The Mighty Logo

How Lea Michele Taught Me It Is OK to Cry

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I’m not going to pretend I didn’t cry before this pivotal moment in my life, but for some reason I always felt guilty about doing so. I feel like there are people out there who have it so much much worse than I do. Why do I get to cry and they have to keep fighting?

Basically for the first 14 years of my life I would cry, feel guilty about it, and then cry some more. It was a miserable cycle.

When I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder I sobbed until my eyes went red. Nothing could comfort me, and I didn’t want anyone to try to.

Soon after, I started watching a new TV show called “Glee”, the main character played by Lea Michele. Since I had never heard about the show before, I was oblivious to the fact the other main character (played by Cory Monteith) had passed away.

After I found out, I started looking to Lea Michele for guidance. Cory was her fiancee, he had just died and she was out in the public eye looking beautiful as ever. For some reason this only re-enforced the idea I didn’t deserve to cry. If she could go through losing the love of her life, I thought, I can get through my problems.

It wasn’t until the night of the Teen Choice Awards where she addressed Cory’s death in a way that really touched me.

Seeing my idol break down and cry somehow made it OK for me to do the same. She showed me even “strong” people cry too. It doesn’t make you less of a person. It doesn’t mean you are weak; it just means you are human.

Every now and then I slip back into the “I don’t deserve to cry” mindset, but going back to Lea’s speech always reminds me it’s OK. You don’t have to earn your emotions. You are free to feel the way you feel.

I will be forever thankful to Lea Michele, who taught me there is no shame in pain, and nothing selfish about expressing it.

Originally published: March 29, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home