"Go in the bathroom and clean your face"-Keith B. Dowdell Sr.
Yeah, those words rang in my head almost everyday whenever I felt like I needed to cry. It was almost as if those words activated my body to block away any ounce of a tear that could possibly build up in my eye. See I come from a family where the only time tears were seen was if someone was being punished or if someone passed away. If you were caught crying it was because you were so mad that you could literally knocked a building off its foundation.
Within the last few years I can recall two times that I started to cry and was immediately shown an act that meant "dry it up right now" and never do it again. The first time was at my dads house. I burst into tears and couldn't really tell you why at the time. My dad saw me and he immediately quoted his famous line "Go in the bathroom and clean your face". When I returned from the bathroom there was no follow-up talk about what had just took place. We later on found out that I was going through postpartum depression. After telling my dad the news after leaving my doctors appointment he said, "It's ok to cry, but don't make that shit a habit", it made me cry tears of laughter. The second time was on my wedding day. Minutes before walking out into that hallway to line up one of my aunts walked into the room and just me seeing her brought me to tears. One of my cousins looked at me and said, "Don't cry you a G....you ain't supposed to be crying". I hugged my aunt until I felt the last tear leave my face. I didn't want to show that side of me to my loved ones who were surrounding me, but why not....even Tupac said thugs cry.
Growing up when I felt like I was going to cry I would pinched myself as hard as I needed to. Me pinching myself made me forget about what I was going to cry over and focus on the pain that I had inflicted on myself. I know that I am not the only one who did this or something similar as a teen or even as an adult. I began to work on becoming a better me and I stopped pinching myself. When I heard about the verdict for Breonna Taylor I was hurt; I felt sick to my stomach. I reached out to my best friend and told her how I was so upset that I could cry and her response was "Why not cry"? She was absolutely right.
We have to make it normal for people to be able to cry. Crying is most times looked at as a weakness, but why can't a person just need a fluid cleanse from their eyes? When my dad passed back in July people acted like they were in shock because I wasn't crying every second of the day, but that's not me. I shed plenty of tears and to this day I find myself crying because of his loss because Im still not 100% at peace with it. What I can say is that I am not making myself feel guilty about needing to shed a few tears. I am allowing myself the freedom to cry and the space to do so. The beauty about meditation is that it teaches the art of focusing on your breath and that is exactly what I do each time I need to have a cry session. One thing that I can tell you about a good cry is it makes for a good nights rest or even afternoon nap.
For those of you out there that feel afraid, embarrassed, or even awkward for needing to cry....don't. Crying is meant to be a form of relief for many people and who has the right to rid you of that opportunity? We have to start viewing crying out the same way we do when we see a person laughing out. It needs to be done and that is just that.