strength

it's okay to cry, we're men, we cry

My favorite little guys on the verge of tears

My favorite little guys on the verge of tears

I know I usually speak about girls and women but the truth is I speak about gender as whole. Often times it is specific to marketing and how to understand gender better in an effort to provide products and services that meet their needs. Other times however it is about the way in which we tear down people based on stereotypes and expectations tied to gender.

One of the most common ways this occurs in our every day life is in how we genderize emotion. Since who knows when we have taught children that boys don't cry, only girls do. We tell boys they need to be tough and girls they need to be sweet. This seemingly harmless act has pretty big repercussions.

and just like that he let it all out

and just like that he let it all out

it’s okay to cry, we’re men, we cry

I recently came across this fantastic video from a martial arts school in Detroit. At this school, the instructors focus on teaching and celebrating boys and their fathers by allowing them to be strong and vulnerable. There is a focus on allowing these families to express their emotions as boys and men and teaching the strength that resides there.

What a wonderful way to allow boys and their fathers to express emotion other than anger. This permission seems small but he reality is that expressing all types of emotion keeps people healthy. Typically we tell boys not to cry but allow them to express anger and then wonder why they grow up unable to express other emotions. We teach them that being sad is weak, all while allowing girls to express sadness and wonder why women are seen as weak. 

The idea that we place a gender on an emotion makes no sense really. Emotions don't differ by gender. We all get sad, happy, mad, embarrassed etc. It is how we are taught to deal with and express these emotions that becomes genderized by our culture. 

As I researched the topic I found a great article from The Washington Post called "Why it's good to let boys cry". One especially interesting part was a direct quote from a book, here is what the article said...

In the book “Why Boy’s Don’t Talk — and Why It Matters” (McGraw-Hill, 2004), authors Susan Morris Shaffer and Linda Perlman Gordon say we need to find ways to connect with our sons because, “when boys don’t talk, we assume that they don’t feel…We don’t get to fully know them; we end up validating only one part of them. It matters because when boys don’t talk, it inhibits intimacy....we shortchange their emotional growth; as a result, parts of boys remain hidden.
— Washington Post - Jennifer Kogan May 25, 2012
Even the strongest lions need to cry every once in awhile

Even the strongest lions need to cry every once in awhile

The moral to this story is that allowing our boys to cry and teaching them that it is a sign of strength not weakness helps to build men who can express emotion, share intimacy and express themselves in healthy ways.  Don't we owe our men that opportunity?

it's my party and i'll cry if i want to and you know what? i totally want to sometimes and that is okay

I look so depressed here....I swear it was a joyous occasion. So glad the camera got this look.

I look so depressed here....I swear it was a joyous occasion. So glad the camera got this look.

My name is Dawne and

I am a crier.

I know I probably shouldn't say that but if you are ever to know me then you should know this. You might now be saying, ok but what does that mean?

It means i cry A LOT! I cry for every single range of emotion that is out there, even when I am happy. This is not a joke. Here are just a few examples of inconvenient places I have cried.

these dang beach balls are dangerous and the cause of much embarassment

these dang beach balls are dangerous and the cause of much embarassment

The day I graduated from college. Not totally unusual except that I was doing it and blowing my nose at the same time when my face came on the jumbo-tron during the ceremony and then a beachball came and hit my square in the face all caught on the screen. (my family still laughs at this to this day.)

I was told by the bride that if I was going to cry I had to turn around because if I cried she would cry. So here I am turning around. It should be known the bride also gave me a hankie with the words "no ugly crying" embroidered on it. She gets me.

I was told by the bride that if I was going to cry I had to turn around because if I cried she would cry. So here I am turning around. It should be known the bride also gave me a hankie with the words "no ugly crying" embroidered on it. She gets me.

