Sunday, May 3, 2015

People - It's Okay to Express Emotions

My grandmother used to tell me that you could read my emotions by my looking at my face.  She told me within a few seconds of talking to me on the phone, she could tell what my mood was.  As a child and teenager, I loved that my grandmother could read me so easily.  It seemed to me that if people could read me, I was being true to how I felt.  It wasn't until I grew to adulthood, more specifically became a lawyer, that expressing emotions seemed weak.  More specifically, that expressing emotions as a female was weak.  

People are filled with emotions.  But, we feel that being stoic, or the strong, silent type is preferable than expressing sadness, anger, joy or any of the many emotions that people feel every day.  People, including me, do not like whiners and complainers, but that is not what I am talking about.  A few times in trial, when talking about what has happened to my clients, I have become choked up.  The emotions were real, and very limited.  Yet, in federal court, before a trial I was admonished to not cry.  I do not think of myself as a crybaby.  I feel I am honest with my emotions, but emotions are frowned upon in court.

Why are we so afraid of true emotions?  Macho men do not cry.  When a baseball player is hit in the side by a 96 mile per hour pitch, he had better not flinch.  If he does, we think he is weak. Plus, you know how women are, around that time of the month.  Totally emotional.  Whole families go through generation after generation without expressing love for one another.  It's common for families and friends and co-workers to prefer talking behind another's back rather than confronting someone with a perceived slight or misdeed.  

What kind of macho, stoic, confrontation avoiding society is this?  Why do we feel it's strong or brave to hide hurt, compassion, or love?  Do we all need to behave like Gary Cooper in "High Noon?"  I come from a family of strong, silent-type men.  They hate my emoting.  Is it excess testosterone?  

As a female lawyer, I worry about how juries will perceive me.  I am emotional.  That makes some people uncomfortable.  I am old enough to no longer care.  It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.  

I know that this blog post may make little sense to some.  It may not be the most articulate or well-reasoned piece, but I don't care.  

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