E107: They Told Me Not To Cry.
Questions for Reflection
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Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars Podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:06):
Where we share personal experiences so we can learn from each other.
Beth Demme (00:08):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:13):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with the people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:17):
And I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled, "They Told Me Not to Cry."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:23):
Then we'll share a slice of life, and the show will close with Questions for Reflection, where we will invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life.
Beth Demme (00:31):
So Steph, you actually do talk about this in your book, Discovering My Scars, where you had an incident where you did self-harm, non-suicidal self-injury, NSSI. We've talked about that. But actually, when you went to the hospital to receive treatment for the cut, there was a nurse who was like, "Don't cry about this. You did this to yourself." Right? What was that about?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:52):
Yeah. When I was in my dorm room, they wrapped up my arm because it was bleeding, and then they took me to a mental hospital. The nurse there unwrapped my arm to look at it and she looked really disgusted at it, and she just kind of left it open. It was bleeding and it hurt. It really did hurt, and that was the first time I had looked at it, and so the overwhelming emotions that happen when you see that amount of blood, you feel that pain, or that I felt, I started to cry. She just looked at me disgusted and was like, "Why are you crying? You did this to yourself. Don't cry. Stop crying," all of those things. I can't remember exactly if I stopped crying right away or if I just was super offended and cried even more, just being sad being told not to cry.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:47):
But crying, it's an interesting thing because I grew up looking at crying as a weakness. A weakness, something that shows you have something wrong, that it's a bad thing. Crying is a bad thing. When I started therapy when I was 18, 19, I was talking about some really heavy things to my therapist and she was like ... And if I would start to get choked up, I wouldn't allow myself to cry. One day, she said, "Why can't you cry?" And I was like, "I mean, I'm not supposed to cry. I need to compose myself." She's like, "No. Why won't you allow yourself to cry?" I was like, "I need to be strong." And she broke down all of those things. First of all, crying is not a sign of weakness. What I basically learned, crying is a strength. Crying is important, and what she really ... She literally had me practice crying. She was like, "Your assignment is to go home and cry and allow yourself to cry," because-
Beth Demme (02:51):
Ooh, I don't think I would like that assignment.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:52):
No, I despised it completely. I did. But it was really important, because it's a practice that is important to do. What I learned is crying is cleansing, just like rain cleanses the earth. It cleans things. Smells go away. Things grow. It's cleansing and it's nourishing, and that's what crying does for ourselves is it literally gets things out. It cleanses us, and then you can move on and those things don't hold you back. And so that's what I learned through allowing myself to cry. I will say, I don't cry often, and I don't take that as a pride thing, like, "Oh, I don't cry a lot. That's great." I don't look at it that way anymore. I think crying is very important, and it's important to let people cry.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:39):
That's something that's happened recently. I have a family member that is just really ill and really struggling with that, as any human being would. And her nurses are telling her when she starts to cry and get emotional, "Don't cry, don't cry." And we turn around and say, "Cry. This is sad and this is huge in your life, and you need to cry."
Beth Demme (04:01):
And crying is totally natural.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:02):
Beth Demme (04:03):
But we act like it's something that should be stopped. I've actually seen that in my family, too, with the youngest family members. We've been spending a lot of time with my great-niece and she's three. She'll cry and the family's reaction is, "Oh, don't cry," or, "Stop that." I'm like, "Why? Why does she need to stop? Just let this child have her feelings." Because when you bottle them up, they're only going to get bigger. They're only going to get bigger, and they're going to wait for you.
Beth Demme (04:33):
I mean, there are times where I just think, "You know what? I just really need a good cry." And I get it out, and then I feel better and I don't need anybody to be in that with me. I'm not crying for some manipulative purpose or something. It's really just about getting that emotion out so that then I can actually kind of process my feelings.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:55):
Yeah, and I see that with kids where it's like, "Stop crying." It's like, kids have big feelings. We have big feelings, and sometimes that's the only way that you can handle them, and we see that as adults. Sometimes that is the way that we need to handle them, is to cry about them. And I don't see it as any sign of weakness at all. I think it's a strength to be able to cry and allow that. But I don't know that that's seen universally that way. What do you think?
Beth Demme (05:26):
No, I think you're right. I think that it's just like you're saying, like with the caregivers where your relative is now. They see it and they're like, "Oh, this has to be stopped," or just a lack of tolerance for emotion in general. It's unseemly to have that much emotion show around other people.
