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There’s No Crying In Baseball

Uncategorized Oct 23, 2017

There’s No Crying In Baseball

picture yourself, if you can, sitting in your office surrounded by work associates.

your phone rings, it’s your kids school- the nurse is calling to tell you your son or daughter is in their office sick and they need to go home. 

you just sat down and started whatever it was that you needed to work on.

you cannot believe the timing- that whenever you finally find a moment to focus, something comes up. 

you can’t catch a break.

you have more to do than you can think of.

not to mention it’s Monday…

what do you do?

here’s what i did;

i started crying. 

at my desk.

in my office.

located in the back of a beautiful lingerie store.

it was noon…

obviously, i wasn’t upset about my daughter needing to be picked up from school. i mean, i was a little because of the inconvenience, but it was all the other stressful little ‘things’ that had been weighing on me and building up that caused the flood gates to open.

i didn’t want the girls in the office to see my eyes watering. 

i kept my head down, took a deep breath and tried to swallow back my tears.

i couldn’t let them see me cry…. 

because there is no crying in baseball. 

are you familiar with this scene from A League of Their Own?

Tom Hanks stars as a baseball coach to a team of women during WW2. One of the girls makes a poor play causing them the game and he lays into her. at which point she starts crying. - his total shock is beyond comical as he asks her if she’s crying. she denies it, with tears coming down her face and he yells at her,

‘THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!’

it’s ridiculously funny,

and at the same time, relevant; 

we have been taught that crying is weak and showing any emotion is socially unacceptable. 

but what’s a person to do when they 100% identify with the character who breaks down when they fuck up and or get yelled at? 

when your instinct is to cry, how do you manage?

as early as i can remember, regardless of the emotion i was experiencing- scared, angry, overwhelmed, sad, tears came with it. i had no other way of expressing myself or controlling it. ironically, i was raised by a man, to whom this day, i’ve never seen cry. his generation, like the ones before and after, raised their boys to be men who didn’t cry or ‘feel’. i remember being 4 or 5 when i was with my dad and i saw a grown man cry. 

i was shocked. 

i had no idea boys could cry. 

i’m not suggesting my dad was a hardened, heartless man, but he never revealed that side of himself to us. 

the man i saw was of little emotion; 

funny, impatient, angry, semi-consoling…. 

but never an emotion on the scale of sadness or one that amounted to tears.

when i would get upset, he would tell me, 

‘ash, you are too sensitive. you feel too much with your heart.’ 

i know he meant that in the most loving way possible. 

i think a part of him worried that i needed to harden. 

because life is hard. 

and the people around us can be even harder.

despite being raised in a society that tells you, ‘there’s no crying in baseball’, I've had to accept i’m an emotional being, a feeler, and hiding my feelings doesn’t work for me. 

it’s not sustainable.

it’s almost laughable and at times embarrassing, because even if i’m mad, i’ll cry.

 i can feel complete and physical rage in my bones and the tears will flow. 

{except for the time i was prescribed steroids for a blood condition;

that was pure rage and no tears…

that was terrifying}

you may wonder how i manage my emotions in my ‘adult life’? 

i can tell you it’s been a lot of trial and much more error. 

i’ve learned the hard way that if i try to cover up what i’m really feeling, i will crack. i’ve also found myself in positions that people have accused me of ‘being emotional’ causing me to want to keep my guard up and act stoic. 

I can also tell you another thing-

regardless of sexual orientation, people get really uncomfortable when other people are crying.

ask most business women and they will tell you you have to go in to the boardroom with little to no emotion or no one will take you seriously. 

you have to be strong, assertive, in control. 

you have to be bossy. 

you have to be a bitch.

I’ve managed to sit through most of my business meetings with the exception of one last year without crying. it wasn’t a sobbing ugly cry, but more of a hot tears stuck in my eyeballs while i listened carefully to people talking words that didn’t jive with the outcome i wanted. the minute those people exited the room, i lost it.

liquid hot tears. 

(this could be my superhero name)

I did my best to hold it together during this specific meeting because it was a ‘work’ meeting and you know what they say…

fast forward to a meeting with my sons school when he found himself in some trouble- i was a total shit show. could not stop crying. there were side eyes on me and tissues being passed from all different directions.

but those moments, though tears were involved, were managed.

i gave myself permission to feel honestly, regardless of how that would make others around me feel. 

