My college friend invited me to a show called FEELINGS at Littlefield in Brooklyn a few months ago. FEELINGS is a variety show, with each show focusing on a different feeling. The theme of this broadcast was sadness — a topic we all love talking about. Since I’m working on being more vulnerable — thanks to Brene Brown and my therapist of 5 years — I thought it would be a good experience to get closer to a feeling I spend a lot of time with but try not to acknowledge. Plus, one of my favorite bands, Matt & Kim, were being interviewed as part of the show, so I figured I had nothing to lose by attending.

When we first got to the venue we were asked to fill out slips of paper that would be read aloud to the audience. We were asked:

  • What do you do when you feel sad?
  • What’s the weirdest/most embarrassing place you’ve ever cried?

The answers to those two questions were easy for me. When I’m sad, I like to eat everything in sight, especially sweets, and watch a lot of bad TV.

The weirdest place I’ve ever cried was in Ali Baba, one of my favorite restaurants in Troy (although I will say, the service that night was incredible, probably because the staff was trying to quietly and quickly usher the sobbing woman out of their restaurant — I can see how my tears would be bad for business). The most embarrassing place I’ve ever cried was a bus station in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso after my camera was stolen out of my bag. Sobbing in front of strangers who don’t understand or particularly care why you are crying but want to watch the spectacle is an experience I would not recommend.

The show was broken out into different segments, each putting their own spin on sadness, and the event was backed up by DJ Therapy — a licensed therapist who provided professional feedback to all of the guests as well as some fun tunes.

A comedian grappled with his mother’s substance misuse and the crossroads he was facing in caring for his own mental health and encouraging his mother to seek treatment. Matt and Kim were interviewed on their perspectives on sadness. The host and her friend hosted a mini book club to discuss the book Mindfulness – something I am starting to make room for in my life. The host’s partner shared a video of the host crying in different real-life situations—watching a termite commercial, going shopping, sleeping, eating at a restaurant, and looking at a dog house. A comedian hosted a mini fashion show detailing the way you could present your sadness to the world (“This look says you’re D-O-N-E, done!”)—in case you were wondering, all black is a safe bet, as are large scarves (so you have something to cry into!), excessive amounts of makeup, and any high school paraphernalia.

I loved that this show gave us the space to think about sadness in a unique setting. All of the segments showed different ways to appreciate and make space for sadness—something I rarely ever do. Hearing how many other people have cried in a restaurant made me feel so normal — I thought I was the only one. I think the show allowed me to give myself permission to spend some time with myself and dig a little deeper the next time I am sad. And I’ll certainly pull out my large scarf.