I stopped crying at some point. I am not sure exactly when it was but I think it was around 18 or 19. It wasn’t deliberate. It wasn’t even conscious. It just sort of happened.
When I was 24 (pictured to the right) I found my cat dead. She had been hit by a car and her broken body was pushed up against the curb outside my house. I picked her up. I brought her into the backyard and I buried her. I cried then. A little. And I remember the feeling of letting one or two tears out and the way I shook my head and wiped my face and readjusted myself, stuffing that emotion down deep into my gut. I didn’t cry again until I was 28 despite another cat going missing, my dog, who was like my child, going missing, neither were ever to be found, and my father in law, whom I was close with, slowly dying of cancer over a two year period.
It wasn’t until my wife told me she didn’t want to be with me anymore, and it had been a month or so of living alone, and the reality of my utter emptiness set in that I allowed myself to be overwhelmed with emotion. I lost myself in it. I curled up into a ball on the floor shivering, shaking, and sobbing with tears pouring out of me. I stayed that way for a long time. I can’t say I felt good when I was done but I did feel more present, more aware, and more compassion for myself. In retrospect I can see how that initial release was the first step on a path towards creating a true connection with my emotional world, and indeed, with my truest and highest Self.
I’m 35 now. A lot of work has been done since that cry I had seven years ago. I can find myself easily crying a couple times a week these days. Sometimes it is because I feel emptiness. Sometimes it is because I feel angry. Sometimes it is because I feel sad. Sometimes it is because I feel loved. Regardless of the reason, I always feel more more present, more aware, and more compassion for myself.
The scientific health benefits of crying have long been researched. We know that, quite simply, when we cry from an emotional response we literally cry out stress hormones and toxicity while releasing a gentle dose of the feel-good hormone, oxytocin, into our bodies. But we don’t really need to look to science to prove to us that crying is a crucial element of health. It is intuitively known. And yet, many of us are fighting ourselves, shaking it off, stuffing it down, doing anything we can to avoid letting those tears flow.
We can look more deeply at why we who have been raised as men struggle so deeply with allowing ourselves to cry. We can look more deeply at why we struggle with allowing a myriad of emotions to exist, to flow, to be honored. I think a dedicated blog to the suppression and dare I say, oppression, of emotion in men is on the horizon. But maybe it is enough for now to simply know that crying is not only a basic human necessity for health and well-being but also a reflection of the Divine within us all.
Masculinity and Femininity alike share this Divine power. You, no matter how long it has been and no matter how much you may have stuffed deep down in your gut, can access your ability to cry. You can develop a relationship with it. You can honor yourself through the process. You can can give yourself the gift of a fuller spectrum of emotional expression and I guarantee, it will profoundly enhance your life as a man (as a woman, as a trans-man, trans-woman, non-binary human, or any other label you have chosen to identify as), as a seeker of Divine Masculinity, and as a human being.