Yes, they do. Big boys cry big tears. Big fat hot salty tears that make your face all wet and sticky and – importantly – make you feel better when you’re done. There are a few grown-ups who would feel much better about life if they just had a good cry about all the crap they’ve dealt with over the years instead of stewing in it. Go on, let it all out. Then move on. I know it’s hard though, especially if you’re a man and you’re concerned about what people will think.
I’m only three and already I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me ‘big boys don’t cry,’ when I am upset about something. First of all: Yes, I am big. I am three. But I’m not that big! Mummy only just took away my dummy (I’m not an idiot. Dummy fairy? Please. But I was ready. Sort of) and I’m not even at school yet. I still don’t have all the words I need to describe my feelings (and even if I did sometimes they are just too big to deal with in the moment) so I cry to release them. Sometimes I lash out and hit but I’ve been told that is not okay so what am I supposed to do? Swallow my feelings deep down somewhere so that they can bubble up later on? Add them to the mix of hormones and parental resentment I’m told comes during my teenage years? That doesn’t sound healthy to me.
To that guy who told me was ‘crying over nothing.’ Did you ask? It might seem like nothing to you but it was something to me. And besides, it was none of your business. Judging by the look Mummy gave you, I’m surprised you were still standing after that to be honest. I’m not going to tell you why I was crying that day but generally, I cry for a whole lot of reasons: I’m hurt, I’m scared, I’m exhausted, I’m hungry (ok, I can say when I’m hungry but sometimes I’m so tired I don’t realise it), I can’t understand why I can’t have a lollipop for breakfast/stick my finger in the plug socket (it’s just the right size!)/play with the oven… Or I just don’t feel right. So I cry. And then I get on with life. Or fall asleep.
I don’t care what you think (yet – so be mindful of the messages you’re sending). Big Boys DO cry. And it helps.
This post was inspired by a recent post over at Redpeffer, on gender stereotyping.
Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici at freedigitalphotos.net