When Aaron Gillies, 28, posted a list on Twitter entlitled 'reasons why my wife is crying' it quickly went viral. Here his wife Lex, 31, writes about why she isn't embarrassed for crying at biscuits or a picture of a piglet...
Last weekend a tweet of my husband’s went viral. He’s a comedy writer and spends a huge proportion of his day on Twitter so this wasn’t a new experience for him. The main difference was that this tweet was about me. Yep, I am the wife who cries at everything.
Gay swans, a lack of biscuits, terrifying impressions of horror film ghouls: all resulted in tears. As I was tagged in the original tweet, my phone has been buzzing non-stop since Sunday night. I kept thinking it would die off as people moved on to the next viral story. But then it reached 10,000 retweets. Then 20,000. Then 30,000. And it kept going. Over 5 million people have seen the photo my husband uploaded (and that’s not counting all the people who pinched it to repost). Fewer people live in Ireland than have seen that picture.
Social media allows you to curate a circle of friends and like-minded people to chat to, share stories with and in which to be yourself. When something so personal goes viral, you are thrown into the bear pit of the wider internet where people don’t know you so therefore don’t see you as a fully-rounded, living, breathing, three-dimensional character. You are exposed to criticism and ridicule from people who have the ultimate anonymity of the internet.
It is truly strange to see your own face all over social media. People I haven’t spoken to in 15 years were sharing it on Facebook with their own ‘embarrassing’ crying stories. Which is the main thing I don’t understand about the conversations inspired by the list because I don’t feel embarrassed by my weeping ways. I’ve always been an emotional person. I’m very quick to laugh, I have a short temper and when I’m upset I feel it very deeply. If I am experiencing an emotion, I’m usually crying. My family and friends are used to this aspect of my personality and to them it’s a cute quirk that forms a very small part of who I am.
Which is why it’s extremely weird to think that to so many people I am now just ‘Cry Wife’. Millions of strangers have formed opinions on my character, mental health and marriage based on a 9 point list. Luckily the responses were overwhelmingly positive: so many women (and some men) have come forward to show solidarity and, even better, to share stories of the weirdest things that make them weep. Some of my favourites include: needing the loo when stuck in a traffic jam and seeing their boyfriend’s confused-woken-up-face.
As with everything on the internet, there were some negative responses. A lot of people assumed I was pregnant. Even more thought that I was depressed or bipolar. Quite a few expressed sympathy to my husband for having to deal with such ‘a nightmare wife’. Someone accused him of ‘publicly shaming’ me and ‘attacking’ me for having emotions. Some people see or hear tears and immediately dismiss women as hysterical, out of control, or just plain odd. But the majority of my tears (both in that list and in day to day life) are happy tears. Finding out there’s ice cream in the freezer after a particularly bad day? Pure joy accompanied by a few tears. David Attenborough’s dulcet tones assuring me that the tiny chick that we just watched bounce down a cliff face will live to see another day? Unabashed wailing.
I find crying incredibly cathartic. I feel so much lighter and less stressed afterwards. It feels the same to me as a proper side-splitting cackle with a friend, or an enraged scream-growl of frustration when the printer just won’t print the stupid thing you need it to bloody print. I’m never going to be a stoic, hard-faced woman in total control of my emotions, but if that means experiencing the extremes of joy and sadness then I’m okay with it. Even if those extremes are usually related to biscuits.
Here is my own list of reasons why I'm crying...