Why I Choose Not to Be Strong
“After years of emotionally starving myself, I ran into a woman, ‘Margo’, and she changed my life forever.”
Written by NaBeela Washington
Don’t you start that crying again
Call me back when you’re done
Suck it up
What did I tell you about that?
I’ve been told how to feel since I entered the world with a raging sob. I’ve been encouraged that big girls don’t cry. That crying will get you nowhere or that crying and that letting people see you sweat is a form of weakness. And so for some time, I believed that. I practiced the art of tucking my feelings away, and when I felt the sting of a tear forming, I would quickly fling it away, painting my face with a smile. I lost count of how many times I had to bury the hatchet—an action that would slowly take a part of me with it.
After years of emotionally starving myself, I ran into a woman, 'Margo', and she changed my life forever. Margo was a beautifully eclectic therapist and the first person I felt that I could be vulnerable with. She became the first woman I felt strong with, even when my face was littered with tears and pain. I let her in, and she taught me how to let my feelings out. As a black woman, seeing a therapist is quite taboo and insanely whitewashed. It’s expensive, and you are always in the minority. But regardless of who was sitting in the waiting room and how others felt about the concept of mental illness and mental health awareness, I needed to let the floodgates open. I needed to cry, scream, laugh, repeat.
Margo changed the way I perceived strength. She changed the way I cried and the way I emoted. I was so used to hiding my emotions and stifling my body’s natural ability to share these feelings that it felt uncomfortable for a while to even consider going against the habits I confided in over the years. Margo encouraged me to embrace these fragile and tender moments and so I did. And from my time with her, I learned how to be emotionally strong and in tune with what I was feeling at all times.
So I encourage you to choose not to be strong, to give in to your feelings when the bough feels as though it could break, and to cry when your body needs you. You will not be any less resilient, but that much stronger because there is strength in crying and resolution in being one with your emotions.