I kept walking as if the act of walking was going to stymie the oncoming flood. But then, one left-handed turn down a quiet lane and I wasn’t just crying, I was bawling my eyes out. Later, I wondered if there were any better places to cry in Sydney than just sitting on a step in the middle of the street.
Crying is by no means a bad thing. It’s got therapeutic benefits and studies have reported that people find themselves feeling better just 90 minutes after turning on the waterworks. Why? Tears release oxytocin and endorphins making people feel good by easing emotional and physical pain.
So, the next time you find yourself on the verge of tears, go on, have a cry. You’ll feel better for it. But, if cracking open the floodgates in public creates all other kinds of panic for you and you’re too far from home, no worries because the city of Sydney has got you covered.
1. The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney
Okay, it might be one of the more popular and populous areas of the city but hear me out. Sometimes when you cry, what you need is a shot of beauty back into your life. And if nothing else, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney is beautiful.
Find yourself a tree to sit under and get to crying. Get it all out and once you’re done, look up around you. The flowers, the trees, the views of the harbour—nature therapy at its finest. There’s something there to make you smile for sure. But if you do get interrupted mid-cry, you could always blame the puffy eyes on the pollen.
2. The beach, the ocean, the horizon
Rebecca Solnit writes that “the world is blue at its edges and in its depths. (And) this blue is the light that got lost.” If you’re feeling a little blue, or a little lost in your own life, then take a lesson from Solnit’s A Field Guide To Getting Lost and make your way to the edge of land and look out at the horizon where the sky meets the sea.
Look out into the distance and feel blue. Cry. Let it out and cry until you can cry no more.
3. A Public Toilet
Sydney is in no short supply of public toilets. Just take a look at The National Public Toilet Map to find a (relatively) quiet space to pop into and cry a little before getting your game face back on.
4. Any Underground Bar
Perhaps you’d rather drown your sorrows with a drink in a dark, cavernous space. It’s a totally normal response to want to shut out the bright outside world and Sydney has more than a handful of underground bars for you to choose from. Order a drink at the bar, take a seat and wallow in your sadness. If anyone asks, say that it’s just the booze. If the bartender asks, take stock of the room before unloading your story.
5. A Natural Park
One of the perks of living in Sydney is that the city is surrounded by national parks. Nine, I think, and 26 within 150kms of the city.
Some are within walking distance but if you really need to unload, a day out of the city may be on the cards and there’s nothing quite like jumping into the car and heading out into bush for a bit of soul-searching.
Hot tip: remember Bruce Lee’s wise advice and be like water to find peace. To help, find a waterfall and let the sound of running water calm your nerves.
6. St Mary’s Cathedral
Though not for everybody, a church (or in this case, a cathedral) is often a great place for a good crying sesh. For the most part, it’s quiet inside and often feels disconnected from the rest of the bustling city outside its doors. Besides, you certainly wouldn’t be the first person to cry in a church.
7. Rockwood Cemetery
Again, not everyone’s cup of tea but there’s no denying that crying at a cemetery is one of the most normal things to do. At Rockwood cemetery, the largest Victorian cemetery in the world, you’re sure to find somewhere quiet to ponder the meaning of life. Go during Hidden, the outdoor sculpture event held in one of the oldest parts of the cemetery to really be moved by love and loss.
It goes without saying, but make sure to remain respectful while you’re there.
The huge “balls of gas burning billions of miles away” make for perfect company when you’re feeling a touch teary.