Seriously camera guy? If you look here, you can see my biting my lip in an effort to not cry.  It's like the camera man feels the need to just zoom in on this super attractive moment

Seriously camera guy? If you look here, you can see my biting my lip in an effort to not cry.  It's like the camera man feels the need to just zoom in on this super attractive moment

Weddings. Again not an unusual place to cry but I have been known to cry so hard that at one wedding I was part of the bridal party, standing next to the bride and was crying so hard the groom stopped in the middle of the ceremony to lean over and make sure I was okay. (talk about embarrassing)

I was most certainly crying here and may or may not have been also screaming obscenities (sorry mom) 

I was most certainly crying here and may or may not have been also screaming obscenities (sorry mom) 

  • movies

  • tv shows

  • commercials

  • watching kids play sports, perform in plays, sing, basically anything - even when I don't know the kids

  • my bosses office (too many times to count)

  • on stage in front of hundreds of people

  • restaurants, coffee shops, bars

  • indoor sky diving, zip lining, white water rafting (all from sheer terror)

  • I have even cried at Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm (one time due to fear, the other out of joy)

Is it any wonder I am single? 

I don't know why this is but over the years I have learned to like this quality about myself. I like it in part because I think it makes me empathetic to others. I feel things deeply and can use that to understand others better. 

It is because of this that I am saying what I am about to say:

it is okay to cry.

YUP, I said it

I have no idea when the world decided that crying was a sign of weakness but somewhere along the line that is what happened. We tell boys that they shouldn't cry when they are young. We tell women they shouldn't cry at work because it makes them "girls" and weak. I hate to say this but in the past I think I agreed and told myself not to cry at work...

"they" are wrong

i was wrong

I look at it differently now. It took looking at all of my personality traits and the package I bring to the table to change my perspective. When I did this not only was I realize crying was an asset but I also realized how rare it is that we take the time to consider our "good" qualities. For some awful reason we focus on all the things we consider negative or that we want to fix which keeps us in the wrong frame of mind. It keeps us negative.

I want to be positive.

I'm not talking about that cheesy, this girl can't be for real kind of positive. I'm talking the authentic, comes out of your pores and makes you glow and creates confidence kind of positive.

I cry because I care. I cry because I am passionate about my beliefs. I cry because I feel the emotion being presented deeply. Admittedly, this can sometimes work against me but that is because people don't understand it. Everyone says they want someone caring, passionate and understanding...

that's what crying is all about

Let's let people know that CRYING IS STRENGTH!!!!!

Let's let people know that CRYING IS STRENGTH!!!!!

at least my kinda crying. So I say this, crying can and should be associated with strength and compassion. We should want those two qualities in people, employees, bosses, family, loved ones, friends, politicians, neighbors etc.

I am not saying that breaking down every few seconds is the key to life. But...an occasional tear or two once in awhile would probably good for everyone. I mean who doesn't cry when watching "The Lion King"?

So, here is my ask of you my faithful readers. Let's all stop associating crying with weakness. Let's not use derogatory language when speaking of crying, let's stop apologizing for having emotions which is a perfect natural thing.

heck, let's have a cry together (if you want)

I leave you with this quote I heard while watching the Steve Harvey Show today. 

live with tender consideration of others
— preacher on the Steve Harvey Show

she is cloaked in strength...

Happy Motivational Monday! This post is for all my strong women out there trying to move mountains.The key is to start within, believe in what we are capable of and realize that not everyone needs to like us. We, on the other hand have to like ourselves. And why wouldn't we? 

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Have you seen us lately?

We are smart, but not that unapproachable smart, more like the kind of smart that puts people at ease and makes them tell us their stories. Because of this level of intelligence, we are also blessed with humor, like laugh out loud funny but also that sly witty type of humor that surprises people, drives their curiosity and makes it impossible to skip our name on any invitation list. It's not a party with out us. 


We are cloaked in strength that lifts, encourages and builds. It is a quiet strength that doesn't boast. It is seen in surprising places to others, but deep down we have always known it is there if we ever needed it. Often we use it for everyone but ourselves which makes it easy to forget but take a look, it is there. When we see it, we need to take it out, for us. It is this strength that will push us through.


Have you looked in the mirror, I mean really looked? We are gorgeous, maybe not super model gorgeous but that's because super model looks, aren't real. We are real. We share our beauty in our smile, our eyes, our lines and our curves. It makes other's sing songs, write poetry and know what love is. It's not contrived or airbrushed, it is pure, unique. It is us.


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So again, why wouldn't we like ourselves? Why wouldn't we love ourselves?  Truth is once we do...everything is possible. 


 

one last thing...

It helps to remember how phenomenal we are when we look at our phenomenal women. One of my favorite reminders in "Phenomenal Woman" by Maya Angelou. It is a must for any bookshelf. (click on the image to get your own copy.)