Crying #2

August 9, 2013

An experience I had has resurfaced, after having a conversation with a friend about crying. This is an issue I have always battled with, which I unpacked in the post: What is so wrong with crying?

It’s a driving story.
But before I begin, I would just like to say that I am an awesome driver and if at some point in my life there were ever the opportunity to attain skills in race car driving, I would have taken it…in a heartbeat.

I was on my way to a meeting, but was driving down a road I wasn’t entirely familiar with.
I was momentarily distracted when coming up to a round-about. I looked to my right and saw a car approaching. I was going slower than usual, due to my momentary disorientation, but I was still going to reach the round-about first, so I proceeded.

This car came in fast – I didn’t realise how fast until he was on top of me in the round-about, beeping his horn.

I was startled and raised my hand in apology – although all I had done was be a tad slow. I was in the round-about first and technically I had right of way. But we had both contributed to this moment occurring.
Just 100m ahead we both had to stop due to a red light.

This is when it started to get a wee bit alarming.
He started to blow his horn at me, whilst slamming his hands on his steering wheel, swearing and looking VERY angry. I was watching intently in my rearview mirror.
I started to think that I was pretty much trapped there, if he were to get out of his car and approach me.

Then it got worse.
His window was rolled down and he threw something out of his window and it landed on my roof. It landed with a loud bang – sounding like a full can of soft drink. I never saw what it was.

At this point I started to cry.
His aggression was scaring the living hell out of me.

To my relief, the lights had changed and the traffic started to move. This entire time, he had continued to beep his horn and act slightly unhinged.

I turned left – where there was only one lane on each side of the road – and so did he.
I was shaken, so I pulled over into a parking spot to calm my nerves a bit.

Instead of driving past, he stopped next to me – in the middle of the road – banking up the traffic behind him.

He aggressively started to insult me, saying we could have had an accident.

I replied (with tears), “Yes, OK – but why are you so angry?”

He said because he could have run into me.
I agreed again saying, “Yes, I understand that you could have run into me, but why are you so angry?”

He started to puff up again, but paused and looked out his windscreen.

He spat out, “Sorry” and drove off.

I then released the tears of relief, composed myself and proceeded to my meeting.

I looked a sight when I arrived and believe it or not, I felt a bit ashamed at the fact that I had cried. I even ‘listened to my story’ as I relayed it, hoping it would be deemed that the crying was warranted.

Question #177: Why does it seem like it’s the crying that is judged of its worthiness first – before the aggression?

The encouraging part is that he did apologise in the end –  but –  how would it have unravelled, if I had responded in an aggressive manner in return?

Deep Breath.

x

The_Aggression__by_Uribaani

This is a question I have battled to answer my entire life.

Well, battled may be too strong a word – but it has certainly plagued me throughout my youth and was not until about six years ago that I started to understand my personal love/hate relationship with this mode of expression – mainly due to the stigma that’s attached to it, by the ever-watchful eyes of society.

It fills me with indignation.

As I child, I grew up being a ‘wog’ in a predominantly Anglo location. On many occasions I was bullied because, even though when you looked at me you didn’t see an ethnic girl, I spoke Spanish with my grandmother when she picked me up from my primary school. This, in turn, meant I was fair game to all those who hated themselves and needed to feel better by picking on someone – me.

Although I know NOW, as an adult, why bullies are bullies, what this did to me as a child was to start me on the path of being very, very insecure – desperate for acceptance and belonging. It also awakened the ‘cry-baby’ in me.

This was compounded at home whenever my parents, especially my father, expressed anger towards me when I was a teenager. Although it was probably no different to any other parent/child relationship, whenever I heard that particular unsatisfied tone, I would instantly feel the knot shoot up into my throat, as I desperately tried to hold back the tears – knowing that their arrival would open a new kettle of fish.

Weakness.
Society tells us it’s a sign of weakness.

WHY?

I wonder whether it’s because men are were seen as ‘strong’ and the ‘providers’ – Me Tarzan; You Jane – and men DON’T cry. Well, if being a male is the benchmark of existence and crying is seen as a negative weakness, then what is the males’ counter-balance? How do they let off their feelings of disappointment, frustration and, dare I say, vulnerability?

Violence?
It certainly appears to be a (too) common, ‘manly’ way to express emotion.

Question #160: So if we’re not supposed to cry – what then?

Laughter is considered an important and essential part of our emotional well-being and if balance is to be achieved, surely crying must play an equally paramount role. It’s greatly concerning that this is marred by the ridiculous notion that crying is a no-no and that we all need to ‘man up’.

Man up? No thanks.

Men should cry more.

Crying can represent a myriad of positive things – compassion, empathy, sympathy, joy – why must these traits be snuffed out?
And before people start arguing that they’re not, please understand that females (the predominant criers, due to the conditioning that says it’s a part of our DNA – bollocks!) are always being told to be the ‘compassionate and sensitive ones’ – UNTIL WE ARE – then it’s criticism all the way.

Tori Amos said the following:

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My epiphany (six years ago) happened when I experienced some difficulties with work, coupled with some post-natal depression. I was crying a lot.

My doctor referred me to a psychologist, whom I only saw three times. In that last session, I had decided that I was only rehashing the negative feelings about my issues and that I simply wanted to take some action.
The only problem was that as strong as I am on the inside – and I am – I always ended up having tears in my eyes when discussing frustrating issues with people and was crippled by the thought of being perceived as weak, even though I knew I wasn’t.

She said to me, “Maybe deep down, you think they’re right.”
A-HA moment. Right there.

Due to the decades of entrenched perceptions about what crying entails, I ended up in a Catch-22 state of affairs – believing the hype about what it communicated about me to those I was talking to…which ended up the crux of why I cried in those situations.
Great.

Well, now I’m happy to say that I’m still a crier (just not like before) and that it’s always done wonders for my skin!
I let it out when I need to, purge myself of the toxins and am not ashamed of it.

Not one bit

I cry for injustice, for hurting fellow human beings, for our dying planet, for loved ones and I also cry tears of joy.

Better than punching a wall, I say.

Deep breath…and let it aaalllll out. You too, boys.

x

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