You’re FINE, they tell us.
You’re a big girl aren’t you?
Big girls don’t cry; do they?
As little girls, we’re told this all the time. Wipe those tears my dear. You’re fine. Even when we’re clearly in distress, crying & upset we’re told to cut it out. Stop crying. Everyone is looking at you. You’re causing a scene. Just stop. Some are even told if they want to cry they’ll be given something to cry about.
Swallow Your Feelings
Before we even hit grade school we’re taught to swallow our feelings and hide our emotions. You’re fine. Harsh darling. That’s how big girls are supposed to act. This is so prevalent in society that when I decided to speak at Braedon’s celebration of life I kept saying to myself, “as long as I don’t cry.” I didn’t want the crowd to see me cry. They couldn’t see me cry. I would hold it together.
I Would not Cry
In fact, I rehearsed my speech, reading it out loud again and again trying to desensitize myself from the words I had written about my beloved Braedon. When I told the story of the first time he got on the ice with Forest Hills Falcons, I would not cry. When I talked about how loving him was woven into every fibre of my being, I would not cry. When I ended my speech with a line from our favourite song, the one we’d sing in the car together. The one that was about loss, I would not cry.
As long as I don’t cry.
My hands trembled; my palms were sweaty and my knees weakened as I saw the crowd had spilled into the hallway filling up the foyer. Deep breaths I told myself; just don’t cry. My voice was shaky and it cracked a few times and I choked to get out to the words I had written about my beloved boy but I didn’t cry.
What if we Changed the Story
What if we told little girls and little boys too, that crying was ok. What if we encouraged them to express their feelings. What if we took the opportunity to talk and connect. What if we didn’t dismiss and silence them. Maybe we’d have more adults unafraid to feel and show their emotions. Maybe we’d have less depression and addiction. Maybe we’d have more joy, more happiness and more contentment.
Maybe we wouldn’t have mother’s trying to speak at their only child’s funeral worried on top of everything else that she might cry. She might show her emotion, make a scene or make others uncomfortable.
It’s ok to Cry. Crying is Healthy
Crying is healthy. Feelings are meant to be felt. It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to feel and to show your emotion. It’s ok to cry. Even in front of a crowd it’s ok to cry. You do need to pretend your ok.
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