Henry Davis, II is a senior telecommunications major and writes "Pieces Unfound" for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Henry at email@example.com.
Crying is a sign of weakness. That’s what society has been teaching us for a long time. It’s a sign of weakness, especially if you’re a boy. If that’s the case, I suppose I was very weak as a child. I cried a lot.
But that was when I was a child. Things have changed.
Growing up as the only child of a relatively wealthy family in Geist, one of the of nicest subdivisions in Indianapolis, spoiled me. We had a boat, a giant flat-screen TV, two cats, and I had my own room with enough space to fill with pretty much anything I wanted. At the time, that consisted mostly of video games and stuffed animals, but if I happened to want something, then else I could get that too. I got a several-hundred-dollar telescope for Christmas one year. I have it to this day, and I only ever used it once. If I hadn’t lost pieces for it over the years, I’d probably really appreciate it now.
My dad and I were at a store one afternoon, and as usual with trips to any store I saw something I wanted. “Daddy, can I get this game?” As if I even had to ask. I knew what the answer would be.
“No, not today,” Dad said.
WHAT!!?! Did I just hear the word “No”? Who deserved the power to tell me no? Certainly not my parents, who always gave me so much. I began to cry, and, once I started, I didn’t stop.
Well, as the early signs of economic recession began to seep into America, I started hearing that dreaded word more often. So I started crying more often. At some point, my crying started to flow into situations outside of my parents. In any situation I wasn’t getting my way, tears were inevitable. I began crying at school when the other kids weren’t doing what I wanted, I cried when I wasn’t eating what I wanted and even when I wasn’t seeing what I wanted.
I’ll always remember an evening I spent with some cousins and my uncle. We were all going to rent a movie from Blockbuster, (R.I.P., what do the kids, these days, know about that?), and at some point I began crying. I don’t exactly know what it was I was crying about, but I would imagine I wasn’t too thrilled about the movie choice my extended family made. They wanted to watch a comedy, I wanted to watch Power Rangers. So I decided to express myself in the dignified way I always did. I cried. I could tell they were all annoyed. Why should I care though, I deserved to have what I wanted!
Crying is a sign of weakness. That’s what society has been teaching us for a long time. It’s a sign of weakness, especially if you’re a boy. If this is true, I suppose I’m much stronger now. I haven’t cried once since I was about 10 or 11 years old.
It’s no surprise that I would cry less as I began to mature. It’s natural that a child will cry less at a certain age. However, to not cry at all, ever, is something unusual. Especially for someone who used to cry too much.
I’m sure it would take some deep therapy to discover what caused my tear ducts to go permanently dry, but I’d blame societal norms and years of hating myself because of them. I’ve always looked back on the crybaby I used to be as a negative thing, feeling embarrassed by some of the situations I was bold enough to cry over. However, I also envy that kid.
I looked at crying as a weakness for a long time during my later childhood. I saw it as a weakness until I found myself sitting in my car, crippled for hours by my inability to cry. Meredith Schmidt was the reason for this. At the age of 17, girls had replaced my love for video games and stuffed animals. And Meredith was the love of my life at that time. A love that was never meant to be. She had told me she loved me, but was tied up with a past relationship that was obviously bad for her. She and I would have been perfect together, we already were as friends. This is a classic story that I’ve seen in movies over and over again.
However, in the movies they are able to cry about their heartbreak. I wasn’t. I had gone years without crying at this point, but this was the first time I had really suffered a loss that only crying could help. I found myself attempting to draw up every sad thought I could, but I couldn’t bring myself to the release of crying. And that hasn’t changed, to date.
You see, as I’ve come into adulthood and began to experience more mature issues, I’ve seen what a tool crying can be as a coping mechanism. Life is a struggle for everyone, but I think being able to cry about it can be a healthy release of pent-up emotions. Anytime I deal with something that ties a knot of anger and sadness in my stomach, I’ve found that I have nothing to lubricate that knot free. So that knot just swells up even more as my feelings continue to congregate there.
It’s my ironic curse that as a child I had an abundance of tears for things that the current me would see as trivial, and the current adult me can’t conjure up a single one. My situation reminds me of that telescope I mentioned earlier. I had it as a child, but took it for granted. Unfortunately, I lost an important piece of myself over the years, and I’ve found myself at a point where I would really value having it.