They say that when life gives you lemon, you should make lemonade. Now, if you succeed in making good lemonade, you might be allowed to cry tears of joy.
So, what do you do when life brings onions?
When I was a kid, one of the many old-wives’ tales we had was that crying was good for the babies as it helps strengthen their lungs.
I’m still not sure how true that is.
My mum will simply tell you that nobody has ever died from crying. Then she will rub it in by telling you that until you start crying blood, that she had nothing to worry about.
As we got older, society told us that men are not supposed to cry, but that if a man sees a woman crying, he should do all in his power to stop (help) her.
As a woman, some people might be unsettled and moved to action by your tears and they will be people who will not even be slightly bothered by them.
Tears are bad. And laughter is good. That’s what the world thinks. That’s what they will teach you.
I got to a point where I taught myself to contain my tears. I convinced myself that my tears will achieve nothing and will change nothing. I was forced to accept that tears are a bad thing.
However, as I get older, my tears are becoming more frequent. I learnt to give myself permission to cry when I feel like it. And not as a way to influence another’s behaviour.
Sometimes, they are silent tears, but very deep and they tend to make my body convulse in pain.
There are times when they are tears of joy and thankfulness, filling every fibre of my being with a joy so intense that I am made lighter by the sheer force of it. I glory in my tears as they run down my cheeks while ruining my mascara.
Sometimes, relief comes after crying, but sometimes, it doesn’t.
But, no matter how much or why I cry, there is always peace.
Why do we as a people teach people to hide their feelings, even from themselves?
How did we get to define what should be done publicly and what shouldn’t?
Who made the rules and why are you hellbent on following all of them?
Why have you accepted that your tears are bad? No minding if they are happy tears, or sad tears, or frustration tears, or heartbreak tears, or the kind of tears you cry without knowing why you are crying. (I have some of those too).
Have you ever been told to stop crying? (Mostly in an irritated, pitiful, or condescending tone.)
Is there ever a time when you just let yourself cry, for whatever reasons and not feel bad or feel like you have to apologise to someone about your tears?
So; to cry or not to cry?
That is the question.
When life gives you onions, what do you do?