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DAYS SINCE I CRIED: 0

Emotions are a finicky thing. Sometimes, you wake up sad. Some days, you wake up overjoyed. Your body responds to the events within your life, subconscious, conscious, etc. This particular day, my emotions responded to the daydream of a future where God’s promise to me manifests. For the first time in a while, tears streamed down my face.


I do this to myself all the time. I think of the day where God’s words to me will become reality. Oftentimes, it looks like receiving an Oscar for the year’s best picture, best script, or a Nobel Prize in literature. Frequently, it looks like the moment I finally see my wife walking down the aisle to marry me. Occasionally, it looks like the first time I get to hold my newborn child. I check if I still have the emotional connection to those dreams as I once had. I fear the feeling of numbness.


I think of sorrowful things as well. How will I respond on the day my parents die? These thoughts are rarely about them dying peacefully after a long, good life. They are usually random accidents or murders. I think of suicide or excessive use of force by police. I take myself through the initial finding out, or the day after, and I cry. What if it was a brother, a sister, a niece, or a nephew? I have yet to figure out why I do this to myself, but the emotional connection is certainly severe.


Yet, when the tears have dropped from the daydreaming, I am relieved. The mere act of clogging my nose with snot and allowing tears to streak down my cheeks soothes me. I’ll find myself in a better mood with increased clarity just from the reactions. Such rejuvenating releases make me wonder why some men never cry.


For years, I lived under the restrictive guidelines that men don’t cry. You fall and hurt yourself, “Big boys don’t cry.” A girl breaks your heart, “Men don’t cry over a (explicit word), we get another girl and get laid.” A friend busts you in the nose and causes it to bleed, “Men don’t cry about it, we fight back.” Shedding tears was always a sign of weakness, femininity, and shame. If anything outside of death and extreme pain make you cry, you’ve failed to be manly. You’re either gay, metrosexual, or a woman.


My parents did their best to combat this ideology, and in some cases, they succeeded. However, they could not always protect me from society, especially when it was time to play football. The average boy held this ideology, used it against me, and made me very irritated with myself.


I am the type to cry when I’m angry. I do not hold strong emotions well. I’ve always had to shed tears to get back to normal. It made me feel weak. It made me feel soft. It made becoming a man seem like a distant dream. The thin line between teaching me to have thick skin, determination, and strength was often crossed when I felt true pain or anger. Sometimes, I was just spoiled. Other times, I wanted to severely hurt someone but didn’t have permission.


One clear moment where my anger had risen to extreme levels was when a kid in elementary was picking on me. I knew how to deter him but I wanted to do so much more than just deter him. I wanted to beat him to a pulp. It had gotten to the point of irritation where I was one more slur, slick comment, or shove away from pouncing him and beating him until he bled. It was, I thought, the only way to solidify that I am not the one to be bullied. But, I never did it.


Instead, I sat in class, battling within myself on how to respond. I wanted blood, but if I did that, I’d be suspended. If I was suspended, my mom would be angry with me and I’d likely get a spanking. I was restraining myself, looking for answers. Would the teacher stop me if I came around the tables and attacked him? Would I really get enough hits in to make him bleed?


I sat there, tearing up because I was fury approaching rage. I needed to calm back down, but was not allowed a space to do so. One part of me kept saying, “Go over there and swing on ‘em! Forget it!” whilst the other half told me, “Your mother will be angry if you get in a fight at school. It’s not worth it.


Other classmates kept comforting me, which only angered me further because “Why are y’all comforting me!? I ain’t no punk! Don’t let him think I’m some punk! He’s one more word from getting his face bashed in!” Ultimately, I wiped my face, stayed quiet, and contemplated on if I could still beat him up over the next few days. By the grace of God, the kid stopped messing with me and I was never able to find out.


As a child, I wasn’t able to recognize that moment as grace. All I could expect was my earthly father and brothers being disappointed. I let that kid get away with making me cry. It wasn’t tough at all. It was weak. It was sad. It was babyish. The more I thought on it the more I realized I hadn’t seen my father cry at all.


