This isn’t the kind of thing I’m normally inclined to write about. I’m not a crier. I’ll cry at funerals. The occasional book will get me. But I don’t cry at movies or weddings or any of the other places where people typically cry. Especially at work. There are lots of things that I steadfastly refuse to do at work, but crying may be the biggest. Yet, I cried at work today and it seems worth talking about.
First, it makes sense to explain why I cried. If you’ve been reading my stuff lately, you know I’ve been struggling with depression for at least the last month (I say “at least” because it’s remarkably hard to pinpoint when these things actually start and stop. I suspect this really started around the new year.). That’s not exactly the immediate cause, though. Even depressed Gene isn’t prone to crying. But, thanks to the depression, I’m not sleeping well. I’m exhausted. Work is not going well. At all. Money is incredibly tight right now. I’m not able to spend enough time with my daughter. My stress levels are off the charts. And it all just caught up with me and I started crying. At work.
The thing that might make this interesting, if it is interesting (it’s probably not interesting), is why I so steadfastly refuse to cry at work (or really any public place that’s not a funeral). See, I’m a man (which sounds really weird to say for some reason) and men are not supposed to cry. Period. At least that’s what they tell me. And I’ve certainly internalized that particular lesson. It’s almost impossibly stupid that men aren’t supposed to cry. I don’t know who the they are who told me I can’t cry, either. It definitely wasn’t my parents or anyone I actually care about. But the message came through loud and clear. That’s the really frustrating thing about all of this. I know how stupid the no-crying rule is, but I still firmly believe I can’t cry.
Sadly, it’s probably too late for me. I’ll be stuck believing this nonsense for the rest of my life. I guess what I’m hoping is that by talking about it, I might make a small dent in the messaging. And if enough other people talk about it, maybe we can break through. Maybe the current crop of boys won’t grow up into men who can’t cry. It’s worth a shot, right?