About ten years ago, I had an idea for a project that I hoped to gift to several of my friends who were dealing with deep and personal emotional trauma.
Using the package design skills I’d picked up at NIU, I created a box to fit the travel packs of tissues. It was printed with a lovely floral pattern and included a scored top that could tear open but then be tucked back in for reuse.
I only made a few and I gave them all away. They were well-received. I was encouraged to mass produce them and sell them to boutiques. Yeah, they were that cool.
On each box was a simple paragraph. It gave the user “permission to cry”.
Not MY permission, it said, but YOURS. It’s good to allow yourself to lay bare and emote. Sometimes that’s messy. Don’t let anybody tell you you’re dealing with an experience wrong. Cry, don’t cry, just be honest about how you are feeling. Okay, I’m protracting, the box didn’t say ALL of that. If you print too much nobody reads it.
I wish I had made the packages in bulk.
I wish I had a storage unit filled with them and several in my bag at all times.
I wish I could pass them out like hugs in support of everyone going through a rough patch.
A gentle reminder of something you can control in a time of emotional chaos.
I wish so many people didn’t need them.
Didn’t need it—
Permission to cry.
So many people are sad. Experiencing loss, disappointment, and suffering.
Navigating grief is part of the process, a stepping stone on the path to healing. Things may never be the way they were before, but they can be good again. Different, but good.
I don’t have a cute little artisan tissue box to give you.
But YOU can have permission to cry.
It’s something you give to yourself.