Unleashing The Ugly Cry

As a general rule, I try not to cry in public all that often.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve shed a few crocodile tears in my day to get what I want (what self-respecting girl hasn’t?), but I try not to make this a regular thing. Not only does it lose its effect with frequent use, I’m also just a really, really ugly crier.

Seriously. You know those girls you see crying on TV, looking all cute and heartbreaking?

crying1 crying2 crying3 crying4

Yeah, I’m nothing like that.

I’m more of the full on, can’t breathe, running snot variety.




I also cry so rarely that when it does happen, it’s like the Hoover Dam of emotion bursting within me, releasing a whole year’s worth of pent-up frustration and anxiety.


All this is to say that when I have an emotional breakdown, I prefer to do it in the comfort of my own home, in my oldest sweatpants, with a full container of Haagen Dazs.


Unfortunately, however, you can’t always choose where you’re going to unleash the Ugly Cry – something I learned last week when I found myself openly sobbing into the arms of a middle-aged flight attendant in an airport bathroom.

How did I end up in such a predicament you might ask? Well, let’s start from the beginning.

Last weekend, my mom flew in from Nova Scotia to visit me. (And boy, were her arms were tired!) It was her first time visiting me in Toronto so I was really excited for her to clean my apartment see where I live and show her around the city.

We had a great few days flaneuring around and pretending we were fancier than we were:







But all good things must come to an end, and soon it came time for us to say goodbye- something I’ve never been very good at. As a form of coping, I typically spend the last day of any trip either picking fights or acting like a complete asshole in an effort to push everyone away and make things easier when I leave. (I know. It’s really mature)

Anyway, I could feel myself starting to get agitated a few hours before she was scheduled to depart. I said approximately 5 words to her the entire ferry ride to the Toronto Island airport, spending our last minutes together instagramming pictures of the city skyline.


I continued this immature little performance until we parted at the security gate. I tried not to make eye contact as I hugged her goodbye, but I saw the tears welling up in her eyes. Well, guys, that was all it took. I felt a lump the size of a baseball form in my throat, and hot tears burned the backs of my eyes.

I managed to wait until she was out of sight before bursting into uncontrollable sobs right there at the gate. Through clouded vision, I somehow found my way to the bathroom, where I locked myself in a stall and tried to regain my composure. “Think happy thoughts” I told myself. “Froyo. MAC Makeup. Pinot Grigio. Your PVR”. Eventually I calmed down enough to leave the stall, but then broke down a second time when I caught sight of myself in the bathroom mirror. Red blotches covered my face and spread down my neck like ivy, and on the front of my shirt were two, distinct wet patches that suggested I had recently been lactating. The liquid eyeliner and mascara I had meticulously applied earlier that day now formed two, thick black rings around my eyes, making me resemble a very sad, overgrown raccoon.


I was blowing my nose loudly when I heard a voice ask, “are you ok?” I turned to see a middle aged Porter flight attendant with a look of concern on her face.

“Ye-aaaah” I said, waveringly. “I’m ok”

“Did you just say goodbye to someone?” she asked, sympathetically.

“Yeah,” I sniffed, “Mmmmmm-y mom”

“Aw,” she said, “Where was she off to?”

“Halifax,” I said

“That’s far away,” she said

“I know,” I sobbed.

“Do you want a hug?” she asked.

I nodded slowly, and moved towards her waiting arms. I didn’t even care how many people were around, all I knew was that I was jonesing for a hug, and this b*tch was holding.


“Aww it’s ok,” she said, as she gently patted me on the back. “You guys can talk on the phone?”

“But ittttsss not the sameeee” I stuttered

“What about skype?” she said “There’s always skype!”

“She’s not technologically inclined!!” I wailed.

“Well, it’ll still be ok” she repeated, clearly running out of things to say at this point.

Realizing I was probably overstaying my hug welcome, I straightened out my shirt and reluctantly pulled myself away. “Well I should go now,” I said, “Thanks”.

“No problem” she said, as I made my way towards the door, “Stay strong!”

I put my oversize sunglasses on and boarded the ferry, where I continued to bawl pretty much the entire time. At first I was embarrassed to be seen in public this way, but then I thought of what a great Craigslist Missed Connection it would be if some hot guy happened to see me.

m4w- 27

You: Crying on the ferry alone.

Me: Wishing I could make you smile.

Anyway, this didn’t result in a missed connection (I checked), so instead, I’ve chosen to make this post my own missed connection of sorts. I never caught the name of the flight attendant who so benevolently offered up her words (and arms) of encouragement to me that day, but to her, I’d like to say thank you. Thank you for being awesome, and for restoring my faith in humanity. And if any of you should ever find yourselves at the mercy of the ugly cry in a public bathroom, I pray it is into the arms of such a kindly stranger.

QOTD: When was the last time you cried?


52 thoughts on “Unleashing The Ugly Cry

Add yours

  1. I haven’t cried for years, it’s most unbecoming for a shaven-headed fellow such as myself.

    Breezy, if I was there I would have comforted you the entire way home and tickled your feet as well.


  2. Even though I *know* they are never about me, I check the Missed Connections for my city daily. It’s a secret obsession. Your situation would have made an awesome MC.


    1. Umm me too I’m a religious checker! I’m convinced I am going to find the love of my live there. Or on an airplane. I have fantasies of sitting next to the man of my dreams on every flight i get on. I should probably watch fewer romantic comedies.


  3. Last time I cried,,,was when bf pissed me because he was trying to spare my feelings. The cry made him see that he wasn’t sparing my feelings but actually hurting them. It worked and we settled the problem!
    Sometimes you just need a good cry!


