"Tears are the language God understands the most." That's what my friend Toni says. I believe. In my journey into womanhood, I have found it necessary to learn to cry. Not because I have more permission to cry, as a woman. Because I have begun to understand the need for me to cry, as a woman.
Growing up in the male world, tears were an open invitation to have some opinionated young man attempt to stuff my head in a toilet - not that they really needed an invitation. I quickly learned to cry on the inside. The problem with this is that crying on the inside is like refusing to go to the bathroom. Sooner or later, it is going to come out.
My father found tears to be unacceptable. It wasn't until many years later that I was able to understand why. He learned to turn off his feelings as a mechanism of survival. He taught me how to turn off my feelings as well. And I did so, not for the same reasons, but for the same purpose. I suppose I should have thanked him.
In transition, the feelings were more than could be turned off. Neither did I want to turn them off. It was as though I had been given a get out of jail free card. No longer, I thought, are my feelings invalid. No longer are tears a sign of weakness.
With the feelings, came the tears. The problems was that I was still trying to "hold it", and I didn't know how to set my tears free. They would begin to come, and then came that part of me, having learned not to cry, that simply shut the tears off.
Then one day, the object of my first "girlhood" crush heard part of a conversation, which he took out of context. He made it very clear that he was unhappy with me. When I finally asked him if he was mad at me, he said that he was disappointed in me.
I would have favored anything in the world than for that man to be disappointed in me, and the tears flowed, not quite as impressively as Niagara Falls. In the same moment that I was experiencing the first breaking of my female heart, I was also realizing that these were woman feelings, and woman tears.
I have since come to know that many little girls were also discouraged from crying. Many women born biologically female, have experienced the same unacceptability of tears. But tears for anyone, should not just be accepted, they should be encouraged. It has taken some time, but I have learned to cry.
The most healing, the most powerful, and the most important tears are the ones I cry for no particular reason at all. They are the tears I cry because I simply need to cry. For I have discovered that crying is a necessary part of being a woman. That's why we love watching those movies and reading those books.
As the tears flow, there is a cleansing of the soul. There is a removal of the poisons of life. There is an opening of the heart to all things wonderful. And the ability to feel is placed back into the realm of the ability to simply be. Where it belongs. Until life pushes it back into the daily struggles. At which time it once again becomes necessary for me to simply cry.
I cried today. I cried because life presented to me another situation that hurt. I stayed strong until it was ok for me to cry, and then I cried. It hurt. It healed. It helped. And it once again I am reminded that today I am in possession of woman feelings and woman tears.
It is good for me to cry. Not because as a woman I have discovered a right to produce tears. Not because there isn't some need for men to do the same (I guess I wouldn't really know much about that). Because as a child of God, I feel no closer to my maker, than when I understand this simple truth, “Tears are the language God understands the most.”
© 11/15/2011, Stephanie Mott
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