also stretch your deltoids.

5. Do bring Kleenex. Humanity is generally a caring lot. People are going to offer you crumb-dusted tissues pulled from the bottom of their NPR tote bags. Unless you want to blow your nose into a tissue of unknown provenance, you should have your own. If you see someone reaching into her in her bag, or God forbid, into his trouser pocket to hand you a hanky, then wave your travel-size package of tissues and assure them, “I’m good. Thanks.”

6. Don’t compete with panhandlers. If you are public crying in a large urban city, be respectful of the people who are working and living on the streets. Don’t encroach on a homeless person’s turf or the turf of those who are advocating for the poor. This gets tricky during the holidays, a prime season for taking emotions to the streets, because you can’t ever cry in front of Target because SALVATION ARMY.

7. Don’t cry in an Ann Taylor Loft dressing room. You don’t want a twenty-something shop girl stopping by every three seconds to check on you, asking if you want to open an Ann Taylor Loft credit card in order to save extra 10% today. A better retail option for losing your shit is H&M because the music is so loud no one would hear you even if you were bludgeoned to death with a spiked bat.

8. Don’t duck into the foyer of a capital assessment management office building. The security guards tend to be skittish about full-grown women convulsing in spasms of grief. They tend to want to keep the business of mentally falling into shambles far away from the business of making billions of dollars for capital asset managers.

9. Don’t wander over by your therapist’s building, hoping you’ll catch him coming or going. If you “happen” to bump into him, he may charge you for his time, or, if he’s the nervous sort, he may file charges against you. Better to wander anonymously. Perhaps stroll by the local movie house so if you spot someone (say, Tom from accounting who was recently promoted to VP, Business Development), you can tell him you just saw a double feature, Terms of Endearment and Steele Magnolias.

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How To Get Through An Airport With A Three-Year Old

I don’t usually give unsolicited advice, unless I think your life is in shambles, in which case I’ll probably still wait for you to ask for my sage advice I am in Alanon, after all. This is a “no codependence” zone.

But.

There are some exceptions. I learned a few things walking through an airport with my little lady, and it would be selfish and wrong not to share my knowledge.

1. Get her a kiddie suitcase so she can pull her own crap through O’Hare. Bonus points awarded if you get a garishly-colored suitcase that belongs on the set of Scooby Doo. (Note: Don’t trust her to pack it herself, because she will put a bunch of stupid stuff in there like a Rousseau treatise, a wool scarf, and a tea set. Try to explain what she should pack in a clear and easy-to-understand manner.)

2. Obey the airport signs regarding where you can and cannot take that cart you paid 35.00 in quarters for. Hint: you can’t take them on the shuttle train or the escalator.

3. She will have to pee when you are the farthest point away from a restroom. Even if you begged her to try 7 minutes earlier, when you were standing right next to the Family Restroom. Be ready at any moment to sprint to the nearest potty. Don’t forget, there will be a long line.

4. She will touch everything everywhere. She will knock over a display of Gretchen Rubin’s new Happiness Book. She will put her hands on the trash can. She may luck the elevator door. You gotta be ready for anything.

5. Some airports have those cool hand sanitizer dispensers that emit the sanitizing liquid in a misty burst. Your three-year old may want to try this, but also? She will look up as the mist is spraying down and she will be temporarily blinded. You will be temporarily deafened from the sound of her wails. Supervise this exercise closely to minimize pain.

6. Most importantly, you must know that she is 100% incapable of watching where she’s going. You will tell her every three steps to “watch it” or ” keep her eyes focused on where you’re going.” She won’t. She can’t. She also can’t steer her Woodstock-era suitcase in anything approximating a straight line. That skill comes way later in life.

So keep these in mind, don’t forget the snacks, and if all else fails, pretend you don’t know her.

Dear Younger Self, Stop Saying The Guys Who Dumped You Were Gay

Sometimes I buck the trends, and sometimes I drag my mom to the mall to buy Jellies and chalk-striped jeans because everyone in 5th grade has them. Today, I am hopping on an epistle bandwagon.  I am referring to authors writing letters to their younger selves.  Great examples of that appear here and here.

Ever since I saw this idea, I have been thinking of what I would tell myself.  I suck at taking advice, so I don’t want to waste my breath.  I wouldn’t bother telling younger me to embrace big concepts, like Carpe Diem or Love Your Body As It Is.  I am pretty sure she would give me a ka-pow to the kisser if I took that route.

So, I took another one:

Letter to my younger self (Hey, Mrs. Price, thanks for all those B- grades on penmanship.)

Letter to my younger self (Hey, Mrs. Price, thanks for all those B- grades on penmanship.)

Dear Christie,

Here’s some things I wish you might consider sooner rather than later.

  • I can’t believe you haven’t figured this out, but you should NOT shop for jeans when you feel fat.  Go to the shoe department and ONLY the shoe department.
  • Can you please start wearing nicer bras so you don’t end up almost 40 years old with a “lingerie” drawer full of Champion sports bras from Target? Please do some leg work; you are going to get busier later in life.  Don’t make Old Christie do everything.
  • While you are sitting around moping about being single, go ahead and start good habits around shaving your legs.  I know you went to an all-girls high school, but you’re out in the real world now and that stubbly stuff isn’t a sign of anything subversive; it’s just laziness.
  • Alternatively, you can decide to go native and stop shaving.  That’s fine with me, but this is an instance where “shit or get off the pot” applies.
  • Honey, please stop telling people that the guys who dumped you were gay.  All 7 of them.  It’s homophobic, likely untrue, and makes you look sort of mal-adjusted and sexually hostile.
  • Don’t get those two kittens because you are lonely.  They’ll be hard to get rid of and you hate pets.  And also: litter boxes.
  • Consider being proud of yourself for buying a condo on your own instead of fretting about being an “old maid who no one wants.”
  • Don’t buy your first iPod at Costco. Go to the Apple Store and have the full experience.  Plus, when it breaks down, it will be harder to convince those Apple genius people to care for your sick iPod that you purchased from Costco.  (SPOILER ALERT: You will spend 87 hours on the phone with someone in India trying to fix your Costco iPod if you don’t follow this advice.)
  • Go to your grandmothers funeral even though it’s hours before the bar exam.   Missing this will leave your mourning open for years, like a parenthesis with only one “(“.  Please.   Just go.
  • Don’t get bangs. Ever.  Ask someone who loves you to accompany you to the hair salon when you are postpartum.  Tell that someone that you are NOT allowed to get bangs.  Take that person to lunch after the hair salon because she did you a huge favor.
Bangs, a No-No

Bangs, a No-No

  • Don’t be so scared of the big cases at work.  You may not be a lawyer forever, so go all-in while you can.  Ask Tina Tchen if you can work on one of her cases.  Keep asking.
  • Have more fun.* (* By “fun”, I most certainly mean sex.  You are a good girl and denying yourself pleasure won’t make you better; it just means you have sexual anorexia.   Use safety precautions, but definitely have more sex.)

Sincerely,

Your Older Self