From birth, we learned how to cry. Our body’s physical response to intense emotions usually leads to tears. Some people cry when they get angry, most everyone cries when they become sad, and some people cry when something is just too funny! There are a lot of different reasons for crying, but until now, we didn’t realize that our tears actually change based on why we are crying! Getting something in your eye and remembering a loved one will produce different tears depending on what has caused them in the first place.
Rose-Lynn Fisher, and artist, discovered this phenomenon one day when she felt the urge to find out if her tears were actually different depending on her emotions. She put them under a microscope and discovered that they are, in fact, very different! Wow!
So, what did she do? She took a sample of her tears every time she found herself crying from a different emotion. As she discovered the beautiful differences, she took samples of her friend’s and family, compiling over 100 samples to come up with the most incredible and fascinating out of all of them. She has named each of these works of art after the emotions that were flooding through her, and I find them so very mesmerizing!
“Tears of Timeless Reunion”
“Tears of Remembrance”
“Tears of Release”
“Tears For Those Who Yearn For Liberation”
“Tears of Possibility and Hope”
“Tears of Elation at a Liminal Moment”
“Tears of Convergence of Wonders”
“Tears of Grief”
“Tears of Ending and Beginning”
“Tears of Change”
“Tears of Laughter”
“Watering Eyes: a Micro Climate”
The science behind this is is fascinating, too. We shed 3 different types of tears. Basal tears, reflex tears, and psychic tears. Basal tears are what keep our eyes moist and lubricated, preventing that dry and scratchy feeling for the majority of the time. Reflex tears allow us to constantly flush out any irritants what might make it into our eyes past our eyelashes and blinking. Psychic tears are an emotional response when we are sad, angry, happy, or just feel like crying and contain stress hormones. By shedding these excess hormones, we feel “better” after a good hard cry, and it also explains why our tears can look so incredible under a microscope!
Fisher writes, “Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage. The are the evidence of our inner life overflowing its boundaries, spilling over into consciousness. Wordless and spontaneous, they release us to the possibility of realignment, reunion, catharsis: shedding tears carries a microcosm of the human experience, like one drop of an ocean.”
While some tears may look wildly different from others, these images still make me proud to be human. There is so much variation – even between two different tears! Very cool.
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