Even in the past I never believed the old rubbish about ‘men don’t cry’. I felt it was OK for anyone, guys or gals, to show emotions and crying is one of those. On the other hand, I now realize I was very much restraining who I am.
If something really intense happened, like a death, I would allow myself to cry. And for the most part, I felt OK about it. After all, this really intense thing just happened. But less intense things were not so easy for me.
There were times when we would have a major change in our family. It wasn’t necessarily bad, but it was very different. Some people wouldn’t consider these kinds of changes a big deal. But for me, they were a big deal. They made my guts turn and life just seemed out of sync. All was not right and something deep inside of me wanted to scream and cry. It hurt so bad, it felt so wrong.
Yet often there was that nagging voice of conventionalism that said ‘this isn’t a big deal, making a fuss is uncalled for’. Those times were always hard for me. Do I try to choke down my emotions because I was embarrassed by them, or do I let the tears flow? More often than not my emotions, including that of embarrassment, were in control and my intellect took backstage.
Then there were those less intense, yet still perplexing times. Like a movie, or a book that had a powerful scene. There would be this rumbling deep within that wanted to be expressed. But those feelings never had a chance because my emotional cop was on autopilot, and the default was that preventing embarrassment was more important than expressing myself.
But even back then I knew I was a sensitive person. But somehow I had this constant contradiction going on. Being sensitive was OK. But, with rare exception, showing that I was sensitive seemed to be wrong. I don’t think I ever realized how absurd this contradiction was until I was freed from it.
I don’t know when but at some point while I was discovering myself, the woman within, I realized how much I was suppressing this part of me. I realized how much I had actually bought into the ‘men don’t cry’ perspective and how much I had stifled who I am.
It was at this time that I gave myself permission to be emotional, to cry. As I explored this newfound freedom to be me I found something amazing. At least it has been amazing to me, crying isn’t bad. I don’t mean bad as in socially unacceptable, but as in having to be an expression of negative experiences. We all know of people who cry for joy at weddings and such, but there is so much more.
Crying can be, and for me, it often is, a release. There are times when life is so full, so amazing, so wonderful that I can’t contain it and so I cry. And there are times when life’s tragedies hit and it hurts so bad. Yet even in these times, I feel I am connecting with something beyond me, that bit of humanity that connects us all.
And so now I cry a lot. I cry over all of the usual things a woman might cry over and then I cry over those things that are beyond me. I cry not just at my tragedies, but I cry at other’s tragedies. I cry when life change and I need to adjust. I cry for joy at life’s special moments. I cry for the simple things like movies, and books, and songs. And then there are those times I cry because life is so amazing; to breathe, to live, to be part of it all, is so amazing, and so, I cry.
Maybe all of this is just my medication. Maybe, but I think not, I think that sensitive little girl that I closed the door on so long ago is enjoying her first chance at life. And life is amazing, and I am very sensitive and when life is beyond what I can contain, I cry.