When I was a boy, I would come home crying and my uncles would ask me why I was crying. When I told them another boy had hit me, they would say, “Boys don’t cry. Go back and fight for yourself. Boys who cry are weak.”
I grew up and became a man but my uncles’ words played a huge part in who I am today. I’ve always fought my battles and hardly cried for help. If I was taught not to cry when I was a boy, why should I cry when I am a man?
But I am not the only one who was raised like this. Ekasi I know amajita whose upbringing was not different to mine. I know amajita who are joyful when we drink our Heineken beers but inside their hearts are bleeding tears.
Eventually, there was a time in my life when I felt I couldn’t hold my tears anymore. I had to cry for help to save myself from depression. I found people I trusted to share my pain with. I felt stronger and not weak. I realised my uncles were wrong but I’ve nothing against them because that’s the way they were raised too
Wena mjita, who’s always stressed when the month ends because your parents and siblings are budgeting with your salary so much that you can’t do anything for yourself, cry my man. Let them know what you can afford and not afford. Not being able to do everything for people who mean everything to you won’t make you any less of a man. People who truly love you will understand.
I remember a story, Drowning in Sorrow by Amanda Ngema, about umjita whose finances are a mess because he has a family who demands money from him while he has a wife and kids that he must provide for. But because men don’t cry, he hides the fact that his salary is not enough to afford the monies that are expected of him. He is not happy and his marriage suffers but he eventually cries for help. And it’s when this man cries that he feels hopeful again.
Wena mjita, who has lost a loved one but because you are a man you must not cry and you’re expected to comfort women, shed the tears my man. You have emotions too. The person who passed on was your loved one and crying for that person doesn’t make you any less of a man.
In 2015, a friend of mine came to my house and we played Grand Theft Auto San Andreas on my laptop. After two hours of play he said, “By the way, my mother passed on this morning.”
I was shocked and surprised at how hard he tried to suppress his emotions. I know how much he loved his mother but he tried to act like the non-crying man that we were taught to be. His mother was like my mother too because she treated us like brothers. When I reminded umjita of the days his mother reprimanded us for our childhood mischiefs, his tears started pouring.
I patted his back comforting him but he said, “I am okay bro.”
I knew he was lying but he wanted to be the man that society wants him to be. He wasn’t supposed to cry. But after that cry I could see he felt light because eventually, he did what he had been longing to do. Crying for his mother.
How many men who are depressed today because society expects them not to cry? Majita, is what we were taught when we were boys something to teach our sons?
I say, men should cry. They are human beings with emotions too. Crying doesn’t make you any less of a man but it makes you ready to face your challenges. Mjita cry when you need to and let others comfort you. Crying isn’t only about shedding tears, it’s also about sharing your pain with people you trust. In all, men should cry when they need to.
Tell us: Do you agree that men should cry? Why/Why not?