How vulnerable are you, when you need a shoulder to cry on? Do you cry when the rage is so palpable that you could scream? I have a problem, or at least I had a problem. I used to think that I had to be this tough woman and never show weakness. Crying? For-fucking-get it. You were more than likely to find a unicorn in your closet.
But, life, oh life can be a motherfucker. I had a shitty end to my teaching semester because of unfair admin policies or reinforcement of made-up policies. I got dumped by someone, I thought was a writer friend. Did they say why we were no longer friends? Nope. The list goes on.
All of this drama led to a lot of crying for days. I mean days. (Thank you friends who helped me grieve.) I am not a crier.
I was once, as a child. To make us strong and not be oppressed and exploited, my father made us tough. We were not allowed to cry, and if we did, it was followed by a slap or a smack.
Nowadays, I don't like watching people cry. Often I think those people are acting or manipulating, only to quickly banish that dehumanizing thought. The ideology runs deep: crying = weakness.
What I have found through this healing process of letting go in some instances and fighting back in others is that crying is healing. It is rejuvenating. It makes you young. This entrenched script of crying=weakness is difficult to flip, but I am learning to embrace a new understanding: strong people cry. The other day I had a good, merited cry, but I stopped. It wasn't the uncontrollable crying of the past. I was able to vent and not feel ashamed.
It was one of those moments, that later in life, I will see as a turning point, and I am grateful for it. Because now, I don't feel like a fucking clenched fist.
What about you? Do you let yourself cry? Or are you trying to front with a tough exterior that needs to be broken down? Think about it. We all deserve to be human, even if our parents or others taught us otherwise.
Dr. Jesú Estrada,