Crying Alone on the Toilet Makes Me Feel Whole: Advice from So Sad Today
So Sad Today answers your questions about friends, crying your ass off, and telling that special someone how you really feel.
Illustrations by Joel Benjamin
Dear So Sad Today,
Have you ever experienced having toxic friends? And if so, what is your advice on that? I just stopped being friends with two of my friends who seemed very toxic to me and even though I loved them, I believed it was best for me to move on. What is your advice on moving on and finding new friends? I've been trying to find newer, closer friends to replace them but it's very hard to find such friends. Should I join more clubs on my college campus? If you could send me some advice that'd be great.
When I was a freshman in college I was friends with a group of girls. One day they decided they didn't like me. This was because I was hooking up with what they thought were too many dudes. Also, sometimes I would just leave them alone at a party to go hook up with a dude (sorry, but that's part of my charm!).
For a few weeks I kissed their asses, feeling insecure, trying to win back their love. But then I realized, wait, I don't even like them. In time, I became friends with some new girls who were sluts just like me. I had only met these girls in passing, but they seemed like cool people to be friends with—way less judgmental and concerned with what I was doing with my vagina—so I reached out to them.
Once I became friends with them, what ended up happening is that the two groups kind of merged. I introduced a few of the girls I liked from my old group of friends to the girls in my new group of friends and we all moved in together, becoming something of a squad.
This being said, I've never felt totally comfortable in a squad. There is something about group dynamics that makes me feel the need to shut a door—any door—and be alone. After college, I never lived with people again. And over time, I've felt like some of the members of the older friend group are still too conservative for me or don't fully understand me. So I have taken a lot of breaks from my friendship with them. I feel that I can be friends with them sporadically and I love them out of shared history, but when I find myself starting to really doubt myself around them, I take a break. That self-doubt is a symbol of too much influence on their part. It's a form of toxicity.
I'm not the type of person to say that everything gets better. But one thing that has really gotten better for me with age is that I don't care so much what friend groups think of me anymore. This might be because I now spend my time worrying what anonymous strangers on the internet think of me, but that's a different story.
When I think back to being excommunicated by that group of girls during my freshman year of college, or by another group in middle school, I feel a great relief in being my own person now. This has only come with time and was not something I could force, but it does happen.
So Sad Today
Dear So Sad Today, queen of goth life,
I need your help. I need some advice. What do you do when you're sad like just try to cry an endless river? It's triggering idk what to do.
Dear Goth Princess,
Despite how it may seem, I am not a good cryer. Like, I'm always afraid that if I just let go then my feelings are going to kill me. I'm scared that if I start crying I'm never going to stop: even though history has shown me that I always stop at some point. So I am definitely more of a bottle-upper. Actually, I guess what I am is a tweeter. Consider every tweet a tear not shed.
But it's weird that I'm scared to cry, because every time I do cry I feel so much fucking better after. It's like, oh shit, why don't I do this every day? I've also noticed that sometimes, if I'm having heavy cycles of panic attacks, they finally subside a bit when I cry. It's like the anxiety is not anxiety at all, but other trapped feelings pushing up against the inside of me.
The thing is, I'm still not great at knowing what my underlying feelings are. Half the time I'm sad for an obvious reason, but I'm like "No, it can't be that." It's usually only after I do something primal and physical, like sex or yoga, that I start crying and realize I've been carrying around a bunch of shit and have needed to cry for days.
Since my yoga practice sucks and I never do it, I tend to end up crying after sex quite frequently. When I feel the cry coming on, I excuse myself from the person I'm with to go pee (always pee after sex so you don't get a urinary tract infection). Then I get a few minutes of good tears on the toilet.
I don't know of anything that makes me feel more alive. Crying alone on the toilet is probably the thing that makes me feel most whole. I guess I could watch a sad movie or listen to some sad music to try and get the same effect. But sometimes I'm just too scared of my feelings to intentionally bring it on. It's like I have to run and run until there is nowhere else to go, and then, finally, the tears come.
So Sad Today
Dear So Sad Today,
I want to tell the friend I am in love with my feelings, which is causing me great anxiety. Am I setting myself up for disaster?
Dear Not Telling,
I think it's usually better for the truth to be out there. Any time I've waited to tell someone how I felt about him, the fear was usually based on some underlying knowing that either the person didn't like me in that way or didn't like me as much as I liked him. It's almost like I was keeping it to myself to preserve an illusion that something would happen. Living in illusion is a high sometimes, but eventually, the person either likes you or doesn't. So if you don't want to delude yourself, it's probably best to say something now.
That being said, you may risk ruining the friendship (or putting it on hold for a while) because one or both of you might feel uncomfortable after you say something. But I think it's hard to just have a real friendship with someone you secretly like romantically anyway—at least if the air has not been cleared.
So Sad Today
So Sad Today: Personal Essays will be released in March from Grand Central Publishing. Pre-order it here.
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