Beth Demme (05:44):
I do see it as a sign of distress. A couple of weeks ago, I was driving near the church where I serve, and there was a woman literally sitting on the curb on the side of the road weeping. I mean, sobbing, her whole body was shaking, that big, big kind of cry. And so I pulled over and I was like, "Hey, is there anything that I can do to help you?" And she said, "No, there isn't anything that you can do."
Beth Demme (06:15):
I said, "Okay, well, I have a cell phone that you could use or I could take you somewhere. Or I'm the pastor at that church there. I could take you there. I could take you somewhere else, anything that you need." And she said, "No, really, I'm going to be okay. I just need to do this." It was like, okay, I saw her crying, she was in distress. I wasn't trying to stop her from crying, but I didn't want to ignore what seemed to be distress either. Maybe that's part of that idea of, "Oh, don't cry." It's like, "Oh, I want to make this better. I want to be less uncomfortable."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:46):
Yeah. Well, and that's what I'm wondering is, do we tell people not to cry because we're uncomfortable?
Beth Demme (06:51):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:52):
Is that really why we're telling someone not to cry? Is that we are uncomfortable with witnessing the crying? And I would agree. I would agree that it's a sign of distress, that something is wrong. But as you were talking about that, I was thinking, if you saw someone fall from the monkey bars and you heard a crack and you in your head knew they broke their arm and they started to cry, would you tell them to stop crying?
Beth Demme (07:15):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:17):
And what's interesting is when people cry and there's no physical obvious what they're crying about, we tell them to stop crying. But it's the same thing. If they're having some kind of mental struggle, mental distress, that distress is the same as a broken arm, yet you wouldn't tell someone with a broken arm to stop crying. That would make no sense to tell them. It's like, obviously, this hurts, yes. Well, when your heart hurts, you have to cry. Why are we so uncomfortable with it that we can't just let that be?
Beth Demme (07:50):
Well, that's why the nurse telling you not to cry because you did it to yourself is such a weird thing for her to have said. Because obviously, you were in physical pain. That was very apparent. And also, you were in emotional distress. That's what caused this. And so to be like, "Well, you did this to yourself," I mean, what?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:09):
Yeah. Yeah. It did not help the situation at all. Exactly. Yeah, I-
Beth Demme (08:14):
And again, that's a reflection of her discomfort, rather than her thinking about what you as the patient needed.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:21):
Yeah. My memory was it was disgusting looking, and so she was probably very taken aback. Although, she is a nurse, and I would assume you've seen bad things before, and I would assume you maybe had a class on bedside manner, but maybe not. I don't know.
Beth Demme (08:38):
Maybe not. Maybe not.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:39):
I don't know.
Beth Demme (08:39):
Or maybe she forgot everything she learned in the class. It's hard to say. Hard to say.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:42):
Yeah, I don't know, maybe she was upset that she had to work there. She would rather work in a hospital. I don't know. But yeah.
Beth Demme (08:49):
I also have ... I have done this myself and I have been with people when they have done it, where something kind of gets to me and I start to go and then I go, "Oh, I'm sorry I'm crying." Or especially with my husband, I know that I have done that many times. I'm like, "Okay, I know I'm crying and I know that that freaks you out, but you just have to let me. I'm just sorry I'm crying, I'm just ..." trying to get myself under control somehow.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:15):
Why do we have to apologize for crying?
Beth Demme (09:16):
Yeah, why do we do that?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:18):
Why do we have to do that? That is something that I hear a lot from people. It's either the person witnessing it says, "Stop crying," or the person crying says, "I'm sorry for crying." And actually, when people say, "Sorry for crying," to me, I say, "No, go for it. This is important." Crying is important. That's my go-to, is just to reassure them that crying is okay. I mean, I think that especially women, we just sorry way to much.
Beth Demme (09:44):
Right. Right. For sure.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:46):
For all the things. But I don't think there's any reason to ever be sorry for crying. We'll put a asterisk on this, is I think many things can be manipulative, like people can use them to manipulate. And yes, crying, someone could use that to manipulate someone. But that's not what we're talking about.
