Cry Like a Man
This entry has been inspired by some recent experiences I’ve witnessed or read about the strongly misguided ideas of how a man should conduct himself emotionally. Just a couple of days ago I went to see “The Fault In Our Stars” with a male friend of mine. When we were making plans to see it he shared with me that he had been wanting to see it and that he didn’t know of anyone that he could go see it with. He has two very close friends that will go see movies and have breakfast together at least once a week. They’ve known each other for over 10yrs and he knew that if he had suggested such a movie to them, they would ridicule him for any genuine emotional reaction he would have to the film. May I add that these men are all over the age of 40.
While in the movie theater, a group of pre-teens entered with a chaperone and scattered themselves around us. Just a few seats from us was a young boy who spent most of the movie interested with who in his group was crying because of the film. He himself was moved throughout the film, as well as equally embarrassed. It wasn’t because of the response of his peers, he sat with two girls and they were focused on the film. He was the source of his own discomfort. So much so that at one point he put on his hooded sweatshirt and stated; “It’s so you won’t see me cry.” Two things occurred to me having witnessed this; 1) When put in one group, the maturity levels of young boys and girls is as different as an orange is to a banana. 2) At less than 13yrs of age, this boy already had such a strong sense of shame and embarrassment in crying in front of his peers.
Just before wrtiting this entry I read a post on facebook where a man stated that while watching the movie “Rudy”, he “wept like a little girl.” Though I appreciate him sharing how the movie touched him, it saddens me that for a lot of the male gender expressing emotion can be described with negative connection to women. In choosing to be a bit of a smart ass, I commented on his post and said; “I'd actually say you wept like a man, unless you physically turn into a little girl when you start to cry? Then I'd say go on "America's Got Talent" or put a video on youtube. I'm sure you'd make some money somehow.”
My father wasn’t perfect and I never had any delusions that he ever was. The first time I realized that my father was more than the bad things I’d heard my mother say about him was when he wept at the news that my mother wanted a divorce. He wept from a place of pain, sorrow, humility and regret and he did so without any shame. I didn’t know it at the time, but that is the best thing I’ve ever seen my father do. I know that it is hard for me to ask for help from family and friends, but I don’t know that I have ever been afraid to cry in front of someone if that was what I was feeling.
I invite you to share this with any boy or man in your life because the best way to grow beyond what we are is to see that growth in someone that we can identify with. It doesn’t matter if you are gay, straight, bisexual, transgender, young or old. When you cry, you cry like YOU cry. BE MAN ENOUGH TO OWN IT! And if you shame your other male friends for it, pick out a nice color of paint for those walls you keep building up because they’ll be keeping you company when times get tough.
In closing, I will leave you with this final thought; A man that thinks crying makes a man weak is already the weakest man he knows. This is of course my own opinion…and my blog.