When I was born, I cried and tears ran down my face, arms flailing everywhere.

When I was 3, tears ran down my face that had just been punctured from the side of a counter.

When I was 6, tears flowed as my mom left me at my new classroom.

When I was 8, tears rushed down my cheeks as I choked up telling my mom how my brother had pushed me down the stairs.

Then I grew up. 9, 10, 11, 12… no tears. I was a big girl. I was the coolest. And I certainly, did not cry. Crying is weakness.

During these years, I thought I was… dead inside. I thought to myself that I had cried it all out and my “tear tank” was empty. Even after my 6th grade boyfriend broke my heart, there were no tears. My family wondered why I didn’t even cry in Little Women when we watched it. I was rock solid; stone cold. I didn’t cry as girls rumoured aspersions behind my back. I didn’t cry as I left two schools in the span of 3 years. I did not cry when I had a bad race. I did not cry for an eternity.

Then it all came flooding.

I cried almost every day when I was 14 onto 15. I would cry myself to sleep. I would cry in the bathroom. I would cry at bad grades, bad races, and mean girls. I would cave into the sadness. It would consume me as I plastered on a fake face. I would smile at the boys teasing me. I would hug the girls who made those aspersions. I laughed at the jokes about me, and I’d critic myself even more. I was my biggest bully.

When I turned 16, things got better for awhile. I found myself swimming in artificial happiness. I swam so deep into my happiness, I was consumed by it. Then in a split second, I realized I couldn’t hold my breath forever. The tears came again.

Now I am 17, and I can’t say I have found a balance. I have no method to help all those who are emotional, stuffy nosed, and puffy eyed. All I can tell you is this…

Sadness is not weakness. 

Don’t let the tears you shed strangle you. For 16 years of my life, I’ve believed that being a girl meant putting on a mask of makeup to cover up the lack of sleep I get, and the amount of tears I shed. I want all boys and girls to understand that the tears they shed are as significant as the smiles they crack, and the tough times only make them stronger in the future.

I am a helpless romantic, I cry at the cheesiest story plots now. I cry at kittens in the pet store and I cry at the animals dying in the seas and farms. Never trick yourself into thinking anything you feel is invalid. Feel life for all it is.