Once I thought tears were a weakness. Once I thought I should be ashamed of not being strong enough to control my tears. So I hid them, from everyone, and never let anyone see me cry. I had learned early on as a child that tears only made daddy angrier, made him not listen, and sometimes made him hit.
The same thing happened in my first relationship, too, at least, my first grown up relationship. He would be ugly, angry, and sometimes even vulgar, but when I cried, he’d only get worse.
Tears only made men angry, made them violent, made them shut down and not listen. They said tears were emotional blackmail, instead of simply being true expressions of pain, hurt, sadness.
So I learned early on to hide the tears as much as possible. I hated it when I cried, feeling foolish, weak.
But one day, when the weight of the world had been too much, I cried. The phone instantly rang, as though he knew I needed him. I tried to stifle the tears, the choke in my voice, knowing that I must always be happy, always be strong, or else he would run or get angry or shut me down, like those before him had.
But he heard me anyway.
The question asked, “Are you crying?”
And then the long pause before I answered, afraid of speaking the truth, terrified of what the response would be, but unwilling to lie to him.
“Yes,” was my whispered response.
There was no hesitation in his voice when he said, “Oh, baby, what’s wrong?’
Honestly, I couldn’t answer him. I didn’t know what was wrong. This is something many men do not understand, that sometimes, tears do not necessarily mean anything is wrong, but at times, there can be nothing right, even if there is nothing wrong. Men don’t seem to understand this.
I told him I didn’t know, and the tears began falling again, this time, because I just knew he was about to shut down on me, blow up, get angry…
Instead, he said, “I’ll be right over.”
And he came… not even five minutes later, and when I opened the door, the first thing he did was put his arms around me, hold me close to him, kiss me on the forehead, and tell me that everything was going to be okay. And I knew, in his arms, right at the moment, everything was okay.
It didn’t matter what was happening in the world outside, or the reason that I cried. All that mattered, right in that moment, was that I was not alone.
And I cried… and he didn’t try to fix anything, he didn’t try to tell me what to do, and he didn’t try to make me laugh when I didn’t want to. All he did was let me cry.
There was no anger. There was no pride. There was no turning the tables around to ask what he’d done wrong.
None of the things to which I had become accustomed. He just let me cry.
In that moment, I learned that, with the right influence and support, with the love he held in his heart for me, that tears could be as much of a strength as anything else.
One day, he was gone, and my tears could not be contained, and I have searched my whole life, not for someone who could make me smile when life was good, but rather for someone who could let me cry, and make it safe to do so.
Many years later, another came to me, and he held me close for a time. And I remember the first time he saw me cry too.
He had hurt me, broken my trust, and he knew he was wrong. My tears were because of him, and he knew it.
When the tears came, I braced myself for the retaliation that would inevitably come. As I stood in the kitchen, my back turned to him, and my shoulders heaved with the sobbing tears I could not control. I knew he would explode at any moment.
But that moment never came. Instead, he came up behind me, took the spoon from my hand I was using to cook with, and turned me around, putting his arms around me, and he enveloped me in his love, in his arms, holding me close to him, kissing me on the forehead, and telling me it was going to be okay.
He said he was sorry, so sorry he’d hurt me, and he would not let me go until the tears finally subsided. We talked all night, and he let me explain why he had hurt me so, and when the sun rose that morning, I found myself, my tears finally dried, falling asleep in his arms, spent but safe.
And in that moment, wrapped in his love, I knew that it would okay.
A real woman won’t cry for emotional blackmail or to lay guilt.
Women do not cry to manipulate you or confuse you.
Women do not always cry because you have done something wrong or because anything actually is wrong.
Do not try to fix us; we are not broken. Do not try to make us laugh; for laughter through tears is not real joy. Do not turn it around on you, because we, by nature, are caring and loving creatures, and we will try to ease your pain, and ours will get lost in the process.
Simply hold us close, envelope us in your arms and your love, and let us cry.
There is strength in tears. There is power in genuine emotion.
I will never forget the first time he saw me cry, and let me feel all I needed to feel, and held me close.
I will never forget the time he made me cry, and was man enough to stand before me and ride through the pain with me, allowing me my feelings, and promising me nothing, except that he was there for me… nothing more, nothing less.
I will never forget the first time he saw me cry….
Love and stuff,