Beth Demme (10:05):
That's not what ... no.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:05):
We're not talking about crying to manipulate someone. We're not talking about saying something to manipulate. Not at all. Anything could be used to manipulate, and people with ... sociopaths, things like that, that's something that they would do, but that's not what we're talking about. We're talking about crying, because crying is important. There are so many things in life that are important to do. Before I go kayaking, I stretch, because if I don't, then I get all uncomfortable. There's things that we know are important to our life, and crying is one of those things.
Beth Demme (10:40):
Yeah. I think that one of the things behind the apology is that somehow, my emotion, my release of emotion is somehow going to burden whoever I'm crying in front of. So I think we need to get better at not picking up other people's emotions, or making them think that we're trying to pick them up, because your emotions are yours and they're not a burden to me. I think I learned that really well when I was working in the spiritual care department at the hospital. I got a lot of practice at letting people have their feelings and knowing that I didn't need to fix it and I didn't have any responsibility for it. I just needed to be a safe space for that feeling to happen. I think if we were better at that, generally speaking, there would probably be less apologizing for crying.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:37):
Yeah, I think that's a powerful thing is, too, allowing people the space to cry. When my grandmother was here a couple weeks before she passed away, she was emotional. My grandfather had passed away a couple months before and she would cry, and she would cry about it, and she would apologize. I continued to say what I say, like, "No. Cry. Please cry. This is important." And I mean, I sat there wanting to cry myself, but also knowing I want to be strong for her in this moment and I cried later. But I mean, I sat there as she held my hand and told me about my Papa who passed away in her arms. It was a lot, but it was something that she needed to get out, and I allowed that to happen and I'm really glad that I was able to be there and allow that because I could tell she hadn't. She hadn't allowed herself to get to that place and hadn't gotten that out.
Beth Demme (12:36):
Right. And you were choosing to hold back your own tears, not because you thought there was something wrong with your tears, but because you were creating a space for her emotion.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:47):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I did get teary-eyed, because I mean, it was powerful stuff. But knowing that this was for her, and that's something that's really important that I don't know that we just in society, we truly understand the power of sitting with somebody and being quiet and just being that presence. Presence, just having a person there, is so important. I think in my experience, men don't do a great job of that. I think there's something in them that they want to fix the situation.
Beth Demme (13:25):
Fix, yeah. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:27):
I think it's not in their nature to just sit there and be quiet. I think women maybe are a little bit better at that. Not saying all women. I do think it's a skill and a practice. My mom actually was trained as a Stephen Minister at a church.
Beth Demme (13:43):
A church, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:45):
They have them in multiple churches, but basically, a Stephen Minister is somebody that, when you've had some kind of tragic life event or something kind of traumatic happen, like a loss of a spouse or a child or something like that, a Stephen Minister is there to sit with you and just let you cry. They're not there to fix anything. They're just there to-
Beth Demme (14:04):
They're not there to counsel you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:05):
Beth Demme (14:05):
They're not counselors. They're really just there to create that space for you to have the emotions that are coming, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:12):
And there was a lot of training. I mean, hours and hours of training that she went through, and she still uses her Stephen Minister skills a lot, just with friends and family. I think that kind of training would be good for all of us to learn, and how to sit and listen to someone and allow that space, because it's hard. It is a skill. It's something we have to actively do, which seems strange, but you have to actively be willing to sit and listen and be in that emotional space with somebody.
Beth Demme (14:43):
Yeah. You know what I don't like about myself? I don't like that sometimes, when I get mad, I cry. Because I do think that if I cry when I'm angry, I do feel like that's weakness rather than really harnessing my emotion. I'm trying to think of a good example of this, but my husband and I were in a car accident. Somebody ran a red light and ran into us. This was a couple years ago. I have a lot of experience with insurance companies. I have a lot of experience with insurance companies after car accidents because of what I was ... In law school, that was my job at the law firm I worked at, and then after law school, too.
