In the digital photo series, “Places I’ve Cried in Public” I explore and visualize past moments of vulnerability in different locations throughout Ontario. This series aims to normalize crying through shameless sensitivity while inviting viewers to reflect upon their own personal experiences with vulnerable emotions. By retracing and mapping out tearful moments the societal shame around strong emotions is dismantled and human connection is highlighted.
As a naturally sensitive person I have found myself shedding tears in public spaces and subsequently feeling the rawness of vulnerability. Whether it’s from an emotional movie, a broken bone or a long difficult day I have occasionally struggled to mask these feelings. While crying is healthy, natural and human, for adults it is often societally shamed into privacy by being deemed as a sign of weakness. Crying in public is an undeniably vulnerable experience. Vulnerability and shame are closely linked emotions. This could explain the deep discomfort many find in openly expressing feelings. I believe that the normalization of crying and showing strong emotions could relinquish some of the shame around vulnerability. In our highly gendered world women are often judged as hysterical when they overtly display emotion. Men are often expected to downplay and hide these emotions in an effort to seem tough. This brings up the question of why our society correlates strength with stoicism and numbed emotions.
Despite the pressure to hide our emotions I stand firmly in my belief that moments of emotional exposure are synonymous with moments of courage and strength.
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