I am someone who cries over just about anything. I am a very emotional and sentimental person, which makes it very hard to hide my emotions.
One of my all time favorite movies is "Moulin Rouge." No matter how many times I've seen it, I always seem to ball my eyes out by the end of the movie. A while back I asked a friend of mine to watch it with me. When it got to the point in the film where the song "Come What May" plays, I started to tear up. My friend turned to me and said, "Are you crying?" and proceeded to laugh about it. Seeing as how I was crying over a very romantic, borderline cheesy song and scene, I saw the humor in it as well and laughed off my embarrassment.
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F08%2F07%2F6360614237900222881013809923_tumblr_nwq52pcB7y1qdtcexo3_500.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=176&h=ad6862b6b79de21a764fed271ead659bb4e421d5116b999595927af2fd98fe40&size=980x&c=2838223524 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F08%252F07%252F6360614237900222881013809923_tumblr_nwq52pcB7y1qdtcexo3_500.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D176%26h%3Dad6862b6b79de21a764fed271ead659bb4e421d5116b999595927af2fd98fe40%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2838223524%22%7D" expand=1]
Then we get to the end of the film, and let's just say, I'm a mess. There is no way I can possibly stop the tears at this point. As the end credits began to roll, my friend turned to me and said, "Are you seriously crying? It's just a movie". She laughed and my only response was to jokingly say, "Shut up!" and laugh away the embarrassing tears. I didn't think much of it at the time, but it wasn't until after she left that I thought to myself, "Why was it so funny that I was crying?".
When you either witness or experience something sad, isn't it a natural response to cry? The end of "Moulin Rouge" is heartbreaking, and so I felt heartbroken. My body's natural and immediate response was to cry. So if that's the case, then why am I embarrassed about it?
I remember back when "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" part two was released in theaters. I had gone a few weeks after its release with one of my friends who hadn't seen it yet. I had previously seen it with my family, so I knew what to expect, but even that didn't prevent me from crying during the film. The friend I went with was a die-hard Harry Potter fan, so I was expecting him to have quite an emotional response as well.
Throughout the film when something sad happened, I would glance toward him to see how he was reacting. No matter what, I was always greeted with the same blank stare, but with tears in his eyes that never fell. He looked like he was struggling and like he was ready to just breakdown, but not a single tear dropped.
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F08%2F07%2F6360614290744817371768787805_tumblr_o0dyt5r4WY1s25bcfo3_500.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=577&h=2b74910ee074bc69e2cdd772283adfac82b5be9e1411d63ac74bd8e2068de26f&size=980x&c=1675757300 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F08%252F07%252F6360614290744817371768787805_tumblr_o0dyt5r4WY1s25bcfo3_500.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D577%26h%3D2b74910ee074bc69e2cdd772283adfac82b5be9e1411d63ac74bd8e2068de26f%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1675757300%22%7D" expand=1]
When the movie ended and we walked out of the theater, I turned to him and saw that he composed himself. Not a single trace of evidence that he might be sad was to be seen. I was completely baffled, especially because of the film we just saw. Not only was it "Harry Potter," but it was the last "Harry Potter." It had some of the most devastating scenes I've ever seen, which had me balling my eyes out of course. But him? Nope.
I asked him, "How the heck were you not crying that whole time?" His response was, "I was going to, but I held it back."
I don't understand. Why would you hold back an emotion that is begging to be released? I asked him why, to which he responded, "Well, most guys don't cry. Also, it would be kind of awkward." Of course, I recognized that "boys don't cry" nonsense, but what I didn't recognize was the awkwardness of it. Why is it awkward to cry?
And then I understood that it was because of the vulnerability that crying gives off. When you cry in front of others, you are completely exposing your raw emotion, leaving you open and vulnerable. I can see how that would make you want to hide it. But there is something that most people don't understand.
Being vulnerable is not being weak.
Vulnerability seems to have a negative connotation to many people. It is no secret that people push men not to cry because it shows them as being weak or "unmanly." Nowadays I even hear women being told, "Don't let them see you cry because when they see you cry then they see you when you're weak."
I don't think crying makes you weak. I think it makes you stronger. Crying is your body's way of processing, responding and healing from a situation. Bottling up the tears only makes the struggle harder and prevents you from properly responding in a natural way. Crying about something helps build a stronger emotional resistance to it later. It helps you deal with similar sadness that you might experience again in the future. Not only that, but if you continue to build up your walls, refusing to let the emotion out, then eventually the weight of it all will be too much and your walls will come crashing down, giving you a horrible breakdown.
Emotion is natural and honest. Saying that a boy shouldn't cry is equivalent to saying a human shouldn't emote. What makes human beings so special is that we are able to communicate how we feel by expressing our emotions on different levels. Whether it be screaming because you're angry, laughing because you're overjoyed, or crying hysterically because you are upset, it is valid. Your emotions are valid. The way your body naturally responds is valid. What is the point of hiding our emotions when it is something that comes so naturally to us?
Emotion is communication. No one can help or give you the response you need if you don't express how you feel. Stop telling boys and girls not to cry because it shows their weakness. Stop abiding by the "boys don't cry" rule. Stop encouraging the idea that crying makes you weak.
Crying does not make you weak. It makes you honest.
[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F08%2F07%2F636061435054805849-1643050731_tumblr_o3cvqbcRwH1vn1d6bo1_500.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=852&h=d2be1257b792b28c2bfe0a0f60119f38107aa564b83ca8500cffb9ece3feac39&size=980x&c=2669257144 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F08%252F07%252F636061435054805849-1643050731_tumblr_o3cvqbcRwH1vn1d6bo1_500.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D852%26h%3Dd2be1257b792b28c2bfe0a0f60119f38107aa564b83ca8500cffb9ece3feac39%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2669257144%22%7D" expand=1]