I’ve always viewed tears (and other soft, cuddly things) as a sign of weakness. Always. I’m not sure where I get it from because from my earliest memories, my mother never condemned it. If anything, “soft” behavior was encouraged while I was growing up and as a result I rebelled against it. My mother would get so hurt sometimes when I’d fight her hugs. I on the other hand couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t give me space. When my parents divorced when I was 6/7 years old (it took place in early summer and my birthday is in early June so I don’t know how old I actually was), I was sent to a psychologist for a few months-my father/family told me that I had turned into a child who never smiled and that’s how they knew something was “wrong” with me. There were never any tears to betray my hurt so the non-smiling/no laughing tipped everyone off.
As I got older and grew up, any negative feelings would be internalized. I’d close myself off from the world, and eventually, if left to my own vices, this would evolve into depression. I’d always been passive aggressive, confrontational only when there were no other options. Obviously the only person it wound up hurting was me. I didn’t care though because I saw it as strength-I wasn’t crying, I still held my head high and no one was privy of my internal chaos unless I wanted them to be (and very few were). This mentality carried over to my collegiate career where I still refused to cry, I refused to say/do “soft” things (tell people how much I cared/missed/loved them, hugs/kisses, etc), and refused to show “weakness.” I had so much pride!
After graduating this mentality continued and stayed with me. I didn’t see it as a problem or anything that I needed to work on because it had always been with me. I was now 23 years old and had learned to function this way. Sure, my reputation was that I had strong arsehole tendencies but I laughed it off-I was (still am) entertained by it. I began second-guessing myself however when those closest to me wouldn’t take me seriously when I admitted that I missed/loved them. Tori, my sorority sister asked once, after I randomly sent her a text saying that I missed her, “Is this my Acey Bacey?!” before saying, “I miss you too.” Ouch!
As with all things in my life though, this has all changed since “going natural.” While I started the change nearly one year ago, I didn’t start seeing myself change until this past spring. I began feeling “soft” over the smallest things and would disgust myself. Up to that point, “soft” had NOT been the A. Yancey way. I found myself reaching out to others to get those big hugs and kisses that just a few years before I had fiercely rejected. I found myself not being so ashamed to admit to those closest to me how much they meant to me and that I did miss/love them.
This past week though, it has hit me that I’m officially a crier. It started on Sunday when I was in my car and “Silver and Gold” by Kirk Franklin was playing. I was singing along but as soon as “I called on my best friend, She could not be found…” I felt my eyes watering. I tried to ignore it and continued to sing, “But I called on Jesus…” I now felt my lower lip begin that dreaded tremble! “My life He can hold.” Waterworks! I was on 75-S crying several rivers and felt so overwhelmed because I didn’t know where the tears came from, and definitely was in no position to stop them!
As I headed into church, my carefully applied bronzer a mess since my cheeks now had several lines streaked through them from my earlier rivers of tears, I tried to keep my head down, hoping no one would pull me aside and ask what was wrong. I knew that question would set me off into another crying spell. How do I explain that I’m perfectly fine and simply put, “I’ve just gotten caught up in life, myself changing, the awesomeness of God, etc.” as I bawl my eyes out? It made ZERO sense to me so I knew it would make no sense to them. Luckily no one stopped me and as I headed into the massive sanctuary just in time for worship and praise, I commenced to cry several more rivers. Luckily I was in like company so it was all good.
A couple days later I was pulling out of the alley behind my house (I park in the back because I live on the west side folks and my car is too nice for someone to recklessly swipe) and turned onto the main street. It is there that I saw a bloodied animal lying in the middle of the street. Immediately my heart sank. As I carefully approached I realized it was a gray cat and had been killed by a vehicle. My eyes welled up as I stared at the tongue that hung helplessly out of the cat’s mouth. It was incredibly chilly that day and as I fought back tears I felt terrible that the cat wouldn’t have a peaceful burial, had been slain in the middle of a cold night and probably wasn’t missed by anyone. It is just so sad to me. One year ago I wouldn’t have thought twice about that cat.
Then this morning as I was watching The Buried Life, one of the men on the show helped a young boy (the boy must’ve been 12/13-years old) find his father on the street and pay a furnished apartment’s rent for 6 months so that the young boy could have some stability. I lost it. Right there in my bedroom as I was trying to find something to throw on for work I had to pause in my tracks to take a moment to absorb what was going on in that young boy’s life. He had met the man one other time weeks before and while the man had promised to come back and look out for the young boy, the young boy didn’t think twice about it. When the man came back to the young boy to make good on his promise, you should have seen that young boy. He opened the door, his mouth dropped open in astonishment and he was speechless. If you read his eyes, those eyes said all the thank you’s that were needed. That young boy was THANKFUL. My heart warmed. My mouth dropped open. My eyes welled up. My tears fell. My tears are trying to fall now as I recount this story. I am a crier. And I am learning to be okay with that.