Beth Demme (15:28):
So I have a lot of experience with that, but I could not get the adjuster to understand what I was saying and it made me so angry, and I felt like the adjuster was trying to really give me the run around. I got so angry that I cried when I was on the phone with her. I was like, "Oh, I cannot believe I am crying. This is not what I want to convey. I want to convey strength, not sadness, not weakness, not whatever." I don't know, do you ever cry when you get mad?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:59):
Well, anger is an emotion, and so it makes sense that you have so much anger that you just can't even handle it, and so it comes out as crying. Do I cry when I'm mad? I can't think of specific examples of crying when I'm mad. Usually, when I cry, I see it as unresolved something, something that's unresolved. And that's what I learned ... In therapy I learned that, was when I first ... Well, when I first told my therapist about a lot of different things, but usually the first time saying it out loud, I would cry through it. And the second time I would cry through it. And usually, when I cry through telling a story or something, that means that I haven't fully dealt with it, haven't fully forgiven, haven't fully processed, which there's nothing wrong with that. That is a very important first step, is to cry through something.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (16:54):
But how I know that I've fully dealt with something is when I don't cry through it, and that's something that kind of ... Writing my book was a very therapeutic thing because I had to write it and read it and write it and read it, and it was a lot. And so I could probably read my whole book without crying because I've dealt with it so many times. I mean, I will get choked up telling stories and things like that because it is emotional. There's no getting around that. But if I can keep myself composed, that's how I know that I've fully dealt with something. Again, it's not to say that because you cry over something that you're weak because you haven't dealt with something. But I think it is something for us to me mindful of, is if we are getting emotional about something, that maybe we haven't fully dealt with it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:41):
Like in your case, maybe you were crying at the insurance adjuster because you hadn't fully dealt with the emotions of being rear-ended and going through the trauma of all of that and having to deal with all that. Who wants to deal with all the accident stuff? That's a lot. You may have had some pain from it. Different pains scare me, so there might have been fear in that. So there may have been other things that were compiling that brought you to tears over that. It wasn't just that you were angry that they couldn't understand you. It may have been more things on top of that. I think it's pretty standard that people typically will ... if they hold emotions in, they will then explode over something very tiny at the person at the McDonald's. They'll yell at them because they're angry about many other things than the one thing that happened.
Beth Demme (18:33):
Yeah. I think you're right, too, though that crying can be a signal that there's something there that can be worked on. There's an emotion there that needs to be thought through or dealt with or addressed or not just shoved back down to wait until it pops up again, but to just go ahead and deal with it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (18:53):
Do you think there's times or places that it's appropriate to cry at versus not?
Beth Demme (18:59):
Oh, I don't know. I started to say yes and then I was like, "Well." I can think of times, like at weddings. I always cry at weddings. Right? They're just so-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:10):
Oh yeah. That seems very appropriate.
Beth Demme (19:11):
They're so beautiful and it's so sweet that these people are making this commitment. So that seems appropriate, but I don't know that I can think of an inappropriate-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:22):
I think church is almost expected that you cry at. I think if-
Beth Demme (19:26):
Man, I love it when people cry when I preach. That's such a weird thing to say, probably, but it just shows that they're listening and that somehow ... I mean, in my take on faith, my faith's version, I would say it's like the Holy Spirit is moving and that it's working in them, and so that's so powerful to see. When I was a lawyer and I would depose people, I loved to make people cry for all the wrong reasons, because I was like, "Oh, I'm so tough. I made them cry." I'm different now. I'm different now. I see it differently. But an inappropriate time to cry or place to cry ... There's this little part of me that's going to kind of contradict everything that we've said today, which is I don't think really think people should walk through the grocery store just bawling. Because-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:18):
Let's break this down. She started by saying "should." Number two?
Beth Demme (20:24):
Because maybe it would be better for everyone, including the person having the emotion, to kind of take a break, have the emotion, and then return to grocery shopping.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:39):
You know what's really cool, is that people have all this time to just plan their emotions and be like, "Okay, this is when I'm going to be emotional." I'm envisioning-
Beth Demme (20:49):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:49):
I'm envisioning a mom with three kids in the cart, one's screaming, one's pulling the other's hair, she can't find the formula, maybe the formula's not there that she needs, and she just bursts out crying there because all of that has just ... And everyone's looking at her. That's what I'm envisioning when you're talking about this, and I think that's completely appropriate.
Beth Demme (21:11):
That would be appropriate. That would be okay. Although, also, she should get Instacart. But yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:18):
Oh, wow. Another-
Beth Demme (21:20):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:20):
Another huge place of privilege, too. The first place of privilege was, "Just plan your emotions, okay? Because you have time with those three kids to plan your times to be emotional. There's the bathroom, so go in there." Number two, Instacart, because it's very reasonable for everyone to have Instacart. Obviously, she has the time to sit there and pick all the things on Instacart and have it come to her house, and the money to do it.
