Boys Are Also Flowers

At the end of this, I'm not sure what I'll have done. Ask questions or ramble along an uncharted course. I hope you understand though.

I have seen the way women carelessly throw theirselves into embraces in church. I have seen girls squeal and scream in delight when they see each other after a long time. I have seen them cry over 'little things' and I've seen them hold hands in public places or lean on each other in buses but there's something queer about tenderness in men. It's like there's a blueprint for being a man that every parent, every boy, every girl has a memorised copy of. It's sad.

Is it that boys cannot also be flowers that can wither and also bloom. That can show colors and vulnerability? That can offer crumble under so much weight?

The first time I saw my father cry, it was when he lost his father. His crying was like a performance. It didn't seem like he knew how to cry. It was almost ridiculous. The way he covered his face, heaved his shoulders up and down and muttered words we barely heard. We( my mom, brother and I) didn't know what to do. We just kept looking at him and hoped he would stop. I caught my brother suppressing a laugh. Nothing prepared us for what we witnessed. I've never seen him cry since then.

It's as if after the basic education in Primary 5, a boy is flung at a wall and from the wreckage, the man comes forth. The one that's not supposed to run out of the house at the sound of his father's motorcycle to hug him and ask for air rides. The one that's not supposed to cry because boys don't cry. The one that's supposed to stay away from idle women talk. The one that's supposed to avoid hand holding by his mother when they are about to cross a road. The one that's supposed to be in control of his emotions. It's as if he just came to be, without traces of early tenderness.

Where I come from, it's a feminine thing to cry. Tenderness and vulnerability is a taboo for men. Almost an effeminate thing to do.

I don't know if I'm writing this right but I hope you're getting the point. Why can't I cry after seeing a movie like 'The fault in our stars' ? Why can't I admit it to my friends that I cried after seeing the movie. Why can't I talk about how I lost my virginity? I'm not asking to be allowed to but why does it sound absurd? Does it have to be a taboo thing for a man to express himself without being chastised for acting like a woman?

My roommate, I've seen him, there are things he does for me and I want to say thank you and give him a big hug but I can't. It's' 'unmanly' to be that tender. When I get unpleasant news from home and I need to cry my eyes out, I leave the room. I can't cry with him in the room and I can't even tell him how I feel. We don't talk about our fears. We only talk about sports and girls. We don't admit that we are scared of the dark or can't actually face the humongous rats in the room. We can't talk about how feel about the girls in our lives.

My first heartbreak, no one in my room noticed that I was lying down with my face to the wall. I got up and left the room. I completely avoided spots that people will usually go to. I found one and cried to my heart's content. When I got to the room, they were all fast asleep. It's the way we've been taught to act. To not notice when things are falling away. To keep our tenderness in check.

The way women talk, the ritual that is plaiting each other's hairs, the exchange in the market place, the intimacy of sitting in circles to gush over guys, the siliness that is comparing their endowments, the issue of bathing together (I can't even take off my shorts in the room), the comfort that is leaning on and crying on a girl when you're heartbroken, it's nonexistent in men. Are we not flowers too?

Why do we groom boys to think that they can handle everything on their own? That they have capes and are from Krypton? That they can take charge of situations? That they are not allowed to show weakness? That they just came to be? That they shouldn't and are not allowed to cry? That emotions are better kept in check than wildly expressed? That all through their lives, they are supposed to be strong and never come apart like badly strung beads. That they shouldn't cry after terrible heartbreaks? That they are supposed to swiftly move on? That they are not supposed to curl up in a ball and cry because life's is equally mean to both genders? Why do we ask boys to get rid of their flowery forms and take on cloaks of hard-heartedness?

Is tenderness a feminine thing?

P. S I took this picture in church and the lights in my church are wildlings. They just love to have their way with me. You have to forgive the blurriness.

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