Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Big Boys Don't Cry

By Daddy X

I never was an easy cry. When I was growing up, big boys didn’t cry. Even though I was of average stature, I wanted to be a big boy. I determined to be determined.

To me, crying is the total loss of one’s comportment. A surrender of the self to pain, frustration, desperation or loss. Nothing wrong with that. Crying is cathartic, or at least I suspect that may be its natural function.

My family was certainly something to cry about. An alcoholic father and bipolar mother had few things in common. Who knows who was the chicken or what the egg. Perhaps neither. Perhaps each was simply going their own natural course. My mother’s mother committed suicide, her father a drunk. My father’s family Irish/German. Always lots of booze around.

So when things went sideways, which they often would, I, as the oldest, thought of myself as the only one in the nuclear family who had his shit together. That may or not have been totally true, at that young age, but the situation instilled in me a drive to be the one in charge. I knew better. The guy who could make the best decisions. Who thought in linear fashion with a sense of cause and effect. Of course, that line of thought brought me up against conflicts with elders who figured they had the last word on hard times. They, after all, had come up during the Great Depression.

I respect them for that. But it seemed as though they were subliminally recreating those grave times, possibly because they’d learned to get by and the state was comfortable for them in some obscure way. They’d learned their lifestyles by immersion. To get through any difficulty because there was really nothing else, and another difficulty to occupy their focus would come along soon enough.

However, I thought the opposite. That we should stand tall through difficulties because the good times were not far off. If we could just get through this little blip, then things would smooth out.

I believed humans were supposed to accept this life as a gift. Still do.

It’s not like I haven’t cried. I cried when Momma X left me the first time. I cried a lot when she left me the second time. I cried when my Father died. And when my Mother died. I cried when Momma’s brother committed suicide. And when my brother committed suicide (on the same day and month as Momma’s brother, six years later). For over a decade I cried and cried whenever Momma was sick, but never in front of her. I cried when each of our four dogs passed away.

You only have to read my bio in ‘about us’ to understand that difficulty has not bypassed my life.

Perhaps it was the times in which we were brought up. We were lucky to be around for the 50’s and 60’s, an optimistic period in American history. Things were getting better. That was our immersion. Though we complained during the 60’s, we really had it good. Too bad we can’t say the same for today’s kids.

And, like Sacchi suggested on Monday, we often defer our grief to surrogate elements down the line that have little or nothing to do with what has made us sad in the moment. We spread the grief out, sinking into longer periods of the blahs. We allow our depressions to attain a barely sustainable level over time, so we don’t go through a total breakdown all at once.

Such as crying.


  1. I think if you haven't cried, sometimes, you're not human.

    But I love your positive attitude. Things ARE getting better. Somethings, at least!

  2. It's really interesting the way you contrast your attitude and beliefs with those of the generation before you. And as Lisabet says, it's part of being human to cry at least sometimes. Your comment about spreading the grief out also rings true. Thanks for writing this!

  3. Thanks, Lisabet and Annabeth. Always nice to hear your respective takes on our thoughts.

    Annabeth- I see people all around me making their lives more difficult than they have to be. Just by their attitude. Some people live on drama and will create it if none already exists.

  4. Like it or not, we're influenced by the world that imprinted itself on our parents, even if the effect is to make us reject their ways of thinking. I do remember how hopeful we were in the 60s, and how disappointed we were later. And even at the height of the free-love, make love not war era, it turned out that ingrained misogyny and classism were still in effect.

    1. You bet, Sacchi!

      Many hippie guys were total assholes when it came to women. Like what "Queen" said about "Fat Bottomed Girls". :>) Or Creedence and "Cripple Creek".

  5. This is a moving post, Daddy X. I sometimes wonder whether such issues as parental alcoholism & mental illness were harder or easier for children to cope with before they could be discussed in public.

    1. This is what caused me to separate areas of my life into categories of a sort. I know people from diverse circles who wouldn't believe aspects of my life I choose not to let them be a part of. I was so embarrassed by my family that I seldom brought them up in conversation. For years my mother did things and spread scuttlebutt throughout the town trying to make my father look worse than he actually was. They were pariahs. I just wanted separation. That helped develop my sense of independence.


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