Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Don't Cry I

I know different parents teach their children different tactics about dealing with life, but sometimes certain issues don’t come up for whatever reason - maybe a parent has a fear that if they do teach about this one thing, then their child will somehow develop it or suffer through it - like bad karma of some sort. When I was younger, I was taught to be polite: say “please” and “thank you” to people who I would come across. I was taught how to sit properly, help with homework and of course, don’t let the boys touch you. Boy did that advice go a long way. All these things my parents have taught me are wonderful, but sometimes you have to ask yourself: what about life? What about the other things like anxiety, depression, bad breakups and divorces or nervous breakdowns? What about life’s struggles that we sit here now, as adults wondering, “why me”? If you were lucky enough to have been taught all of this, then hats off to your parents or guardians. They certainly don’t teach these types of things at school, unless the kid is going to a guidance counselor.

During my childhood years way into adulthood, I heard my mom say many of times, “Oh don’t cry mama - don’t cry, please!” She wasn’t saying that crying was bad for me, but she just wanted me to be this happy-go-lucky type of person that wore a smile on my face 24/7. I was never taught that crying was a healthy outlet for me. I didn’t know how to deal with certain things in life. When my first boyfriend had broken it off with me, I didn’t know what to do other than sit inside my room and secretly sob, where nobody could hear me. It would upset my mom if she saw me crying. I remember when I found years ago that a girl that I had been seeing was dating more than five people besides myself and dealing drugs on the side as well. I had to end it. The pain I felt was so intense. I cried so hard that evening - it must have been 2am and my mom heard me. She walked inside my room and asked, “Whassamadda?” To her, someone must have died, but it was only my heart. She didn’t say one word other than bring me out to the living room and made me hot tea with honey. She just sat there and said absolutely nothing. She just watched me sob and drink my tea. That was all I really needed from her at the time. She then went into the kitchen and sliced a potato. She placed two round little potato slices on each of my eyelids.  It took the swelling away. My eyes had become little slits from crying so much. The salt blew my lids up like balloons. I’ll never forget that night.

Some people don’t know how to comfort others when they are sad, and that’s okay. What my mom did for me that night will never be forgotten. It was her way of being there for me, giving me the emotional support that I needed. These days are sometimes similar, except I have a wife that I tell mostly everything to. Sometimes I don’t want to burden her with the things that are heavy upon my heart, so I secretly keep it in and try to do things like exercise or write to get it all out. I know I can tell her everything, but sometimes I just don’t want to. I can’t. I’m used to keeping it all inside, but when will the time come when it just comes out automatically on its own, making an unexpected appearance? That will be the day I dread the most.

But most of the time, I try not to cry.

To read part II, please visit this page.

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Myriam said...

Two posts in one day?
I don't know where or when I learned not to cry. I can't remember anyone telling me not to, maybe I never saw anyone cry. I do cry, I cry a lot but not in the presence of anyone.
I remember a couple of years ago wanting so much to have someone I could cry with (or to) but even as I drove to meet that friend or a therapist, once in their presence, my tears dried up and waited until I left.
I don't know what's worse. I seem to think that being able to cry in front of someone is a great gift.

Deb said...

The first one didn't count as "today" because it was written at 4am. I guess if you think about it, a lot of men have a hard time showing their feelings because some, or most of them were taught to be "tough"---"act like a man", and when they do show their feelings, it's rare. I guess I'm just a hormonal train wreck at times. Don't answer that. It's not fair that you know me.

Cathy Ilardi said...

I HATE when Joseph gets hurt, and he says to me "but Mom, I didn't even cry." It drives me crazy that Joe is proud about that. I tell Joseph, "but it's ok if you cry."

I read this book called, "Real Boys ~ Rescuing Our Boys from the Myths of Boyhood." It's all about how we socialize our boys to "toughness and manhood" and how detrimental the effects could be.

It's OK to cry!!!!
Great post - loved the potato part!

Love ya - Cathy

CP said...

I think a good cry is cathartic. It is a necessary evil sometimes. It feels really good to bawl your eyes out on occassion. Nothing wrong with a good oldfashioned tearfest. Brings a lot of clarity to the soul.

the walking man said...

I know how and when I learned that there is no cleansing factor in tears. It was the day I learned the value of two words.

"fuck 'em"

Ananji said...

That's a sad post, Deb. It is so sad when people make apologies or don't feel justified for feeling shitty. Sometimes it just IS; sometimes you just can't avoid it. I think when we avoid it too long, it builds up into something that DOES turn into a nervous breakdown. (I speak from experience.)

I wonder why some of us are like that. When my brother died, I felt there should be a limit put on my grief because, after all, he was ONLY my brother. (Not my child.) Hearing myself say that now seems crazy, but it's what we do.

Sad that finding that balance is so tricky. After reading your post and hearing my own comments, I've now decided that in addition to my daily practice of 10 minute quiet meditation, maybe I should also engage in some sort of 10 minute cursing tirade just to let it all out... both of these things, of course, in the privacy and solitude of my own home.


Deb said...

Cathy (my sister!) : “How you doin’ tough guy???” Well I think Joseph’s doing pretty good seeing that he let out a few tears on the 4th of July, but I totally see your point. It’s gotta be so hard on boys, especially when they’re in school with other kids and how other parents raise their kids differently. They must get so confused. And I’m not saying that mom was tough on us, but she just hated to see us sad - so she would say to us, ”Don’t cry mama”, hoping that we would be happy again. Could you imagine being a boy living under dad’s roof? (haha) Thanks for commenting! Love ya too!!! xxoo

CP: It’s definitely good when it’s needed. Being bottled up can really bring a lot of tension, but sometimes I have to wonder, when it is too much... I think you and I have a lot of similarities, so when you express yourself to me, you’re telling me a little bit about myself. So thank you! {{hugs}}

The Walking Man: It takes a lot to put your mind in that mode... I give you credit! You’ll have to train me, Mark. I need a bit of a “fug-em” attitude adjustment! I hate caring so much. :(

Ananji: In my opinion, there is no amount or limit of grief that you should hold up against a brother, sister, mother or father. It’s all how “YOU” feel. And what you’ve stated, about letting all out in the privacy of your own home -- they teach that in therapy to vent in positive ways. Last year I was going through some turmoil and I had a personal trainer who literally kicked my butt. She put me up against a kick boxing bag and lemme tell ya ------that bag was HURTIN’... and so was I that same night! But it felt so good to kick the sh*t out of something and let it all out. When I meditate and pray, I usually end up in tears - that’s always. Even in church, at the end of the service, I’m bawling. It’s very emotional for me. Thanks so much for sharing that with me. {{hugs}}

Xmichra said...

I tell Kira to cry it out & talk when she's good. She usually cries for all of about ten seconds after that (because she wants to talk!) but that's how it As a result (maybe) she doesn't cry often and is pretty jovial.

paz13 said...

Never thought much about crying. You either do it or you don't. It depends on the individual. Nothing wrong with crying. Better than keeping things bottled up inside.