Thursday, May 10, 2007

I want to cry

No, I don't have any particular reason to cry right now. I just want to be able to cry.

You see, growing up, I quickly learned that certain behaviors caused other boys to pick on me. As a result, I convinced myself that boys don't cry. As I grew into adulthood, in an effort appear "normal", boys don't cry evolved into real men don't cry. Intellectually I know that isn't true - Over the years, especially since I've been in the church, I've seen lots of men, real men, cry. But, I've been suppressing my emotions for so long that it's second nature to me now. I can't even cry if I want to.

My mother died a year and a half ago after a long battle with cancer. At her funeral, I felt the saddest I ever remember feeling - but I still would not let myself cry. My father was crying, my brothers and sisters were crying, my nieces and nephews were crying, other people who knew and loved my mother were crying. It was difficult to not cry; I couldn't look at other people who were crying. But, I refused to allow myself to cry. I felt that I would be losing control if I cried - because real men don't cry.

I don't know why, but since I accepted my gayness a few months ago, I've felt the urge to cry more often than usual. Sometimes out of sadness, but mostly when I've felt particularly moved. Just last Sunday, we sang "I know that my Redeemer Lives" as our closing hymn and I felt the urge to cry during the hymn. But then my automatic defense mechanisms kicked in and I suppressed the feeling and fought back the tears.

So, how does a middle aged closeted gay man learn to let go? How does he learn to cry?

9 comments:

Beck said...

I don't know how to tell you to "let it all go", but you've got to let it go! There's got to be an outlet somewhere... I cry too easily. I cry at movies. I cry at Testimony meetings. I cry at my daughter's orchestra concert! (And that's just in the last week:))

Just go somewhere in the woods... get away where you can truly be alone. Or come to my house. We'll put on a good chick flick, bear our testimonies and have my daughter play a solo and if that won't make you cry, nothing will!

Love ya, man.

Kengo Biddles said...

It really is just letting yourself cry. Relax yourself, let yourself feel okay that it is to cry. When you feel on the verge, just nod to yourself and let it happen.

That's how it works for me.

-L- said...

I get very emotional at odd times and for odd reasons. I've started to believe that I might mirror my wife's mood. Last night I watched "Night at the Museum," you know, that Ben Stiller movie? Well, I cried.

But I don't cry in public. And seldom in private if people will notice. Sometimes I think I just can't let other people see me feel. Or maybe just can't feel.

Nice post.

Ammon said...

Luv you A.E.

Believe it or not, my father once shouted at me for crying when I was little cause he thought it wasn't what I should be doing, I was too emotional. Needless to say its hard for me to really just cry.

I'm only 18, but I can tell you the only two times I can recall really crying. They were after i told my mother I was gay, and she had studied up on the matter. She came in my room and I just cried.

The last time was after finishing Carol Lynn's "Goodbye, I Love You."
(I get really emotional with books...)

Both experiences made me feel so much better. To be honest, we need to cry. Its healthy for your tear ducts even. And it can heal a lot.

Your wife is always there, and although you arn't the manly man you've been talking of, I bet she will understand better than anyone. You need to get it out, as beck said. She can help.

Luv you again. Great post, and very worth answering. =)

SG said...

You probably don't want to be like me; I'm probably a more extreme version of -L-. If the guy opening his new corner gas station gets choked up at his grand opening, I'd lose it, too.

I've never really tried to keep it all in, except when I have been in really public places and I needed to keep it together because I was speaking or singing or something. But honestly, crying can be pretty therapeutic sometimes.

Here's something that might work (it gets me every time): get the DVD of "Testaments" and watch it. Turn up the volume so you can hear the choir and that wonderful musical theme at the end, after the crucifixion and the resurrection. It's glorious! It isn't sad at all. It's about how Christ is our Savior and Redeemer and how much He loves us. Try it and let me know!

Remember how much we love you, too!

Max Power said...

L,
I'll take your Night at the Museum and up the ante: I cried at the end of Scrubs last week. How gay is that?

ME,
Sometimes I wish I knew how to keep myself from crying so easily. Too bad we can't cut our abilities in half and share them with each other so that we would both be moderate criers.

iwonder said...

Well, I don't know what is worse, not ever crying, or crying all the time. Believe it or not, I am a total cry baby. I cry at movies, when I'm reading books, when I'm watching TV, basically, if I or any one around is feeling emotion, I cry.

And it's not just when I'm sad - it's really any strong emotion that makes me cry, or tear up, or at least get that lump in my throat. I try not to do it in public, but sometimes I cannot help it. However, when I do, I always pretend that I have something in my eye, or I blink really fast and hope it dries up. Pathetic, I know.

I have wondered why I am so incredibly emotional and have such a hard time controlling my emotions. (and why I am so freaking GAY!) I have always felt less "manly" because I am this way, but I have slowly stopped caring. In fact, I am starting to be kind of proud of the fact that I am a man and I have emotions and can let them show.

Anyway, I know that doesn't help you one bit, but I do have a silly idea. It might help you to, I don't know, watch a really, really sad movie all alone, so if you do want to cry, you won't feel embarrassed. It is really therapeutic, and feels good to let the emotion out, even when you are all alone.

Anyway, good luck learning how to cry. (You could always just poke yourself in the eye!)

Kengo Biddles said...

I cry every time I watch "The Incredibles". I cried at the end and throughout "As Good As It Gets". I cry at hallmark cards.

But only when there's no one above toddler-hood around.

-L- said...

Max Power, I've totally cried during Scrubs. Any show with any narration at all is likely to make me cry. Add a bunch of zany residents, and it's bound to hit close to home. :-)