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Stratton Smith

A Blessing To Cry

by Stratton "The Cry Baby" Smith | Dec 12, 2016

I’m both haunted and blessed upon witnessing my father cry for the first time. As a boy, I naturally drew conclusions to what manliness was defined as, but all those were broken in a matter of moments. My father was hurt. Really hurt. He was hurt… seeing me hurt. My father cried like a man. It wasn’t hysterical or a sob, but a transformation of his face.

We all know the look of someone trying to hold back tears. Numb, slightly widened eyes looking down at nothing. Those same eyes, once dry, slowly become more red, filling with tears. Teeth clinched, yet concealed from anyone’s view; Your lips, uncontrollably shaking as you fight to conceal this energy ready to burst out at any moment. You open your mouth to obtain a deep breath, but isn’t found immediately, resulting your eyes to shift to the ceiling, as you attempt to take another breath. Then among making eye contact with the person surrounded in the essence of your emotion, you look at them, red-eyed, and flatly smile with only a grin.

Too often we internalize our feelings, especially as men, when more than anything we just need to cry. I don’t like to voice my stresses to the Internet, but last week was nothing short of an emotionally-wrecking week; I had confusions of my calling, past decisions I had made, and built-up stress that my body couldn’t contain much longer. Like most people, I held it in. It sucked.

Then when I went home I cried. When I say cried, I mean CRIED. I turned on the hot water of my shower, turned the lights off, buried my forehead against the wall attached to the showerhead directly above my head and I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Do you ever start to cry and eventually, in the middle of your little episode, forget why you are crying? Yeah. Me too.

The point of telling you all this is that it’s okay to cry. In fact, I would almost argue that it’s not okay to NOT cry. In my (watery) eyes, if you aren’t crying then you aren’t living. To cry is a blessing.

So as finals week approaches and maybe some of you are getting this message a few days late, but just know that NO MATTER WHAT, these feelings of stress, depression, anxiety, etc., WILL fade and will not last a lifetime. Go out. Go cry. Don’t text your ex about how much you miss them. Let out that stress.


Stratton Smith ’17 is an English major, hailing from a small town just east of Indianapolis. Stratton is the captain of the tennis team, co-founder of Academic Probation, Manchester's improv troupe, and Vice President of the Theatre & Society club.