By Candace Braun Davison
Life's letdowns don't faze us 97.5 percent of the time, but in those maddening instances when deep breathing and calm negotiating don't cut it, the only way to face your problem is to first tackle the watery emotions that come with it.
When -- after months of training and coping with shin splints, blisters and bruises -- you finally cross the finish line. It doesn't matter whether you've placed or if you stumbled across an hour after everyone else went home. Tears = massive sense of accomplishment and relief that you're somehow still alive.
When you wake up with a creaky, piercing sore throat and your head's throbbing and a sick day is absolutely not an option.
When you've run out of ways to console your crying friend, there will be tears -- yours. Fortunately, it's a universal law that within minutes, a "What the heck are we doing?" moment will be triggered -- like when you both realize your wobbly, speaking-through-tears voices sound like a cross between Gollum and Honey Boo Boo -- that will cause you both to dissolve into shaky laughter.
When you're utterly lost on the side of the road, your GPS has no signal, and there's no sign of civilization for miles.
When you realize that the one thing you felt absolutely certain about isn't certain at all. And you don't know what that means -- for you or your future.
When you're watching "Les Miserables," "Brief Encounter" or "Steel Magnolias," no matter how many times you've seen them. There is no other appropriate response.
Ditto for any movies involving animals, like "My Dog Skip" or "Old Yeller."
When you get the diagnosis you never wanted to hear. Every scenario -- especially the darkest, most painful ones you always pushed out of your mind before -- starts playing in a rapid loop for the next few hours. When University of Tennessee coach Pat Summitt learned she had Alzheimer's, she took the advice she's given her athletes for decades so she wouldn't tumble down a bottomless pit of what-ifs: "No one feels strong when she examines her own weakness. But in facing weakness, you learn how much there is in you, and you find real strength."
When you're standing at the airport baggage carousel after getting off an endlessly delayed plane and nobody seems to know what happened to your luggage. Further, while waiting at the conveyor belt, you notice everyone around you has their bags… and people greeting them with hugs. Also flowers. And chocolate? In that moment, it dawns on your jet-lagged, single self: Valentine's Day.
When you’re so angry you’re shaking, and all you want to do is scream someone into oblivion. Sometimes the only alternative that remains is a locked supply closet and five minutes of fury sobs.
When you're saying goodbye to your parents, grandparent or that far-flung best friend you won't see for months and you realize you're going to miss the way they steal food off your plate or nudge you to laugh at their truly awful puns -- even if these habits annoyed you all weekend long.
When you're scrolling your Facebook newsfeed and you're jolted with an update you never expected: Your seventh-grade best friend has died. The one you choreographed dances to Mariah Carey music videos with. The one you meant to take out to lunch on her birthday, but you settled for a "Happy 33rd!" on her wall. The one who died two days ago, and yet nobody's told you.
When your boss emails you to "change directions" on the project that's caused you to cancel every plan you've had for weeks, and you're feeling ready to pick up your monitor and beat your printer with it. In the words of Tina Fey in <i>Bossypants</i>, "Some people say, 'Never let them see you cry.' I say, 'If you're so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone.'"
When you receive a wedding invitation -- or, even worse, a baby announcement -- from The One Who Got Away.
When you take your dog to the vet for a routine checkup and learn that he's got cancer. It will cost thousands to prolong his life, possibly just for a few months -- and even so, he may be in pain -- and you're faced with the <a href=" http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Losing-a-Pet-Dog-Grieving-for-Pets" target="_blank">decision of what to do next</a>.
When your new phone slips out of your hands and shatters its screen, and all you can think of is how you refused to pay $5 a month for insurance just two days ago.
When a friend has something extraordinarily wonderful happen to her that restores your faith in the universe -- especially if that faith had been rattled by any of the aforementioned reasons to cry. Happy tears trump all.
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