Beth Demme (21:44):
Well, you know.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:45):
I gotcha. I gotcha. We're coming from different places.
Beth Demme (21:50):
When I was in that phase of life, all the time that my friends spent clipping their coupons, they could have spent having their emotions. Just saying.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:59):
Wow. It's interesting, because I have no context of screaming kids, and yet I can feel for this lady that's crying. I see this lady, I feel for her. I'm going to walk past her and not judge her. Because-
Beth Demme (22:14):
Right. I wouldn't walk past her. I would offer to help, and I-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:16):
Well, there's nothing I could do to help that situation. I would see this and there was nothing I could really ... If there was something that was obvious that I could do to help the situation ... I think if the situation was obvious of why she's emotional, but if I thought there was something I could do, I probably would say something. But I've been in the store where there's a crying kid and it's loud and it's super annoying. But I also know that sometimes kids cry. You can't go on their schedule 24/7, and sometimes it's their nap time or sometimes they didn't nap, and they're just going to cry. And they're not bad parents. And so I try to always assume positive intent with these parents and be like, "They are trying their best. I wish that kid would stop crying, but there's nothing I can do." And me saying something is not going to help the situation.
Beth Demme (22:59):
Yeah, no, it doesn't. It doesn't help. So is there any example you can think of of where crying is inappropriate?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:07):
I think there's a lot of places society would say crying is not appropriate. But I personally try to look at crying in a different way than the way that society looks at it. I personally can't think of an example of where I'd be like, "You need to stop crying. This is inappropriate right now." There's times when it's annoying, especially when a kid's crying on a plane or something.
Beth Demme (23:32):
Well, when you worked at Apple, you were a supervisor, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:35):
Beth Demme (23:36):
So what if you had an employee that came to work every day and just cried all the way through their shift. What would you do?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:43):
I would do what I do with my niblings. And kids will cry over a lot of things, and so if they're crying, if they just got upset about something that just ... I don't know what the situation would be, but we will tell them, "It's okay to cry. You can have your big feelings, but go to the other room."
Beth Demme (24:07):
Oh really? So don't keep walking the aisle in Publix with your crying self?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:11):
Beth Demme (24:11):
Go to another room?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:14):
There's some behavioral issues with some of the kids, and they will tend to use crying as a manipulation tactic at times, and they'll tend to use it as a way to get attention. I think that's important as a child. We're talking more adult. But as-
Beth Demme (24:33):
So an employee at Apple who comes to work and just cries and cries and cries all through their shift, what would you do?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:39):
I would have them go to another room and compose themselves and spend some time-
Beth Demme (24:42):
Yeah. Because it's not appropriate.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:44):
Well, you can't do your job when you are crying constantly, yeah. I mean, I would recognize that something's going on. I would talk to them as whatever would be appropriate as a supervisor in that situation, but I would give them a time to go work on those emotions, compose themselves, and then let me know when they're ready to come back on the floor. That's what I would do. I wouldn't be like, "Stop crying. Oh my gosh, what are you doing?" I can't think if we had that issue.
Beth Demme (25:19):
Yeah, no, I was just-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:21):
I feel like we probably did have one-offs where a customer would maybe be really mean. We had a lot of mean customers, but yeah. I mean, we would go in the back and we would be crying.
Beth Demme (25:31):
That's retail, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:31):
Yeah, we would be crying, but we didn't even have to explain that. It was like, "Yeah, I saw that. Go cry. Oh my gosh. Go take your 15. You're good." And that's what we would do a lot of the time.
Beth Demme (25:42):
"Go take your 15. Go cry off the clock, please."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:44):
No, that's what we would do a lot of times, if we saw someone had a really hard interaction or something. We would see it and we'd be like, "Go take your break. You're good. I'll cover this," or whatever. That was something that we would just typically do. Not necessarily that they were crying about it, but something that was just heavy and they need to maybe probably emotionally take some time with. I mean, I cried at work and that was really tough, because I had to figure out, "How do I cry when no one sees me crying?" I would run to the bathroom and I would take my 15 and they wouldn't even know it. But that was before I really understood a lot of darkness that I had in my past that was coming out in different ways, and before I understood the importance of crying and was just mad at myself that I was crying.
