It’s Alright to Cry

Growing up in the 1970s, I used to go to our public library and check out albums to play on my record player back home. One of the albums which I would check out over and over again was entitled, Free to Be You and Me. This album was the work of Marlo Thomas and many other celebrities such as Alan Alda, Carol Channing, Tom Smothers, Dick Cavett, Harry Belfonte, Shirley Jones, Diana Ross, Mel Brooks, and Rosey Grier. (If you are too young to know any of those names, Google them.) The 70s was a time when society was beginning to reinvent itself and its view of males and females. Although it was a good start, there would be over thirty more years of work before we actually began to let people be free who they were born to be without the stereotypical expectations. One could easily argue that we still have not fully arrived, but we are a lot farther along than we were in the 1970s and this album is one of the efforts to move us along.

I greatly enjoyed this album and would sing along with it over and over again. I am sure my parents got very tired of hearing this music come out of my room so often. My love ofthis album was linked to the struggle which I was having not fitting into the stereotypes of a young boy, and eventually a teenager, growing up in a rural Iowa community. I was bullied a lot as a child and became the source of many jokes. The songs on this album spoke to me about the pain I was feeling, my struggle with “fitting in,” and my hope for a better way to live.

One of my favorite songs was sung by Rosey Grier. Rosey was a professional football player who was very large in size. The song, It’s Alright to Cry, was a conversation that Rosey was having with a young boy who was crying and terribly ashamed for doing so. Here are the lyrics to the song:

It’s alright to cry

Crying gets the sad out of you

It’s alright to cry

It might make you feel better

Raindrops from your eyes

Washing all the mad out of you

Raindrops from your eyes

It’s gonna make you feel better

It’s alright to feel things

Though the feelings may be strange

Feelings are such real things

And they change and change and change

Sad ‘n’ grumpy, down in the dumpy

Snuggly, hugly, mean ‘n’ ugly

Sloppy, slappy, hoppy, happy

Change and change and change

It’s alright to know

Feelings come and feelings go

It’s all right to cry

It might make you feel better

{Spoken}

It’s alright to cry, little boy

I know some big boys that cry too

Written by Carol Hall

Since there were many days that I would return to my room after school and cry, hearing Rosey Grier sing a song which gives permission was very helpful. I grew up in a household which had a strong English ancestry and the concept of a male crying was not acceptable. My tears reminded me what a failure I was and how my inability to fit the stereotypes was really because there was something wrong with me.

Society’s view of males who cry has changed tremendously since the 1970s. Thank goodness! We have come to realize that tears are a natural response to emotions, or as the song says, feelings, which is a part of every human being. I have also come to accept that my crying is not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength enough to let my emotions be visible. You can find me occasionally crying during a movie, while watching a television show, or some days when life events bring on a flood of sadness.

Over this last week, I have followed the postings of friends, family and strangers back in Cedar Rapids, Iowa which experienced a derecho last Monday. I have been on phone calls with them, received text messages, received pictures, and watched videos on social media (since national news media has only covered it minimally). There have been times that I have cried in grief and empathy. I cannot even begin to imagine how many tears most of them have shed as they have lived through a horrific experience. Yes, Iowans are strong and able to overcome any obstacle placed in their way. Yes, Iowans generally do not whine and sit around waiting for help. Iowans go into action and make a difference. But there still have been times of exhaustion, grief as they see the destruction all around them, and periods of uncertainty as they sit without electricity, cell service, and internet. These are the times that Iowans go to their quiet place and cry.

I want to tell all my fellow Iowans, it is alright to cry. I want to tell everyone who is reading this, wherever you may be, that in life there are times that crying will be one of the most therapeutic actions you can take for yourself. Do not be afraid to cry. Like Rosey Grier sings, “Feelings come and feelings go,” and “It might make you feel better.”

Inspired

What is it that inspires you?

This is a question that I ask myself often as a writer. When I sit down to plan out blog posts or work on some other aspect of my writing, I sit quietly in an effort to open myself to being inspired. Writing, like many other artistic forms of expression, requires inspiration. However, it is not just in the artistic areas of my life which requires me to be inspired. I need to be inspired throughout many aspects of my life.

Admittedly, there are many days in which I need to be inspired to get out of bed. When the alarm goes off and it is time to roll out of bed, there are occasions when I lay there and wonder why not stay in bed. Usually, our two dogs are the first inspirations for me to get up. They depend on us to take them for a walk in the morning. They also know the routine well enough that they will bother me until I get up and start my day. Other days I am inspired to get out bed because of my husband and plans that we may have for the day.

Lawn care is another area of life in which I need inspiration. There are many weeks that I would like to avoid having to mow the yard once again. Some days I would prefer not to have to go through the process of watering plants and trees we have throughout our landscaping. Especially when it is hot like it currently is in Texas, I want to be inside as much as possible. Unless of course, I am spending time in the pool. Which requires daily maintenance that I only can do because I am inspired to get into a clean pool. In all of these situations, my inspiration comes from the beauty I see when I have completed the chores.

When it comes to writing, I find that it is more difficult some days to find inspiration than other days. As I was just beginning my writing career, I would become very frustrated on the days when I struggled to be inspired. I would sit and stare at my computer screen, or maybe outside a window, only to have a spark of inspiration elude me. Over time, I discovered that it is alright to have periods where I felt uninspired. My experience was that there would be other days when the inspiration seemed unstoppable. On those days I would record all the ideas so that I had them to fall back on during days without much, if any, inspiration.

What things in your life require inspiration? Where do you find that inspiration you need?

May you always find the inspiration which you need to be successful in accomplishing whatever lays before you.