It’s your favorite small girl. I hope I haven’t lost you and that this post meets you in impeccable health.
I’m sorry I have been m.i.a but I’m back now and I have something different for you. I don’t usually write prose but a friend of mine tagged me in a post that asked writers to submit flash fiction talking about “loose conversations”, or in other words, topics that the society shies away from talking about, and I decided to try my hand at it.
I submitted this story but somehow the page got taken down so I never got to know how their audience received it.
I couldn’t agree more with Washington Irving who said that, “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love,” and that’s what led me to write this.
I know it’s short but I hope you like it. I know I do.
BIG BOYS CRY TOO (AND THAT’S OKAY)
Until I saw tears in Baba Dolapo’s eyes, I thought that men were totally incapable of producing tears. And why wouldn’t I have thought so? No one prepared me for it. No one ever warned me that I would meet a man who would respond to loss the way he did, a man who would cry like a wounded little boy on the playground, a man who would show me that sharp-edged emotions can also yield a tender heart.
Wemimo laid lifeless on the hospital bed and Baba Dolapo wept. He curled up into a troubled fetal position on the floor and sobbed. Didn’t anybody ever tell him not to cry like that? Didn’t they tell him as a child that screaming like that made him sound like a girl? He should have kept it in and taken the loss like a big man.
Who would console his family when he was crying like that? Who would be strong if he wasn’t? He should have left the tears and the theatrics to Iya Dolapo and the women in the family because boys don’t cry. Women cry all the time. Boys, on the other hand, can get angry but they can never cry.
But if crying is such a natural part of our existence, why have we forced men to hold back their tears and deemed it an act only for women? What if we could re-write all of this? What if men could freely emote how they really feel and they didn’t need to apologise for having emotions or hide under the guise of a “strong” man? Perhaps, men would be able to be vulnerable and more so, empowered to be in touch with their feelings like the males in my family.
The males in my family react by crying. And we? We leave them to.
They show us that they can indeed express themselves, we have accepted that they are just as emotional as we are, if not more; and we are all the better for it.
The idea of men crying used to be a bit “off” for me since I was taught all about the ways men were meant to be strong, but thanks to Baba Dolapo, I no longer have a knee-jerk response to men crying, because I no longer see it as something that shouldn’t be happening.
A beautiful thing happens when we leave men to cry without judgment.
Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.
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