Beth Demme (26:33):
But maybe we could say it's inappropriate to cry ... I don't think we want to say it's inappropriate to cry at work, but if you're working retail and you're crying in a way that prevents you from doing your job, that would be inappropriate?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:52):
I don't think it would be appropriate to cry during your whole shift at work, yeah. I mean, I think that would be a pretty extreme thing. I think it would be important for your supervisor to recognize that and to give you space to be separated. Or even if you're having that bad of a day, I probably would just tell them to go home. Not in a mean way, but just-
Beth Demme (27:18):
"Take the day."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:18):
"Take the day. We'll get you covered," that kind of thing. And we would have that with ... You have bad days. Things come up or you get a text about something. Yeah, I think that would be appropriate. Are there people that you know that just cry at the drop of a hat in your life? Or are you that person?
Beth Demme (27:41):
I'm not that person right now, but I think there probably have been seasons where I would cry at the drop of a hat, or I'd see something on TV or hear a song or something and it would bring tears to my eyes. And I can remember a season where my husband and his sister teased my mother-in-law about her being an easy cry. But I don't think that's always been true and I don't think it's true now. I think it was just whatever was situationally happening at the time.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:18):
I remember some people I worked with at the church would be really quick to cry over things. Just anything, like happy, sad, all the things. And I don't know, it was just something about certain people, just that was their thing that they would cry, and it wasn't manipulative. It was just like that's how they dealt with any kind of emotion, was they would cry. Which I don't think is a bad thing. I think some people maybe need to cry more than others. I can't say whether that crying specifically is a sign of something you haven't dealt with. I think there may be different levels of crying. I'm not somebody that cries ... I mean, I'll get teary eyed at certain movies and things, but I wouldn't say that I ... I don't just bust out crying for lots of different things. It has to be ... you know.
Beth Demme (29:15):
Right. I mean, I cried at the finale at the latest season of The Great British Bake Off, so I probably don't have any room to talk.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:25):
Why did you cry?
Beth Demme (29:26):
It was pretty emotional.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:27):
What was emotional about it?
Beth Demme (29:28):
Well, spoiler alert, I'm going to say who won, so if this is important to you, you might want to skip ahead 30 seconds. Giuseppe won. They had a whole thing about him telling his parents. His dad had been a baker, and so it was like his hobby was what his dad had done professionally. And his dad was elderly and not in good health, and so he was crying as he was talking about his father and it made me cry because it was so precious. And I don't know, maybe part of what got me with that particular example, too, was that it was a man showing so much emotion, because I do think that it's less common to see men crying or getting emotional about their families or their fathers or how great their fathers were, that kind of thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:21):
Yeah, it's interesting because I just saw this old show from the 90s last night. They were watching a sad movie or something and one of the big guys was crying and the other guy said to him, "Wow, I've never seen your feminine side."
Beth Demme (30:37):
So the crying was the feminine side?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:38):
Beth Demme (30:39):
Oh my word.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:39):
And I was so offended by this 90s thing. I was like, "This is why I can't watch 90s stuff anymore." But I was like, "Oh my gosh. I want to rewrite this whole thing and then do it all again with the correct ..." Because I think that is something that men have been taught their whole lives, is crying is a feminine ... a girl thing. Crying is a human thing, human thing. Crying is something that all humans need to do. But I do think that it's more socially acceptable for a woman to cry than it is a man. I want to see that change because men need to cry just as much as women. We all have emotions and things that we need to work out, so how is that different from gender to gender?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:30):
So I do think we need to be very ... I know if a man was crying in front of me, I know that I want to be very intentional about how I handle it. Well, I mean, the most men that cry in front of me is usually my niblings, but making it very clear that it's totally natural, nothing wrong with it, not putting any kind of stereotypical terms on that, and allowing it to happen. Crying is important, allowing crying to happen. And crying is not always a sign of something that we need to fix.
Beth Demme (32:06):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:07):
And I think that's hard to understand and hard to sit there and just be and not fix it.
Beth Demme (32:15):
I wonder if that's part of why men are basically taught not to cry, because they are sort of the fix-it, and culturally, that's how they're conditioned to be. And so it's like, "Well, you should fix this for yourself." You lack self-sufficiency if you cry.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:32):
Yeah. I don't know why it has become that way, but I do want to see that change and I think the change happens with us. If we continue to let society influence what we say and do in those situations, we're going to continue to perpetuate that. But if we make the change and allow men to cry as much as we allow women to cry ... Allow both. Allow all crying.
