Sorry, Fonz… the advice wasn’t good in the 50’s, nor was it good in the 70’s when Happy Days was first aired on television. And it sure isn’t good now. The saying that a burden shared is halved has more value in today’s world than it ever did.
Big girls don’t cry.
Never let them see you sweat.
Suck it up…
Men were never allowed to show emotion, as it was a sign of weakness. Women were told to be subservient in order to “get” a man, as if they needed their protection. The antiquated mores are so ingrained in our psyche, that to resist them is contraindicated by our own culture. Anthropologists would tell you that it is part of our DNA to behave this way.
It does not necessarily have to be. Exactly when are we, as human beings, permitted to experience the human condition authentically? (I mean, without repercussion?) We’ve seen the beginnings of it in the past two or three years with the #MeToo movement, with backlash for bad behavior, with a crusade on behalf of our better angels.
But what happens if you’re pockets aren’t lined with gold? What happens if you’re not a Gold Medalist in Olympic Gymnastics? What happens if the person who tried to rape you wasn’t a Supreme Court Nominee? What happens if you haven’t won an Oscar for a movie you made?
Then you are more like me and most women, who have had life happen to them but who have had neither the big stage nor the big name to fight your battles with or for you. And like me, many women have snuffed out memories of some of these horrendous experiences and tried to live normal lives without making any waves.
Guess what? Big girls do cry. They sweat, too. And after a while, they can’t suck it up nor hold it in any longer. If you’ve ever held a spring down long enough, eventually it has to bounce back. The energy amassed from holding down can be explosive. Some of us handle it well, some don’t.
I didn’t. Somebody had to tell me that a burden shared was halved. Somebody had to stop me from blaming myself and being angry with myself and being unkind to myself. You know, when you bang your head against the wall long enough, it feels good when you stop.
I stopped. I stopped, and then I started writing about it. To date, I’ve written three fictional novels about some of the demons women deal with in life. “A Life, Well… Lived!”, “Okay, So I Lied!”, and “Voices from the Ledge” all deal with topics that women find it hard to talk about. (Sexual abuse/assault, sexual identity issues, addiction/alcoholism, suicidal ideation, etc.). All have been written in light fiction, approachable fashion so readers can identify with the heroines.
In essence, I’ve shared my burdens through fictional characters, in hopes that women like me will find solace in the fact that they are not alone. There is always hope. So PLEASE, don’t sit on it…