comfort in my expression
by jessica leach
I cry. I am told I am over-emotional. I am too sensitive.
I yell. I am told I am mean. I should be more compassionate, that kindness would be more effective than anger.
I realize, then, that the person they want me to be is complacent and emotionless, and I desire to be neither.
I also think how men nod in agreement at each other for starting wars for their fragile egos, for causing damage all around them for not getting their way.
Seldom do they recognize an overreaction in each other, and instead they assign that word to women who, in our range of feeling, hide ourselves the way we hide all parts of our body: in shame and fear.
I want to be proud of how I feel, because I feel in all ways, in every shade. I like expressing my emotions, and I like expressing them out loud.
If I am angry, let me be angry.
If I am sad, let me be sad.
Your job isn’t to quiet my ranting or wipe away my tears. I have my own two hands for that.
Men policing the way women express their emotions is not new. I’ve always been made to feel “hysterical” and that my feelings would be better attributed to hormones and menstruation than just being what I actually feel.
No wonder it’s taken me so long to feel comfortable, to feel out loud. Even still, men come to hush me like they would a crying baby.
But finally, I feel free. I have learned to quiet the critics around me and raise my own voice. I have learned to speak up and be heard, to feel as much as I want to, to cry when I need to, to yell when I am hurt.
I found comfort in my expression.