Why Am I Always Crying on a Plane?

I have never had an issue with flying. I have never been scared of flying, even throughout some pretty severe turbulence, I have remained relatively calm. However, as of recent, every time I leave LA I have been getting super emotional.

This could be partially due to the fact that I am leaving my family behind in the city I love, but it also feels somewhat like I am leaving a part of myself there as well.

Context: the last time I flew back to the bay from LA, that rhymed, I found myself leaking water from my eyes. There was no real sadness that came over me, just occasional tears falling from my eyes. This led me to thinking that the issue was not with actually having emotions regarding leaving LA or my family, but to an issue with the altitude. You see, I read somewhere that crying on an airplane is due to the unnaturalness of flying.

Firstly, you are suspended above the ground, literally thousands of feet above the ground.

Secondly, the altitude causes pressure on your tear ducts.

And thirdly, because flying actually causes an emotional reaction in humans causing your hormone levels to freak out, thus making you cry.

This has never happened before, but it has happened now thrice—and to be brutally honest, I kind of don’t like it.

I also read that another reason for crying was also due to the fact that there are fewer distractions than usual, making us aware of our emotions and our brains less distracted allowing them to be able to process them and emote them.

My mother once told me of a story when she had to take a red-eye from the East coast back to the West, and she sat next to a young woman who was leaving for college. She said the girl opened up entirely to her and started crying on her shoulder. It turned out to be a really long flight emotionally wrought and my mother said the two of them sat there for a few hours just crying on each other’s shoulder—or something like that.

Although I will say, this time I decided to reread Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman, and I was just finishing the book when we landed leaving my heart shattered and my mind searching for meaning of the tears falling from my eyes, and whether that pertained to the book, my family, LA, or a combination of all three.

This time, as I flew back to the bay from LA, I rhymed again, I was sitting next to a man who looked like Calvin Harris, dark grey jeans and all. I’m pretty sure he was completely unaware as our initial conversation was brief, but nonetheless, I was thoroughly embarrassed. I tried to cover my face with my book and make an excuse for getting up in order to grab a tissue because I was sick.

Do situations like this happen to you at all? Have you ever cried on a plane, let alone cried in someone’s lap?

Illustration via TWCreates

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