Guest Post: The Ugly Cry

Hello! Right now we’re on our way back to Georgia from New Mexico. My eyes are burning from saying by to my family and friends, so I can absolutely relate to everything in this wonderful guest post from Dixie Chick over at Southern Tales. (Mom and Grandma, I’m sorry if this makes you cry!) Adios ~Jess

Picture this: You’re a few weeks away from moving from your small non-descript town to a country halfway across the world that is best known for its history or its food, or maybe both. You’ve finally sorted through orders, visa applications, no-fee passports, and med boards. And everyone, and I mean everyone, around you thinks you’re about to have the adventure of your life. And you do too. So your life should be roses, rainbows, and multi-colored unicorns, right? You should be dancing through life and singing in the rain on a daily basis…..instead you get The Ugly Cry.

You know, the Ugly Cry, where you really want to cry, but you a) know you have no real reason to cry, b) are trying so hard to be the well-organized, optimistic spouse, and c) don’t want to freak out your poor spouse, so you desperately try not to cry. You end up scrunching up your eyes, then your nose, and then your mouth, only to find you can’t stop the tears from leaking out anyway, and so you end up crying and looking like a gargoyle at the same time.

It’s not pretty.

I can’t speak for everyone, obviously, but I will wager a bet that anyone who has ever moved, military or not, has experienced The Ugly Cry. And it doesn’t matter whether you love moving or not, or how experienced you are at moving – I have a theory that a move is not complete without one.

Take me for example. I’ve moved so many times in my life, I’ve lost count (thirteen? Fourteen?), and if there were a Facebook page for “moving”, I’d be a fan. I am the kind of woman/dork (cross out whichever you find appropriate) who has a special notebook she keeps for moving house, and then whips it out whenever it’s time to move again, or she needs a reminder about how crazy, insane, but fun that last move was. Seriously, people, when I tell you I love organizing a move, I am not kidding. But in spite of being a true moving aficionado, during every move, there is at least one moment where I dissolve in The Ugly Cry, moving expert and all. And every time that happens, I, and my darling, and often suffering, husband, wonder what the heck is wrong with me.

During our last move, my Ugly Cry came at an especially head-scratching moment. Everything had been going positively awesome. Our household goods had been packed and picked up in one day. Our house, although suddenly bare, was at least no longer covered in post-its and reminders, with random piles of stuff sitting here and there. All our paperwork was in order, and we were just a few weeks away from an overseas move. It was awesome. Or at least, it should have been.

I was fine until we came back from our celebratory dinner, and husband-dear set up the TV we’d borrowed from a friend, only to find the TV wasn’t working. And suddenly I realized that there was no way I could live without a TV for the next three weeks. In spite of having two laptops at my disposal and a full-time job, my house is apparently not a home without a TV (yes, you may judge me now). So all of sudden, in spite of everything else you have gone through in the past few weeks, not having a TV is the worst. Thing. Ever.

So although I told myself it’s just a stupid TV, I suddenly felt it come on: a great, big, ugly cry. I tried to fight it telling myself there was absolutely no reason to cry. None. All my stuff was safely secured in several wooden crates, my ticket had been booked, and all I had to do now was wait around for things to happen. Life should be one big Barney episode right now, with hugs for everyone! And so I tried. And tried. I think my entire face shrunk into my skull, that’s how hard I was trying not to cry. But there they were anyway: Tears. And lots of them too. I cried for the TV first, and then for our empty house, my car which we had to sell, the plants we had to give away, the friends we had to leave behind, and finally, the scariness of the whole experience.

That, people, is The Ugly Cry.

Now your ugly cry may look different. You may have your ugly cry when you say goodbye to your family. Yes, they’re going to come visit you, and yes, they will email/skype/call/text. And even if they don’t do all of that, you will see then again in a few years. And it’s all one big, great, exciting adventure, right? Sure. But that won’t stop the ugly cry. Or you may cry when you get to the airport and realize that your flight is delayed. You’ve been a trooper all this time, your husband thinks you deserve a medal, but you wanted to leave now. Not later tonight. Not tomorrow. Now. And when you can’t, there is it. 

The ugly cry.
Any move, no matter how good or bad it went is going to have moments where you just really want to cry and tell the world how much you hate this. How you just want your old house back. With your stuff in its place and not in cordoned off rooms or clearly marked boxes. How you want your life to be predictable and, most importantly, under your own control. But, realistically, we all know that moves, and life in general, just don’t work that way. So I say go ahead and cry. Cry all you want and don’t feel guilty about it. It’s your life, it’s your move, and if you just let yourself have your moments, maybe the cry won’t be so ugly after all.


  1. LOVE THIS! I am all too familiar with The Ugly Cry! It's so true, it comes on without warning and seemingly for no reason! And it's always super ugly. I've had a few of those in preparation to move to Germany (like when I was walking out of our old, empty house for the last time I lost it on the front porch in front of the whole neighborhood) and one while I was there. But she's exactly right…it's ok to cry, ugly or otherwise. I've started to embrace it. I always feel better after the tears. Great post!

  2. This is so you and me and everyone who has ever moved. I try to wait until I am in the car moving on down the road. Doesn't always work. And the ugly cry comes when the kids move, oh how I hate that one.

  3. I hate the ugly cry! Yet, am totally guilty of it! I do it whenever I leave home, especially after a long time there. And I go home a lot, hmm…maybe I should work on that 🙂

  4. I think I had my first UGLY CRY today about our move to Japan. My husband ( we were suppose to leave next week), now leaves next week, and I follow him 2 weeks later, which brought on my UGLY CRY, the fact I don't get to fly there with him. This post was just what I needed to hear!!!

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