Song of the Day – Grown Men Don’t Cry
For weeks now I have been posting songs of the day about strength. I’ve told myself and written about the need to be strong and push forward with life. It’s helped me, but it’s not been realistic. I’ve told myself being strong means not letting yourself completely grieve sadness and pain. Don’t get my wrong, I have cried some recently as I face a huge hell in life, but I haven’t truly cried. I haven’t sat with a single person and just poured. I haven’t let someone see me completely vulnerable. I’ve wanted to be strong. What I thought was strong anyways.
On his 2001 album Tim McGraw released a song called Grown Men Don’t Cry. It takes on the stereotypical assumption that to be a man you can’t cry or show real emotion. The song tells the listener that it is fine to cry. That everyone does.
I’ve been fighting with every ounce of energy I have lately to not cry. Anyone who follows me on Twitter or reads my blog will have seen that I have been extremely emotional, but few people can say they have seen me cry recently. My therapist can’t even say that. I’ve been afraid to allow myself to grieve any pains I feel. I guess I’ve been afraid to show full weakness and vulnerability to anyone.
I’ve pumped myself full of songs about being strong and standing tall, but you know, while that is great you do have to grieve at some point. Until now I think I was fooling myself thinking that everything in my life would right itself if I just kept trucking forward. It’s a lie though. Sometimes you have to break. Sometimes you have to fall to your knees and let yourself go. I don’t know why I thought I had to hide my crying and pain. It’s not like I’m some butch man trying to act macho, but I did feel that way. I sat with my best friend last Friday and the second I entered the room and sat in front of her my emotions went solid. No tears formed. I just spoke. Then this past Sunday I met with a different friend that I haven’t seen since last Halloween.
He looked me in the eyes and said, “this may seem like a random comment being that we are just enjoying getting out of our apartments, but it needs to be said. You need to cry. Go in a room, turn the lights off and let everything out. There is nothing wrong with that.”
Tim McGraw sang the same sentiment in his song Grown Men Don’t Cry. I have to admit that I needed to breakdown. Then last night (and for half of today) I finally did. I feel weak and exposed now(although writing about it is really exposing myself, but in a different way) and yet at the same time I feel human for the first time in weeks. I feel like I couldn’t really start to grow from my experiences until I allowed myself to hurt, really hurt and feel that hurt.
Last Thursday a new friend of mine said in a taxi, “you really need to tell people what’s going on with you. You need to talk. You need to speak.” I didn’t listen to what you he said and kept my walls up until last night. Why? I have no clue because he was right as well.
With all this in mind I realize how dumb I’ve been. I’ve not truly cried because I wanted to be strong (yes I have cried, but I haven’t truly let my emotions out). Well now, maybe now I actually understand the true meaning of Whitney Houston’s song I Didn’t Know My Own Strength. I finally released the flood gates. Maybe that’s what strength really is. I’m king at building walls and damns. But that’s not strength, that’s fear. Allowing myself to feel my emotions and grieve. Maybe that’s what strength is. Maybe? I don’t know really. I don’t feel better, but I feel very aware of my reality.
But as Tim McGraw said, “I don’t know why they say grown men don’t cry.” Lord knows we do and that it’s necessary to life at times. But it’s like I wrote about last week when I posted the Dog Days are Over by Florence and the Machine, you do have to let your emotions flow out of your fingertips. Just because a battle or war ends doesn’t mean everything is fine and dandy in the world. You then have to start the cleanup process.