THAT ALL BEING SAID…

There was a long period of time where i denied my feelings for the sake of those around me. i felt i had no choice.

i was after all,

not only an adult,

but a mother.

i looked for stoic women around me as examples. those who seemed strong, independent and capable. but even when i was striving to project myself as these figures, i always fell short. 

one of these examples that has always stuck with me was Jackie O. when JFK was shot and killed, our nation witnessed and experienced first hand the trauma as it was displayed on tv. our country mourned, but Jackie O held herself together in front of the cameras. 

some say it was to show her children strength. 

others say it was all about setting a scene. 

one of hundreds of thousands of letters that were sent to jackie o afterwards said the following;

“The whole world is mourning and emotional girls like myself have been screaming and crying hysterically thru all of it—but you—the one who has suffered the most—have managed to remain composed. Please don’t let anything change that.”

from experience, i can say that when my first husband passed away, i did manage to 

‘remain composed’. 

call it shock. 

call it preoccupied with all the decisions that had to be made. 

call it ‘keeping it together for my children.’

but i will admit, when my son and daughter scattered their fathers ashes into the ocean, i lost it. 

there was no armor strong enough to hide my grief from my children or those around me.

after that though, i knew i had to be their rock. any sadness i felt was pushed to the side,

so that i could remain strong for them.

it was years of hiding my feelings,

numbing my feelings.

denying my feelings.

after my second marriage had come to an end and i found myself raising my kids on my own, i entered a reality unlike one i’d ever known. 

i was terrified. 

the pressure i felt- that i was all my kids had- was too heavy for me to even comprehend. 

i knew i had to make some major lifestyle changes- the main one being removing alcohol from my life.

i had become that girl who would drink a glass of wine on her couch after dinner and start crying. 

i thought it was the wine…

little did i know i had been micro-managing my emotions for so long, that it didn’t matter if it was wine or lemonade in my glass- i just needed to cry. 

and pretty soon, i was crying with my kids.

we were crying about their father.

i was crying about how hard single parenting was/is

i was crying that i couldn’t stop crying.

some might say that i was laying out an unhealthy landscape for my children. that they might feel scared or wonder if their mother was ‘strong’ enough to take care of everything around them.

maybe some of those people are right.

(time will tell)

one thing that started to happen was my son and daughter started opening up about how sad they were that their dad had died.

(yes, years later) 

i would vocalize back to them,

‘it is sad your dad died.

you have every right to feel sad.’

shortly after, nick told me about his personal experience he had the day his dad had a stroke- he had been with him-  we both cried together. 

want to know something? 

as the years have gone on, i’ve witnessed that i have a sensitive son. it’s who he is by nature. if i raised him according to society, it would be to shut that down in him… 

i refuse to. 

instead, i encourage him to cry. 

we often sit at the end of movies, talking and crying. i always know the scenes he will react to, because i too am reacting the same way.

we are feelers, we are emphatic, 

and i’m not going to deny him of being him.

you should have seen us during Finding Dory, the end of Straight Out Of Compton, Baby Driver… holding hands, tears streaming down our faces, sharing our grief.

ironically, my daughter will invite me to movies, specifically teen-lit; The Stars Above, If I Stay, etc and side eye me until it happens: someone dies and the waterworks commence. she watches me sob. i swear she does it on purpose! she will make fun of me after-

i’ll tell her she’s heartless ;)

the three of us watching ‘This Is Us’ is absurd; i cry at least once during every episode, nick a close 2nd and faith every other one. it always amazes me afterwards when we are discussing how we feel about what happened. what prompted us to get upset. 

it’s some of the best group therapy i’ve been in! 

over the years they have seen me melt down when work has been hard.

these are not my proudest moments, but they happen. 

at the dinner table. 

in the car. 

i always tell them i’m sorry when i’m crying. 

they both, with a hand on my shoulder, tell me not to be. 

that it’s okay- that it’s going to be okay. 

i was recently reading about a celebrity divorce and the wife was quoted saying that she was focused on staying strong for her kids and was doing ‘a lot of crying in the shower’.

you know what i save for the shower? 

my vibrator. 

that’s what i don’t want my kids to hear.

me crying? pretending everything is okay? 

personally, i feel like i’m setting them up for failure if i don’t show them real emotion. 

i 100% mean that.

at 14 and almost 17, my kids can call me in tears about anything and know 100% i will not judge them or their feelings. 

they will know their mother is human. that she has experienced pain, failure, heartache and she is relatable.

understanding how to, i’ll say it, ‘handle’ emotional people will serve them well. 

it will allow others to show them their true selves instead of feeling like they have to hold back who they are. 

we ‘feelers’ instinctively try to protect those around us by not letting anyone know when life is not good or we are struggling. 

you know what? 

fuck that. 

tell me your struggles. 

cry to me. 

stop trying to protect me or others from the real you. 

life isn’t a game of baseball. 

besides,

it’s unfair to both parties involved,

especially you.

you deserve to feel- 

and from my experience, when we do share, not only does it help us heal, but it always sparks something within the other person. 

i witness it time after time. 

they will find themselves opening up and sharing an experience or letting their guard down long enough to hold a hand or hug it out. 

THIS is the human experience… 

or at least the one i want to live.  

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