Ever since I saw Amy Tan’s TED lecture on creativity, I have been trying to consider the motivation behind my creativity. I wrote a story a couple of weeks ago wherein a character is unable to clear emotional hurdles in his life. I, myself, have been riding a roller coaster of emotions over the past month. An article query of mine was accepted in February which made for a great month. However, The accomplishment of receiving another publication quickly died down as a couple of disappointing rejection letters arrived in March.

Mostly, March has been a sad month, a bit of a Debbie Downer, March has made me want to cry.

Oh, there’s one more factor that must be included in this post: Oppression.

I think about oppression constantly, as in I am always aware of the privilege and oppression around me. I am a straight, white male so my privilege far outweighs my oppression. But I have been thinking a lot about one form in which society oppresses males.

We cannot cry.

I can be in a room full of friends and we could be laughing hysterically, we could be angry to the point of seeing red together, but heaven forbid, we have a good cry session. How can it be okay to allow the detrimental emotion of anger, even embrace it, but we cannot even cry in front of one another? I am convinced that it stems from some bullshit trait passed down through natural selection that aligns crying and sadness to weakness. These two things have nothing to do with each other. We all feel sad, so we should embrace it. I’ll be the first to say it.

I cry.

At many times in my life, I cry at least once a day. (Now being one of those times.) I cry in the shower when listening to NPR. I cry when I think about NPR losing its funding. I cry when I think about Libya. I cry when I read my own stories. I cry when I think about working at a restaurant for the rest of my life. I cry when I write blogposts about crying.

By accepting my tears and sadness, I feel more comfortable with myself. I can look back at my recent story about the man who can’t clear certain hurdles because of his unwillingness to cry as my old self, as a man who only cried in the shower or in the car when he was alone. In the end, I can see the month of March as a good thing, and not because we need sadness to appreciate happiness, but because sadness can be a good thing. Sadness is important. If it wasn’t, we wouldn’t feel it so often.

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