My father was always the tough guy. Always the guy who could knock you out and go back to chilling like nothing just happened. I had seen him slice his hand open with burning metal sheets. I had seen him fight his own brother. I had seen him humbled and divorced. Not once did I see him cry about it. He just kept moving on. All my life, honestly even now, I wonder why I’ve only ever seen my father cry once. I’ve cried countless times, but I don’t even remember him crying at his own mother’s passing, or the passing of one of his best friends. He’s always toughed it out.


Having a father like that while being a kid, and man, who cried bred internal contention. There seemed to be something broken in me while the Holy Spirit kept telling me nothing was wrong. Honestly, even now I struggle with the way I cry when I’m furious, overly frustrated, or when I’m watching a movie. I love that I am empathetic, but I hate the expression of it. The only thing that frees me from this internal battle is one verse, “Jesus wept.”


Think about this: the Almighty God, the Savior from sin, Creator, Living Word, King of kings, and Lord of lords weeps. He was preaching the good news when He was notified that Lazarus, His loved friend, had fallen sick. From the beginning, Jesus knew that Lazarus would die, and from the beginning, He knew that Lazarus would be resurrected. It was God’s plan all along. It was another miracle to further prove to the people that God was doing a new thing.


He did not arrive to see Lazarus until days after Lazarus was dead and buried. For many people, there was no hope for Lazarus. You found no pulse, no breath, nor any movement whatsoever. You took this man’s body and buried it in a tomb. The man was in that grave long enough for his body to defecate all waste from the body, causing an odor to fill the air around the tomb. For everyone but Yeshua, Lazarus was dead and gone.


Still, even knowing this, the mourning that Yeshua witnessed caused Him to weep as well. Despite knowing the incoming moment of glory, walking to that moment “deeply moved” Him, producing the shortest scripture in the Bible “Jesus wept.” Two words.


Even without knowing the specific reasons behind His tears, knowing that the Lord, who watches over all creatures on this earth and beyond, wept for people is freeing. You could say, “Well, somebody died,” but remember, He knew Lazarus was going to be resurrected. He had stated so twice before He actually did it, and once before He wept. “Your brother will rise again,” He said according to the disciple John. If you knew your friend would be resurrected, would you really weep? Or, would you simply go and tell him to rise and come out of the grave?


Personally, I feel Elohim saw the big picture of that moment. He saw what men and women go through on a daily basis. We do not always get miracles. We are sometimes left only with a dead body and grief. I believe, Elohim saw the heartbreak we live through and wept. I feel, He saw our weakness, confusion, sorrow, and strife, and wept. I imagine He saw the inner thoughts, struggles, emotions, and pains, and wept.


I also imagine that there was a man in that crowd who did not weep. He stood there, stoic, because that’s what he was trained to do by society. We cannot ignore what manhood was in Roman and Greek times. We cannot act like hanging someone on a cross wasn’t common in those days.


Yet, in that moment, that stoic man saw the Son of God weeping. He saw that it was okay to express sorrow in a grieving moment. He saw a man, a holy man, breakdown and cry.


If Yeshua, who is God, was able to weep, who are you that you should not? Who are you to judge a man who cries? The Lord, who created you and the man you judged, wept. To judge a man for his tears is to judge God, in my opinion. To say a man is soft for weeping is to say that the Lord was weak. Are you sure you want to call the Almighty God weak? Are you so powerful that you would fix your mouth to declare such a thing to the literal Creator of stars, air, water, and space?


Have you sent a flood to cover the earth? Have you casted ten plagues upon a nation? Do you promise to reap a harvest of a mountain of blood in the end of days? Be wise. Keep silent. The way your society raised you is not always right. More often than not, the way society raises anyone is mostly wrong.


Let today be the day we drop this foolish belief that men are weak for crying. Do you not realize how screwed up this world is? Today, I learned that a Child Protective Service agent was soliciting children for sex. A literal agent who was supposed to take care of children was at the same time scarring others with his pedophilia. This is not the only crime.


