I decided to track every time I cried in 2021.
I cried a total of 96 times.
I wanted to take the data a step further and organize it in a way that could be admired, because emotions are a beautiful thing.
And so I present to you,
A visualization of my mental state in 2021.
My Mental Garden
Growing up, I was often told that I was too emotional; that I felt too deeply for things or cried over pointless matters. I learned to not like that part of me.
I wanted to create something I could look back on and admire, not regret. I grow from acknowledging my emotions because they're how I experience being me. Sure, a lot of the reasons that I cried are sad, but that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to laugh, smile, or even cry again upon reflection.
We're pressured into viewing our emotions in a negative light. Boys don't cry. She's too emotional.
I wanted to change that perspective, and that starts with changing my own, one petal at a time.
I recorded every single time I cried during 2021 in the notes section of my iPhone. It may not have been the most innovative way, but it was convenient enough for what I needed.
At the end of the year, I moved all the data into a spreadsheet and began analyzing.
I recorded 4 pieces of data:
The Reason for Crying
A Ranking of the Cry from 1-10
1 being more negative and 10 being more positive.
The Reason for the Ranking
After, I organized the data into 4 categories:
Any sort of heightened emotion during not heightened circumstances.
Response to something external affecting me in the moment.
Social media, movies, books, etc.
Physical pain, discomfort, or bodily issues.
Basic Data Plot
I cried a total of 96 times in 2021.
I cried an average of 8 times per month.
I had an average cry rating of 3.957894737 out of 10.
I cried the most during the month of February.
I cried a maximum of 3 times in 1 day.
There are 2 petal shapes. Pointed for even months, and rounded for odd months.
Each petal represents 1 data point on any given date. The length is determined by the rating given to the cry from 1-10
If there are 2 or more data points on the same date, the petals are stacked in the order of the cry from center, outwards.
The data points are organized into 4 major categories. Each petal is colored to reflect the data points' category.
The data petals are organized in a segmented circular form. Starting from 90°, the data falls in a clockwise pattern. Dates with no recorded cries are left empty, while dates with cry data are given a corresponding petal(s).
I was so self conscious every time I cried this month because I knew I had to write it down in my notes right after.
Did it skew the data? Probably.
BUT, it did get easier as the year went on!
This is the month I cried the most.
To be fair, I cry over A LOT of things. One of these cries is because my partner asking me to be his valentine. We had been together almost 4 years at that point...
Listen, just because he's my partner doesn't mean he's automatically my valentine.
Just a few weeks of being in a low spot.
I received my first Pfizer dose at the end of this month... As you can see it wasn't a good time...
AND I'D DO IT AGAIN.
A pattern I've seemed to notice is that after I haven't cried for a while, I end up crying a bunch back to back. Almost like waves.
Also, I cried on my birthday. How rude!
It's always harder to record the more negative reasons to cry.
I adopted my dog this month. LOTS of emotions. I grew up with dogs, but MAN watching her come to trust you really punches your tear ducts.
I also got a nose piercing this month if you're confused about the positively rated pain petal!
Anyone want to talk to me about endometriosis? Because my doctor won't :)
I feel like Greenday says it best.
I was in a really bad place mentally this month. Probably my lowest point this year. Not devastatingly sad, just... constant. I like to describe this feeling like a cartoon scribbly cloud that's constantly hung over my head.
There was a point where I had thought about dropping everything and leaving. I didn't know to where, but I just wanted to get away from my own life for a while.
Now I can look back today and appreciate my growth from here.
It got better :)
Although I did have a dream that my dog died this month, so did it really?
I hate the cold. I hate the time change. #SeasonalDepression?
And then my best friend's dog died as if November's dream was some omen...
Not to ~capitalize~ on something like this, but I can see this project living beyond a cute journal on my portfolio. The idea of your emotions being as beautiful as flowers growing in a garden puts a positive spin on something that people often view as taboo.
What if we had an application where people could share these emotions in an anonymous, artistic way. We could view emotions across the world to make people feel a little less alone.
We could also view emotion as a collective. That you're contributing to a larger piece of something beautiful; something that is shared by all.
This could become a tool or asset used in practices like therapy, personal growth journeys, or even add ons to things like HUM to teach children to value their emotions from a young age.
TBH I never intended for this to become a project. I started this on a whim with the intention of having something I could look back on and laugh at. But I surprised myself with how interesting the data was; i literally quantified raw emotion.
I hope that you, my dearest reader, can at the very least look at what I've created and think of your own emotions and reactions.