Crying is OK, Man.

Photo: Sam Taylor Wood’s “Crying Men”

When I was a small child, I would cry a lot, mainly because of silly children stuff, like a fight with my brothers or after being scolded by my parents for not obeying them. I didn’t mind crying then, but at some point I realized crying was shameful. When you cry, you let others know that you are emotionally vulnerable and weak. I had absorbed without realizing the cultural notion that men weren’t supposed to cry. Men are strong and have no time for letting others know they feel sad. Feeling angry was fine, but feeling sad was embarrassing. I told myself then that I would avoid crying to the best of my abilities, especially crying in front of other people. For an emotional being like me that didn’t quite work out most of the time, but those were my intentions for a long time.

I started thinking a little differently when my father experienced depression. Extended periods without seeing his family so that he could save to build a house deteriorated his mental health. That was an interesting period of our family’s history because I could see that my dad, the man of the house, was also emotionally vulnerable. In addition to therapy and medication, he turned to self-help readings and religion during this time. Bible readings and religious retreats were part of his path to recovery, but nothing quite helped him as being close to his loved ones and allowing himself time to heal. I remember he once told me that crying is the only activity humans can instinctively do without the aid of others when they are born. I am not sure how true this is, but this resonated with me. Crying can’t be that bad if Mother Nature wants us to come into the world as pathetic, tiny crying creatures.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel better after crying whenever I’m feeling down. I’m still wary of crying in public, however. That’s a stigma I will have to dismantle throughout my life. Experts say crying is actually good for you on a biochemical level, too, so keep that in mind next time you start sobbing like a baby. Remember too that everybody has inside of them a complex array of feelings, including negative feelings, that can hurt. It comes with being a human. Even Carly Rae Jepsen, one of the persons I trust the most, says not crying will make you seem like a zombie. Crying is OK, man.

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