They never taught me how to cry

No tears. Never tears.

They never taught me how to cry

They never taught me how to cry
When I was hurt in the playground,
'Big boys don't cry' and
'Tough it out' and 'You're okay'.
I was taught that,
But no tears. Never tears.

They never taught me how to cry
When I was sad and felt lost
'Solve the problem, don't dwell on the feelings'
And 'be strong for those around you'.
I was taught that,
But no tears. Never tears.

They never taught me how to cry
When I had nightmares in the corners of the night
And the minutes were as long as hours,
Magnified by the dark glass of fear.
I got strong, and hard, and learned about being alone.
I was taught that,
But no tears. Never tears.

They never taught me how to cry
When my nascent, yearning heart was broken
'It's okay to cry' they told me,
With a nod and a wink, indicating it wasn't, because also
'Girls like the strong, silent type,' and
'Real men don't cry'. 'No tears.' Never tears.
I was taught that, too.

They never taught me how to cry
When I got angry and frustrated
'Anger is negative' and 'don't express negative emotions'
Anger is evil. Frustration is weakness.
Don't be evil. Don't be weak.
And above all, 'don't yell', 'never yell'.
But that anger makes you strong, don't forget.
I was taught that also.
And no tears. Never tears.

Now, when I need it most
When the world is brimming with uncertainty,
When there's more pain and suffering,
more fear and doubt.
When the stakes are nothing more or less than life or death
It turns out that now, when I need it most,
I don't know how to cry.

Now, when I need it most
It's gone. Atrophied away.
I've lost the knack, lost the know-how,
Lost the ability, it seems.
Because I was never taught, it turns out
I don't know how to cry.

Now, when I need it most
All I know is hurt and fear and loss,
a broken heart, anger and frustration.
All these things I was taught to contain, I contain.
I swell with it all. Now it's too big, too much,
too long growing in the darkness with no release.

Now, when we need the tears the most
It comes out exactly the way you'd expect.
I don't want to, I try to keep it reined in,
but it is what I was taught, tacitly, explicitly.
I hurt, scare and take, I break, anger and frustrate.
The one feeling I have left I know how to express
Is so big it destroys everything.
Because that is what I was taught.

I could really use some tears now,
But I don't know how to cry.