maureenstclair.com

I Just Told a Man Not to Cry

Last night I told a young man not to cry. “Don’t cry,” I said, “you will be reunited soon.“ This said to a young man whose wife is leaving Sunday for the UK on a nursing contract for three years. I told the man not to cry. Damn. I didn’t even realize I had done this but then I walked into the house after saying good by (please note: I did not tell the young woman not to cry who was leaving behind not only a husband but three of her children) and found Maya in the middle of the room with her arms crossed watching me. She says, “You do realize you just told a man not to cry!” Woooooh I thought. “What the what?” I said. Damn how deep this gendered conditioning is. Me, who believes the wrongs of this world are the self and societally-imposed prison men live in, a prison of narcissistic rage and emotional denial resulting in so much violence on so many levels. And me reinforcing through my own deeply ingrained conditioning of what it means to be man. Don’t cry. Men don’t cry. And yet I hear me saying over and over in different spaces formal and informal that we must let men own and display all their emotions, not just the acceptable anger of toxic masculinity. i want to run back down the stairs, run to catch up with husband and wife and say, “Cry man cry. You have every right to cry because you will be lonely and sad and lost without her!”

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