Hey all. I’m not sure if any of you have noticed, but I haven’t posted in a while. There’s a few reasons for that. If you’ve read any of my previous posts you probably know that I sometimes struggle keeping a clear mental state. And lately, that has been a bit harder than normal.
Both my grandparents are pretty sick. My emotions have been running haywire. The attack on my mind has been nonstop.
I used to think that ignoring my emotions was how you battled them. Being hard meant being strong. The farther down I could push my emotions, the less I reacted to them, the more successful I was at mastering them, or so I thought. To be sensitive was to be weak. To cry was to show weakness and as a black woman in America, I was not meant to be weak.
It wasn’t just the way I was raised. My mother is actually quite sensitive and is the strongest person I know. Yet growing up I was more like my dad. My dad is fearless and strong. I never saw him cry. He always seemed to get things done and didn’t seem to be ruled by emotion. Yet each of my parents showed me the beauty and the power in both being sensitive, and the ability to make decisions without being ruled by emotion. Yet for me, I couldn’t seem to master balance and emotion in the same breathe so I chose to be more like my father. He always was on top of his emotions, never underneath their power.
So why couldn’t I be more like that? For most of my life that’s what I aimed to do. I would do everything I could not to cry. And when I did, I would get so angry with myself for every tear that fell. I still do sometimes. It’s exhausting, but I thought it was necessary. How else could I possibly get through all the trials and tribulations of life?
In every relationship I’ve had I seemed to fall on one end of the spectrum or the other. In one relationship I was hard, emotionless and blunt. You could say I wasn’t the best friend a girl could have. In another I was overly emotional, cried all the time and seemed to never find a balance. I was told I was weak, a crybaby and easily manipulated because of my outward expressions of emotion. It was as if, no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t successful.
And then, in my twenties, something in me starting to change. It started at church. Every time I would walk into church something would cause me to cry. At first I had no idea why, I would just become upset that I was crying.
God was changing something in me. He was allowing all the walls I had placed around my emotions, around my heart, to fall in His presence. He was changing what I thought about my tears. See, God is sensitive. Jesus cried. And He is not weak. So why did I think my tears meant weakness?
It took a long time to learn to see my tears as my strength. To look myself in the mirror, in the midst of my tears, and realize that as they fell, I grew.
My greatest victories have happened through my tears. I have forgiven through tears. I have been delivered as my tears fell. I learned to love myself in the midst of my emotions. I have learned to confront my emotions. To acknowledge them and let the tears fall. To move forward even with puffy eyes and a wet shirt. See, I realized that neglecting my emotions enabled my weakness, yet my tears could be partnered with my strength.
So lately, I’ve cried quite a bit. And I walk. Forward. Through my tears. And this makes me stronger than I have ever been. I don’t always feel strong for crying. Sometimes, I still get upset with myself as the tears begin to fall. I have to constantly affirm myself in my emotions. That they are normal. That they aren’t wrong. That I am entitled to have them. That I am entitled to feel. That I have to acknowledge them in order to move through them, in order to remain balanced and in control of my mind.
So cry when you feel the urge. Don’t be afraid to cry in public. Don’t be afraid to feel. For if you don’t acknowledge your emotions you give them a power over you. You become ruled by them. But if you let the tears fall and keep moving forward, you will find a strength you didn’t realize you had.