The term “crybaby” is usually an insult. But over the past few months I have been thinking about the joys of crying, about my own desire for a full range of emotions in my life, about how maturity sometimes emphasizes control over sincerity. Our current cultural obsession with “happiness” also confuses us about how we really feel in any given moment. I don’t want to dis “happiness,” but it isn’t the whole story by itself, and it’s too easy to fake in a world where vulnerability is considered a sign of weakness and image too often is all that matters.
I am a child of the sixties and seventies, and I’d therefore like to begin with an anthem from Janis Joplin, who in this song invited her wayward lover to “Cry, Baby.” I also love this because the first comment notes that “They don’t sing like this anymore no… they got no soul… no heart… only managers with plans and contracts.” Janis provides a symbol for my search in more than one way.