Big Girls Don't Cry


Monday morning rush hour in the subway. Personal space doesn't exist but everyone is calm, quiet and respectful reading their book, catching up on emails or listening to music. Someone had very loud music and I recognized the song. I turned to see who it was coming from. It was blaring from the earphones of an anorexic woman in her 30's. She didn't look healthy, nor happy. Her pale skin stretched over her bones, her eyes were deep in their sockets, her hair was balding slightly and, worst of all, there was no spark of life in her eyes. 

The song that she listened to loudly, as if she wanted to block out any sounds of the world was Fergie’s "Big Girls Don't Cry". After it finished playing, it played again... and again. It was as if she needed to repeatedly be reminded that she should not cry otherwise she would burst into tears. 

I really wanted to take her in my arms and tell her it's ok to cry, let out whatever it is you are feeling. I felt compassion, empathy and sadness. I wanted to invite her for a coffee, tell her how important it is to listen to her feelings and give her a box of Feeling Magnets to help her get started towards a happier and healthier life. It's not a magic box, but it has worked wonders for me and if I can share it with others so that it can help them too, then I would love to.

I love that song by Fergie and I have also listened to it many times years ago. At the time I hadn't thought about the words very much because it is something we hear adults tell children so often. Yes, we constantly hear "Don't cry", "Don't be sad", "Be brave", "Don't be scared"... That is when we start to suppress, ignore and hide our feelings. We think it’s the normal thing to do and we don’t realize that this is the beginning of a vicious cycle.

With what I know today, I feel the urge to write Fergie a letter letting her know what a wrong message she has sent out with her song. How much damage it may be causing to the girls, ladies and women that listen to her song and take it’s message to heart. Maybe one day I will.

For now I will do my part of creating awareness around the importance of feeling our feelings, explaining a heavy and taboo subject in an approachable and easy to understand way and just talking about feelings until it becomes normal.

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