Those meetings to come out to my advisors yesterday were really intense. Good but intense. I get a tremor when I’m really nervous or keyed up, and my hands were shaking on and off all day before the meetings. A couple of times during the day I welled up.
But once I was in the meetings themselves, I didn’t cry.
I mentioned this to Gail last night, and she found it notable, though I’m not 100% certain not crying in that context is out of character. Historically, I’m a big time crier, but I am the most likely to cry in unexpected situations, times when I feel surprised. When I’m in a situation I am expecting to be overwhelming or intense (like yesterday), and I can brace myself, I’m more likely to be able to keep the tears in check. The key words here are “more likely,” by no means is there ever a guarantee that I won’t cry. By pretty much any measure, I’ve always been an outlier in this respect. I’ve always cried more than other people, certainly more than men, but also more than women.
It would be hard to overstate how much or how many times I’ve wished I had more control over my tears, even just a few moments to excuse myself from a room so I can have a little privacy. I haven’t even had that. I’ve fought this tendency, mostly unsuccessfully, and sometimes in some pretty damaging ways, for much of my life. But over the last couple years, I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with it. I’ve gotten better at understanding what’s up when the tears come, at setting other people at ease in the presence of my tears, at clearing things up with them later. Sometimes over the last couple years, I was even grateful for this sensitivity, for this ability to feel deeply.
So many people report that they cry less on testosterone. Some are really frustrated by it. I don’t think I have quite enough data yet to go on for myself, though I’m starting to suspect there may be a real shift. I definitely still cry, but I think I pull back from it a bit more easily, and the fact that I didn’t really cry yesterday is definitely notable. As is the fact that I didn’t cry at a sappy movie we saw a couple weeks ago. My working theory for the moment is that even if T tamps down my range of emotions some, or walks me back from that emotional precipice just a bit (the one where I could cry at any moment), that I had so much to start with I ought to have plenty leftover to be a pretty sensitive and emotionally accessible guy. It would be a major sea change for me to get to a place where I truly cannot cry, and that would be genuinely disorienting, but the space I think I might be starting to occupy now, one where tears are perhaps just a bit farther below the surface, actually feels pretty nice.