Big boys do cry – my personal story
I grew up with the idea that boys don’t cry and that crying is just for girls. All the stories that I was reading in school, the tales my grandpa used to tell me before going to sleep where about knights in shining armour, brave men who fought dragons and beasts. All these brave heroes often had a brother that was their total opposite: scared, nervous, anxious, couldn’t fight with anyone and usually with a father that didn’t like them.
When I was little I kept on telling myself that I am invincible, that no disease could touch me and nothing can stand in my way. When I was having any kind of pain, physical or psychological, I kept my mouth shut and wasn’t saying anything to anyone unless it was extremely obvious.
When other kids used to complain, boys especially, I was somehow proud of myself as I was able to hold it better than them, I was “a man”, even if I had the same pain as them and most importantly even if I wanted to go to my parents, tell them how much t I needed them and how bad it hurt.
Of course, that growing up like this wasn’t healthy at all. I had fears as I kid, I still have now. The problem with acting invincible is that you never tell everyone how bad you feel at that time. Due to this, you tend to hold inside you all that bad and negative emotions that will accumulate in time.
When everything starts to go wrong
Every time I was feeling bad, instead of going to my parents and talk with them, I was acting like everything was completely fine but inside me, everything was feeling like a huge storm, a hurricane.
Yes, I used to cry when no-one saw me and thinking why was all of this happening to me? Why were the other kids normal and I wasn’t? For me, any kind of weakness seemed like a huge flaw, whilst seeing it in others seemed like nothing. I pushed myself too hard and the consequences didn’t take too long to show up.
I was pretty soon filled up with anxiety, stress, panic, constantly asking myself when will all go away, when will it stop? Everyone from the outside looked at me as I was perfectly normal. I was the guy who always smiles, the one who is never sick, never complains and never skips a day in school. The few times when I was off, meant that I was in a big pain or something pretty bad happened to me.
My self-doubt grew bigger and bigger, I was questioning everything, double checking everything that I was doing. Losing confidence, not trusting myself at all and soon everything seemed to be the complete opposite of what I was imagining looking back at all the stories my grandpa was reading to me.
I went through quite a rough high school, being bullied for about 4 years because I didn’t felt like I could stand up for myself in front of anyone. All of this was happening because I pretended to be someone that I wasn’t and every time life wasn’t happening according to the plan I constructed in my head, where heroes were involved, I was turning into this scared kid that couldn’t say anything and that was just standing there doing nothing to protect himself.
Why real friends are lifesavers
I am lucky to have found some great friends in life when I was around 14 -15. I still remember one of my best friend, whose wedding I will attend in a months time, telling me “how long will I keep on going like this?”. I am not sure what changed at that moment inside me, but what I can think of now was that someone genuinely paid enough attention to me and observer what I was going through, without me telling him anything about the way I was feeling and what I was going through at the time.
Everything changed after that and I become the guy I am today, opened to talk with anyone about everything, no matter the subject. I can talk with boys and girls, men and women about everything they want to and I mean EVERYTHING, as I understand how important that is and how much I needed it at a point in my life. I am married to my lovely wife, my best friend in the world with whom I can talk about everything and that supports and pushes me from the back to follow my dreams and never doubt myself.
Why we should encourage everyone to speak
Big boys do cry, and they should cry when they feel like it. Don’t pretend to be brave when you’re not, cry if you want to, but more importantly SPEAK with your family, with your friends and tell them how you feel, look for answers and don’t just stand there feeling sorry for yourself and hoping one day this will all go away.
Please, if you are being bullied do speak with someone, anyone. If you are going through a tough period in your life, do speak. I wish I did this at the time, as telling people how I felt and what I was going through would have given me enough confidence to stand up for myself. Or at least, from that point, I would have stopped carrying the burden on my shoulders by myself and I am pretty sure help was available if I asked for it.
Big boys do cry and we should teach them to do so if they want to, shout it out loud and tell them that this is allowed, that this is normal and it is not a sign of weakness. Weak is the person who faces everyone and everything alone, the person who has two faces and pretends that everything is great when they are actually dying inside. I personally see this as selfish, as someone might start to look at you as a role model and start copying the actions that you make. Soon, when they realize how tough everything is, they will think they are no good, start to doubt themselves and that’s when and how the vicious circle starts.
Please, feel free to talk with me if you have no-one else to talk with. I am super happy to help with an advice, to tell you how I managed and how am I managing now.
Take care and remember that you are allowed to have weaknesses, we are all humans with feelings.
Big boys do cry…