IT'S OK TO CRY
This piece WAS DESIGNED WHEN I (Erwin Hines) WAS PERSONALLY FINDING IT HARD TO EXPRESS MY OWN EMOTIONS. I DESIGNED IT AS A WAY TO challenge THE held ideas of strength AND MENTAL HEALTH within communities of color, IN PARTICULAR AMONG BLACK MEN. Growing up as a Black man, WE WERE not encouraged to ACKNOWLEDGE OR GIVE SPACE TO our emotions. Even if it was not outwardly said, there were many moments THAT REINFORCE THE IDEA THAT EMOTIONS SHOULD BE HIDDEN. SHOWING THEM WOULD REVEAL WEAKNESS AND POSITION YOU AS LESS THAN A FULL MAN. AS A RESULT, you hold in your emotions AND put on a face of strength and A MASK OF “masculinity” for the world. ONCE THAT MASK IS ON, YOU HAVE TO LIE TO YOURSELF ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL IN ORDER TO PRESENT THE IDEA OF MASCULINITY TO THE WORLD WHICH ULTIMATELY numbs you. This cycle is toxic and not only does it impact us, but it also impacts how we show up for those around us. As a man, it is important to step out of the system of patriarchal masculinity and part of that process is addressing mental health. While the piece says “it’s OK to cry” this was about STEPPING OUTSIDE OF Masculinity as defined by patriarchy AND STEPPING INTO OUR FULL HUMANITY BY embracing AND GIVING ADEQUATE SPACE TO THE full spectrum of emotions. White supremacy and patriarchy are intimately connected and we can’t dismantle White supremacy without also dismantling patriarchy.