Beth Demme (32:57):
Let's allow crying.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:57):
Beth Demme (32:58):
Let's allow human emotion.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:00):
Yes. So when's the last time you cried?
Beth Demme (33:03):
The last time I cried was probably Thanksgiving. It was during the Thanksgiving time but it was actually not on Thanksgiving Day. We had just had a house full of people for a long time, and I was at my limit.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:20):
Beth Demme (33:20):
I was exhausted and wanted my space back, wanted my personal space back. We were on day eight ...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:28):
Beth Demme (33:28):
... of house guests, and I just-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:30):
In your house?
Beth Demme (33:31):
Overnight house guests, and I just was like-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:33):
How many people?
Beth Demme (33:34):
Two to three to five at the most. I just needed my space back, and that's what I told them. I was like, "I'm done." And I didn't apologize for crying. I apologized for ... Did I apologize? I don't even think I apologized. I was going to say, if I apologized, it was for not communicating my emotions in a better way, but I don't think I even did that. I think I just cried and said, "This is why."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:03):
Yeah. I think that's perfect. Yeah, that's perfect.
Beth Demme (34:06):
Yes. "Can everyone please go home now?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:07):
Yeah. "Please leave. I'm emotionally exhausted. Please leave." Have you ever cried when you were preaching?
Beth Demme (34:15):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:16):
How did you feel about that?
Beth Demme (34:17):
I felt terrible about it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:19):
Beth Demme (34:19):
I was very unhappy with myself. In ... I don't even remember the years now because it was pre-pandemic, so it was a million billion years ago. But it was the year that the United Methodist Church met in its international meeting and general conference, and I really thought that we were going to do away with what is sort of called the traditional plan, which is there's a part in our Book of Discipline that says the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. I thought we were going to get rid of it and we didn't. The next Sunday when I talked to my congregation about it in my sermon, I was crying. I cried about it, and I apologized to them. I was like, "I'm really sorry." And afterwards, a woman came up to me and she was like, "You don't have to apologize for crying when you're preaching." And I was like, "Well, actually, that moment is not supposed to be about me, and that's why I apologized."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:21):
But you're only human.
Beth Demme (35:22):
But I'm only human, and so yeah. That was a tough day.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:25):
You know who wept?
Beth Demme (35:26):
Jesus wept. Jesus wept.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:28):
I think that's what we should have called this episode, Jesus Wept So You Can Too. If you need anything higher to look at, Jesus wept. I think you, little human, can weep, too. It's okay. And not cry, weep. I think weep is even more ...
Beth Demme (35:47):
Oh yeah, he wept.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:47):
... than crying.
Beth Demme (35:48):
Yeah, I think so, too.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:48):
Weeping is ugly cry. Which is cool. Which is okay. Have you ever done a sermon about crying?
Beth Demme (35:57):
No, I don't think I have.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:59):
That'd be an interesting one. I bet there's crying in the Bible.
Beth Demme (36:03):
Yeah, that would be interesting, actually, to go through and see when crying is expressed in the Bible. Yeah, I might work on that.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:12):
As we've been talking, I was thinking about there's this kind of cliche thing, like if a kid is messing with another kid and bullies him or something, and then the bully's like, "What? You going to go home and cry about it?"
Beth Demme (36:29):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:30):
Oh yeah. But what I want to say is, yes, 100%, it's appropriate to go home and cry about it, and that's okay. So if that bully asks you, say, "Yes, I am going to go home and cry about it, because I need to emotionally work this out."
Beth Demme (36:44):
You would cry, too, if it happened to you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:47):
If it happened to you.
Beth Demme (36:52):
We have a ton of fun making this podcast, and we love knowing that you have fun listening. Some of you have asked how you can support us in this work. Well, actually, there is something you can do. We're not on buymeacoffee.com. You can go there and become a monthly supporter, or just buy us a one-time cup of coffee ... or tea for Steph.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:11):
Yep. To show our thanks for your support, we put PDFs of our questions for reflection, as well as pictures, outtakes, polls, and more. Your support helps cover production costs like professional transcripts we have made for every episode. And by the way, those are always available on our website with a link in each of the descriptions of the episodes.
