When life sends us on emotional rollercoasters, we are forced to ride them out. But for different people, there are different ways of dealing. Some will scream, some will isolate themselves, some will introspect, and some will cry.
Crying is probably the reaction most expected in times of distress, and yet, so many of us are chastising those who do. Girls who cry are drama queens, and men who cry are weak. How did we get here? How did we start considering such a natural reaction as taboo?
Most of us seem to understand that the people in our life will have different personal coping mechanisms. When we’re getting to know someone, one of the first things we learn is how to detect their signs of distress. We acknowledge stress-eating, yelling, fighting, and abusing alcohol as coping mechanisms, and try to help those when we recognize their presence. But it’s like the second crying is addressed, the tone changes every time.
At some point, we started to judge those who cry primarily on their gender. Girls are expected to cry when they get emotional, and men are pressured into holding it together. This doesn’t make any sense. Men are more respected for shouting and fighting than they are for crying. Without even realizing it, we are condoning violent activities and shunning calm ones for men.
In the year 2016, there are so many things wrong with this. Women have defied gender stereotypes about being dainty and domesticated, and men have become more adaptable to roles we used to consider strictly feminine. There are women in my life who haven’t shed a tear in years, YEARS, and men who do not resort to violence when angered. Not every girl chooses crying as a way to self-soothe, and not every man feels the need for aggression. We can throw around studies about the differences between testosterone and estrogen all day, but even still, there will be girls who yell and guys who cry, and neither should be singled out for their choice because of their gender.
We need to start recognizing crying as a coping mechanism like any other. A person, whether it be a man or a woman, should not be told to suck it up if they choose to cry in a time of distress. We need to step off our pedestals and realize that people who choose to cry are relieving their stress in the best way they know how, just like the rest of us who may choose not to.
Having said all of this, there will still be people who translate my tears as a sign of weakness. But even amidst my tears, I have accomplished something at the end of every day. My day is not wasted away by my emotions, and I am a consistently productive person. I have friends and I am loved. I am not weak because I cry; I am simply human.