Today, I am grateful for crying.

I know, I can’t believe it either.  I HATE crying.  Still, the unusual seems to be the case today.

There’s a Swedish Faerie Tale called “The Queen’s Pearl Necklace.”  I mentioned it in the first crying post, but today I feel like you should know the entire story:

A young woman met a witch in the forest, as young women and witches are wont to do.  The witch offered a necklace of the purest pearls in exchange for the girl’s tears–all of them.  The girl agreed, seeing no use for tears.  As they dropped, the tears transformed into large, luminescent pearls.  The witch strung them into a necklace and disappeared, cackling with glee (girl shoulda run after her then and there, cackling is never a good sign).

The pearl necklace was so beautiful that it got the girl noticed by the king.  He fell in love (presumably with the girl and not the pearls), they married, and began to live their happily ever after.  Soon, an unexpected side effect of having given up her pearls began to occur to the girl: she could now only laugh, especially when sad.  At first, this charmed her husband.  She was a pleasant, jovial sort to be around.  Soon, however, laughter in the face of sorrow began to cause a rift between them.  The girl, now Queen, wished she could cry, but could only laugh at the misfortunes of others–and in this case, others meant her subjects.

Still, the King loved her.  They had a child!  It was beautiful, happy, the culmination of all their hopes, and sickly.  Soon the child died, despite the efforts of loving parents.  Imagine, now, the reaction of the King and kingdom when the Queen was heard to be laughing constantly.  Rumors started.  The Queen was a witch.  The Queen had killed her child to grieve the king.  The whisper campaign was too much; the Queen was sentenced to death.

Of course, she was still the Queen and so managed to go back to the wood and search for the witch.  Upon finding the witch, she begged for her tears back.  It was painful, but the witch seemed to enjoy nothing more than making trouble.  Whether it was the trouble of having no tears, or the pain of bringing the tears back, she was happy to oblige.  The Queen regained the precious commodity, once considered useless, and ran to her husband, weeping.  In doing so, she proved to the King and the people that she was, indeed, a sympathetic and loving woman.

And so they lived happily ever after.

Creepy, right?  But pertinent.  The release of tears, the expression of anger, sorrow, or sympathy is one of the most cathartic experiences available to human kind.  Imagine how desperate the Queen must have felt, not being able to cry.  I think she must of been on the edge of insanity by the time she went back to the witch.  For years, she had been denied the therapeutic action of letting the damage of the soul be expressed.  Laughter certainly is helpful, too, but even laughter leads–ultimately–to tears.  To be unable to reach that ultimate manifestation of joy OR sorrow must have truly been terrifying.  Like I said, I believe the Queen to have been on the precipice of pure and unspeakable mania by the time she reached back out to the witch in desperation.

Last night, I was nothing short of frustrated.  I felt like people weren’t communicating with me in such a way that we could understand (AT ALL), and so when they finally DID start communicating with me, I had gone in the entirely wrong direction.  Except that, days ago, everyone seemed to think I was going in the right directions.  So, what was I doing wrong all of a sudden?  I chatted with one person, sorted out our communication issues (still deciding what to do with that information), and then put in a call to another person to try and figure out the second situation that was driving me nuts.

When she called me back, I burst into tears.  I was so stressed, had so much on my plate, and it was the end of a long day.  We talked about what needed to be done on all sides, and I left the conversation feeling much better just for having the chance to talk and cry it out.  Not too long after, I went to bed.

I woke up this morning with my eyes all gummy and crusty, as one might expect after crying, but I woke up in a significantly lighter mood than I had been in the night previous.  The therapy of crying my frustrations out enabled me to meet today, and all the stresses of the things I have to do, with a smile.

Tears might not be so bad, after all.

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