  4. I can’t get through Toy Story 3 without crying at least three times…and it’s a children’s movie!! It makes my half-empty nest seem emptier…and of course, it’s Little Guy’s favourite movie, so we watch it…often…


  5. Aw. I would have ugly cried in your sitch, too.
    The last time I ugly cried…just now, reading your sad words so thanks a lot.


  6. Aww Miss Atty… you will apprec this…. Mr. Senior Partner in our firm totally pissed me off on Friday. So I stormed into his office to give him a piece of my mind and explain why he was totally going to ruin the momentum of the totally cool associates (see, I am the savior of associates!!). Well, that was how it started out anyway, it ended out with me totally bawling and yelling at him at the same time. I HATE being a woman sometimes!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I went back in today to apologize for the emotion, but NOT the heat. He said he totally understood and that my passion for what I stood for swayed him to my side! Totally cool.


    1. That’s actually a great story. I have cried many, many times at work but thankfully never in front of a partner. I’ve wanted to and come very close but I somehow held it bak till I got to my office and shut my door.
      Perhaps I should let my fire burn in full view more often? 😉


  7. I ugly-cried in front of strangers, one of whom ultimately hugged me, a couple of weeks ago, while discussing my pending cow-to-the-slaughter move to Ontario. It was a real low point.


    1. Aww. I’m glad it was at least in front of a friendly, sympathetic stranger. Also, you’re moving to Ont? TO? It doesn’t have to be cow-to-the-slaughter .. I promise it’s not as Onterrible as everyone makes it out to be 😉


  8. I’ve been happy crying a lot lately, which scares me even more than sad crying. But anytime I see my parents, I lose it. I’m now over a thousand miles from the family, and something about leaving mommy & daddy just does it to me.

    And I fear I’ll soon be addicted to reading Missed Connections, because how freaking adorable are they?


  9. Last time I cried… well I just got all choked up reading this and hastily brushed a couple tears away when I heard someone walking towards my office. I’ve totally, 100% done that before after saying goodbye to my family at the airport. Mostly I hold it in until the plane takes off and then the person next to me thinks I’m afraid of flying- not woefully lonely.


    1. aww I’m sorry I made you tear up! haha . the worst is after you’ve cried, and you’re all puffy but you try to pretend like nothing’s up when people ask. You’re like “whatever, it’s just my allergies”


  10. Aww this was the cutest post! I never used to cry. Like, I was practically a robot. But then, once I fell in love, “my heart opened up” (as my mom likes to say) and now I just let it all out. I cried the other night because I wanted my husband to be happy (so basically for no reason?). Yeahhhhh. Cry your heart out babygurl.


  11. Ugh. I feel your pain. The last time I ugly cried was in Ernest Hemingway’s cat cemetery (yes, you read that right) by myself, last month in Key West. At least you were bawling over your mother’s departure (which is something I would totally do, too!).


  12. You know what always get me? When people say nice things about/to me. That just turns me into a big ol’ babbling brook of tears. I need to have a nice, over dramatic cry every now and then, and I can never feel it coming.

    I’m so glad you check missed connections after things like this happen to you.

    Unless that was a joke, in which case, I’ve never done that.


    1. Definitely not a joke! I check them religiously every night 🙂 Yet to find one directed at me though.. but I still feel hopeful. I also check to see if there are any for my friends- that might make me just as happy.


    1. hahaha! It’s true! She just got a smartphone actually and we text sometimes, but there is always a good 20 minute lag or so between her messages, as she uses one finger to type them lol


  13. The internets makes me shed a tear nearly every day. Like with your heartwarming story. But the last time I really ugly cried was also in an airport saying good-bye to someone I love. And I honestly didn’t care what people thought. That’s actually my problem, I have no problem walking down the sidewalk or through an airport ugly crying and sobbing. It’s like, once I let go, it all comes out. I don’t generally get hug offers, mostly people looking at me from the corner of their eyes.


    1. Aww.. I guess people cry in airports all the time- its a natural thing.. but just felt like everyone was staring at me like who is this cray cray b*tch lol next time I’m gonna take your approach 😉


      1. I think crying is a normal human emotion and reaction to painful and stressful situations. I believe, generally, that having emotions and letting them happen resolves that arc of emotions and then they can be processed. But I’m a little odd in that way. lol


  14. Great post! So fortunate to be consoled like that. Stay strong indeed! 😉

    I currently live away from home, too, so I kind of get how you feel. The last time I cried was a few days ago in the middle of the night. I literally cried myself to sleep just thinking of how I missed my family back home.


  15. ….at the airport too. I was to fly home after a 3 day business trip. My connecting flight was to get me home just in time to kiss my two girls good night. And then the flight was cancelled for no apparent reason. I was left on my own to find my own ride home, on my birthday eve, and those two girls would go to bed again without a hug from Dad. OK a coupla beers, a glass of wine and some Grand Marnier in the club restaurnat helped too. Nice post Breezy!


  16. Reading this at the same time you were reading mine it seems! Anyway YES I’m an ugly crier too, so annoying and I would have definitely bawled like you did. Saying goodbye sucks. I’m so glad you had someone to comfort you. Sending you hugs!


  17. Your entry has touched my heart deeply. I am a mother of two young ladies myself and i had a mother that she has gone where i will never see her again other than in my memory and heart. I understand the defensive attitude against your feeling the pain of separation but think how lucky you are that your Mum a) is understanding and knowing you well . in this regard and b) she is alive and you can communicate with her despite the geographical distance. Hope you will see her again sometime and then you will know to allow your feelings and express them to her and mainly your love so there will be no illusionary separating barrier between you.and perhaps you may not feel as if She or You ‘are going away’ …
    Love causes pain during separation but when allowed to be felt it also helps to heal and close any distance.

    May I give you a Hug too as a mum to a daughter


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