The teacher walks into a noisy class, some are sitting on the desks chatting, while another set is listening to the latest song by Patoranking, nodding their heads and talking about how dope it is. And you? You are simply being a good student, trying to catch up on your school work. The teacher observes the scene, and decides to punish the entire class.
But I am innocent. I wasn’t a partaker you try to explain, but he wouldn’t listen. You receive the punishment, some really hot strokes (if your school is that type!), and it hurts – oh, it hurts real bad. But not just the physical pain, the injustice of it also – this is even more painful than the strokes received. This is what stings your eyes, which quickly fills with tears, but then you remember that you are a boy, and big boys don’t cry. They just never do!
So you blink back your tears, keep the hurt in your heart and pretend everything is alright. But that’s a lie, and we both know it. You are hurt and angry, and you desire to express those emotions. This is partly because holding back strong emotions requires physical effort. When strong, sad or painful feelings are present, the body seems to want to naturally express those feelings, as if to unload an extra burden. Holding onto emotions may cause a lump to form in your throat or stinging in your eyes. Letting sad or painful feelings come out can be a great relief.
Is It Wrong To Feel This Way?
Well, our culture and the society say it is, because they have somehow made a connection between crying and weakness, being a baby, or being soft. For boys and men, it’s socially acceptable to experience and express anger, instead of sadness, fear, or hurt feelings. Boys and men are thus expected to have it all together, and are trained to deny, ignore, cover up, and rise above their feelings. But the truth is that we have them all the time, we both know they never go away, try as we might to bury them.
What Should Be Done?
Boys should be encouraged to have an extensive emotional vocabulary so that each emotion can be matched with the exact word as it happens. While mastery of emotions is something that can be good, it’s even better if they are acknowledged, accepted, and processed. You should not fear or judge your emotions, rather you should learn how to release them safely.
How Can You Do This?
In releasing one’s emotions safely, it is of vital importance to understand the different range of emotions – anger, sadness, disappointment, and the likes; and express them in a way that will not be misunderstood, or get us in trouble with others – and possibly the law – which will happen if we deny, and repress our feelings. Because, repressed feelings become pent-up in us, and become released in such forms like fighting, abusing drugs, violence, bullying and other such anti-social behaviour.
Hence, the most important thing is to be understood after having expressed oneself appropriately, and not what people think of us. But because we are an intrinsic part of society, you will often come in contact with those who will have contrary opinions and who will tease you; whatever the case, boys should be educated and informed about such possibilities, and helped to gain the strength and skill-set needed to handle criticisms, and navigate this challenging world.
So the response to the question is: Yes! Big boys cry whenever they have the need to, and they don’t give a hoot what others think (at least, most of the time!)