As a child, I didn’t allow myself to cry in front of people.
Whenever I was in pain, I hid my tears from everyone, even from my mother and father. Instead, I only released my tears by myself, smothered in pillows and blankets. I always longed for a shoulder to cry on because crying by myself was exhausting.
In my household, you only cried about certain things (e.g. death and tragedy). My parents taught me crying was for the weak. I didn’t want anyone calling me weak; I had to be strong. I tried to develop thicker skin in my teenage years, but suppressing my emotions made me angry and anxious. It wasn’t until recently, I found out I was uncomfortable with vulnerability.
When you cry, you are vulnerable.
I have never felt comfortable trusting anyone to see me and love me in that vulnerable place, yet I craved comfort and validation. I admit I am sensitive. In fact, I fully believe I was born that way, delicate and creative, a stark contrast from my siblings. My mother never understood why I was “so darn emotional” and “out of control.” I wished to express my feelings completely; my fear of crying was greater than my fear of lashing out.
Thankfully, I’m no longer afraid of crying.
It took me a long time to be fine with crying. In fact, now, I cry a lot. I cry during the day, at night, in my 2013 Jetta. I’ve also cried in the bathtub, on the phone, and even with my mother and dad consoling me as an adult. I cried on my 23rd birthday, and I cried last night holding myself together with trembling hands. I’m not ashamed of it anymore. I needed permission to cry, once I got that, I found freedom in expressing my true feelings.
If life hasn’t taught me anything, it has taught me that it is OK to cry and to express the pain you feel because pain is merely part of life. I’m thankful that I can now express my pain openly and process it. I hope that in these words, you can find the strength to express your pain through crying, too.