Mental Health

If strong women don’t cry, then I’m not one of those

If I were to get paid for the total number of times I’ve been told of what a strong woman is supposed to do or say- what she’s supposed to look like, sound like and even talk like- I wouldn’t need to work for a few lifetimes. That’s me low-key telling you that I’ve lost count of how many times, ever since entering the stage in my life where shit gets real, I’ve been told how I should react to certain situations by someone who could not even begin to imagine what I’d be going through.

Often times we find ourselves in the pits of hell unexpectedly and for so long we’ve been taught that the only way to get over it is to deny the occurrence, run away from our victimhood and never let the tears fall. We’re told that the only way to regain out humanness from whichever act of inhumanity done to us by those around us, those we trust dearly, those we cannot imagine a future without- is to pretend as if we’re not hurting deep inside because a strong woman doesn’t cry longer than necessary. A strong woman forgives wholeheartedly. A strong woman prays and all her problems go away. A strong woman can heal by herself, because she can carry that burden for years on end.

Nobody ever mentions how, sometimes, all we need is an endless supply of whatever it is the bar has on special that particular day. Nobody ever mentions how, sometimes, when we feel like we’re drowning under pressures the only way we can breathe is if it is assisted by a sniff or a drag of something stronger than just oxygen. Nobody ever mentions how, sometimes, when we feel alone and numb the only way we can bring feeling and emotions back into our bodies is via the stinging sensations that a razor leaves on its wake. Nobody ever mentions how, sometimes- just sometimes, when we’re hurting the only thing we can think of is just to end it all, once and for all. These parts of the story are somehow forgotten somewhere along the lines.

I find that this is what hurts us even more. The act has long been done, the time since it happened has long passed. But the emotions remain, the memories, the pain, the regret. It all remains. Untouched, because strong women don’t break down in public spaces (what would people say?). You have to schedule an appointment with your own tears before your body can allow them to make an appearance. You have to smile even harder than necessary before someone eventually asks (in passing!) how you’re doing.

Life is ruthless, that much I can tell you, but it’s how we respond to it that matters. And today, I say fuck being strong. Delay that process as much as possible so you can feel the pain as deeply as possible. You don’t have to mold your feelings to fit what people presume would be THEIR reactions if they were in your shoes. Reality is; it’s not THEM going through this, so you shouldn’t have to live THEIR reactions through YOUR life.

The demons are bound to come back, for multiple reasons and never in the same expected forms, what do you do then?

Like this post? View similar content here: How I Taught Myself to Recover

by Zayah_Lee-Wrights

Zayah Wrights is a South African-born art and literacy enthusiast, who enjoys nothing more than shutting herself away from the world with a book in hand. She's a recent graduate from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal with majors in Psychology as well as Drama & Performance Studies... and yes, she's aware she wrote this in third person...

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