Beth Demme (37:28):
One of the great things about Buy Me a Coffee is that you actually get an email when we post new content. You can go straight there and you don't have to deal with ads or being bombarded with other content. You see exactly the content you're looking for without a bunch of distractions.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:42):
We post once or twice for each episode, and we're excited to get your feedback as members of our Buy Me a Coffee page. There's a support link in the description where you can find out more and to sign up.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:57):
We also want to remind you that we have links in the description to both of our websites, and that's where you can keep up with us, join our newsletters, and also, there'll be links to our social media where you can keep up with what we're doing. Lately, I've been doing something not related to the podcast, but I've been kayaking, and I love kayaking. So if you want to see some of my kayaking adventures, there'll be a link to my YouTube channel where I've been making some videos. I also make videos about my awesome Greyhounds, because they are awesome and I love sharing them. So Greyhound content and kayaking content, two completely separate things, but both are on my YouTube channel. But no Greyhounds in kayaks, because there's too many-
Beth Demme (38:35):
Oh yeah. That doesn't sound like a combination.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:37):
Too many legs. Can't make that happen, I'm sorry.
Beth Demme (38:40):
And this is the time of year when I like to let people know that I have a Christmas Bible trivia that is pretty fun. You actually can pull it up and use it as a little quiz on your phone. I have it also set up if you wanted to do it in a Zoom for some reason, or if you just want to print it out and quiz people. It's just eight questions, pretty short, but you might be surprised what the Bible actually says about Christmas.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:02):
How do we find it?
Beth Demme (39:02):
You can find it at my website at bethdemme.com. I'll put a link in the show notes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:06):
Awesome. Sweet. All right, do you have any weird news for me?
Beth Demme (39:09):
I probably should have saved the jump the shark thing for my slice of life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:15):
Don't should on you. It's okay.
Beth Demme (39:16):
Yeah. The only other thing that comes to mind is that there's been a little bit of an uproar in France because their big dictionary has added a gender-neutral pronoun, and apparently French is a very highly-gendered language. But we were talking about men crying and women crying and how there could be perceptions about that that are different, so I could put a link to that in the show notes as well.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:36):
What's the word? How do you say it?
Beth Demme (39:38):
Well, I'm not fluent in French, actually, so ... But it's sort of a combination of their two pronouns, so him and her, she and he. And so it looks like it's pronounced like yeel or yell.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:53):
We should get a French person speaker in here. That'd be cool.
Beth Demme (39:56):
Right. To tell me what a great job I did.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:58):
Yeah. I mean, obviously. Obviously. I also wanted to give some weird ... It's not weird, but it's just an observation. I watch a lot of Disney YouTube videos. Don't know if I've mentioned that before. But I do want to give props, because Disney has been using a Black Santa and I'm loving it.
Beth Demme (40:18):
Oh good, yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:20):
We'll put a link to our Santa episode from last year or the year before. I have some issues with the Santa concept but-
Beth Demme (40:26):
No one will be surprised you have issues. No one. No one who's listening will be surprised.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:31):
But I can get behind having a Black Santa. I'm all about that. I love that and I approve. Universal has a white Santa. Just saying.
Beth Demme (40:40):
When I went shopping after Thanksgiving, I only went to one store because I was exhausted. But I went to Hobby Lobby, which is not a store that I go to often, but I was very happy to see not only Black angels depicted as part of Christmas, but also Black Santa Claus. Yeah, I thought that was great. I like to see all kinds of skin tones.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:58):
Yes. Actually, I can get rid of the white Santa. We could just have all different shades of Santa except the cloud white Santa. I'm cool with that.
Beth Demme (41:11):
Ho ho ho.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:15):
What did you call me?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:21):
At the end of each episode, we end with Questions for Reflection. These are questions based on today's show that Beth will read and leave a little pause between, or you can find a PDF on our Buy Me a Coffee page.
Beth Demme (41:30):
Number one, what's the last thing you cried about? Number two, what do you do when someone starts to cry in front of you? Number three, what are your personal beliefs on crying? Does it change if it's you or someone else who's crying? And number four, do you have different views on crying based on the gender of the person who is crying?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:54):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars Podcast. Thank you for joining us.
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Mental Health Advocate. Author. Podcast Host. DIYer. Greyhound Mom.
I'm a mom who laughs a lot, mainly at myself. #UMC Pastor, recent Seminary grad, public speaker, blogger, and sometimes lawyer. Learning to #LiveLoved.