It’s All Right To Cry

In my early childhood, I had the charming bedtime rituals of childhood fantasy. My mom had the patience of a saint and it felt like she allotted endless time making our bedtime rituals enchanting and memorable with books, stories, and songs. It must have been the late 70’s and early 80’s and my brother, Eli, my mom, and I cuddled up together every evening on the bottom bunk bed. First we read books and then we sang songs.

We had hugs and kisses and then the worst part came when it was time for my mom and dad to leave the room for the night. I dreaded the dark and falling asleep. My fear of the night added something special to our bedtime rituals; my mom or dad always put on a record.

We had quite a collection of vinyl back then and I had my favorites. Some nights we might have only listened to one side of the record, but most nights my mom or dad had to come and flip the record for me. My brother, Eli, had it easy falling asleep in minutes while I remember listening to my all time favorite, Free to Be… You and Me over and over and over again.


That LP with the pink jacket was a record album and illustrated book that came out before I was born. Back in 1972, celebrities of the era  including Alan Alda, Rosey Grier, Cicely Tyson, Carol Channing, Michael Jackson, Shirley Jones, Jack Cassidy, and Diana Ross sang the songs and narrated the stories.

The concept of the album was to encourage gender neutrality and praise values like tolerance, uniqueness, and taking pride in individuality and your own identity. One of the main messages of the record was that boys and girls can do anything. That was how I grew up: free to be me. I have always loved music and I usually have a song playing silently to the world – in my head. In every situation I star in imaginary music videos somewhere in the back of my brain. Lately it’s, “It’s All Right to Cry,” sung by football hero Rosey Grier.


Tears are universal. We need them to keep our eyes lubricated. My Google research proves that humans are the only species that cry for emotional reasons. Crying isn’t just about tears; your heart rate increases, you sweat, your breathing slows and you sometimes get a lump in your throat. Red puffy eyes and salt water in tandem with the Fight Or Flight system AKA sympathetic nervous system take over your life for a few minutes or hours.

Some researchers rule that suppressing tears is a physical health hazard. There’s a saying attributed to a British psychiatrist, Henry Maudsley, “The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep.”

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Fear, helplessness, frustration, sadness, and anger make us cry. Joy and relief make us cry too. Life is a cryfest and it should be. If you can feel then you are alive. If you care enough to cry then your life is meaningful. It’s alright.

I still think the best exploration and conclusion was expressed in 1972 by song writer, Carol Hall.

It’s all right to cry
Crying gets the sad out of you
It’s all right to cry
It might make you feel better

Raindrops from your eyes
Washing all the mad out of you
Raindrops from your eyes
It’s gonna make you feel better

It’s all right to feel things
Though the feelings may be strange
Feelings are such real things
And they change and change and change

Sad ‘n’ grumpy, down in the dumpy
Snuggly, hugly, mean ‘n’ ugly
Sloppy, slappy, hoppy, happy
Change and change and change

It’s all right to know
Feelings come and feelings go
It’s all right to cry
It might make you feel better

It’s all right to cry, little boy
I know some big boys that cry too

I miss hearing that Free To Be You And Me Record crackling away as I drift off to sleep…..