Several times this year, we have witnessed mass shootings, we have seen the images of several wars, and we live under the constant threat of terrorism. We have seen police gun down the very citizens they swore to protect and serve. Every day, we wake up and hear of someone who was shot and killed, cheated on, abused in their own home, strung out on drugs, or fired from their jobs. Thousands of people lost their jobs in the first four months of 2023. America is unstable, and the nations it shares this world with are also unstable. Instability is everywhere!


Not only do we struggle with instability, but we also carry trauma with us every day. It is embedded in our language, thoughts, and emotions. People go to jail every day over a breaking point that was being built since they were a child. So many of us are emotionally damaged from childhood. Yet, we think we should restrict men from the ability to cry?


Let me be the first – and if I’m the only one, let me be the only one – to say it’s okay to cry. Crying prevents you from trapping emotions within you that will have you being abusive, drinking, getting high on drugs, lashing out, having sex with the wrong person, ending up in jail, or getting sick. Crying will release you from the imagery of strength and allow you to embody strength. Crying will allow you to move to the next stage more calmly. There isn’t a downside to letting the tears flow. Even if what you are crying about is not a big deal to most, if it takes you there, let your emotions have it. We are too old, and too many depend on us, to act like we aren’t hurting.


I have tried to encourage men around me to keep them elevated and striving to be better men. Oftentimes, I will begin to encourage a man and I will see his eyes watering because he wasn’t told good things about himself in life. Men are not always reassured. They’ll instead deflect and say, “Alright, man. I hear you.” They’ll admit, “You bout to make me cry out here.” Why not cry? Why not let the tears flow?


Many of you don’t think someone could see you in a positive light. Many men don’t believe in themselves despite society telling them everyone needs them. They don’t value themselves or feel like they are loved for being who they are.


This has led to a debased version of manhood in our time. Men spend their whole lives being told they are never enough with their personality, character, wisdom, or looks. They always have to provide something, own something, or be something to someone. It’s never just about being a man. Most of you don’t even realize you’ve been needing to cry for some years.


Enough with the “it is what it is” and the “I’ll be fine”. Stop lying. Real men stand in truth and speak up for themselves. If it hurts, admit it. If it sucks, admit it. If you’re depressed about it, admit it. Only when you speak upon your pains and sorrows can you actually receive true help. Be a man and admit things don’t sit right within you. You feel pain. You feel sorrow. You feel.


I could preach all day about the value in confessing that you hurt. I could tell you all the time that you need to cry in order to release the burden of stress and pressure from your mind and body. At the end of the day, the decision is yours. You can live on, thinking you’re a man because you don’t cry. I’ll continue on, knowing that the God who created you and I wept. His weeping is license for me to weep as well. What hurts, hurts. What scars, scars. Pretending like it doesn’t only makes you the child. You cling to the ideologies of adolescence and have the audacity to feel you are a strong man.


I only came to tell you that I’ve cried, and I’ve succeeded still. I’ve cried and I’ve been a man for a long time. Today, it was about seeing the day I’ve dreamed of for 17 years. Tomorrow, it may be because I miss a very special woman. Next week, it may be because I need to repent to God for sin. The week after, it may be because someone else died in a mass shooting.


Either way, I refuse to let society control my emotions. I’m a man. I control my emotions. If I want to cry and relieve some pain, stress, anxiety, and hurt, I will. That is the only way the next day becomes lighter and not the same weight with a false smile to mask it.


I encourage you to weigh the costs. Who will you unjustly pour your emotions on if you do not release it on your terms? Will your sorrow turn to anger and that anger unleased on the woman or kids you claim to love? Will you hold in the tears and spaz on your job? One thing about emotions, they will come out. If you take too long, you could have more sorrows added onto you, along with some regrets. Jesus wept, and He’s more of a man than you or I will ever hope to be.


Next time you have the urge to cry, I challenge you to let the tears flow. Allow yourself the freedom to feel. You are a man, aren’t you? Don’t hold it in. Holding it in fixes nothing. You may think you are strong because you can hold it in, but the strongest man in the room is the one who can embody strength in fortitude and strength in emotion. There is a balance. Find your balance before you hurt someone dear to you, including yourself. Stifled emotions breed stress, and stress breeds sickness. Choose health.



Best of luck, my brother,



Dario

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