The tensile strength of a woman’s heart is measured in decibels of silent tears.
Quiet tears, hidden tears. Tears of joy, elation, shock, sorrow, heartbreak, anger, failure and triumph.
They are salty, seasoned generously with our emotions. Their voluptuous shape belies the arid reservoir of strength from where they flow. Their bitterness is bas relief to the sweet release they bring.
We forget we can cry, that we even know how. We deny these tears exist. We push down, shoulder on, steel our resolve. We feel our heartstrings pulled, like thin wires heated over and over again, stretched into gossamer strands that carry the weight of our world.
When we do cry, we cry furtively, wordlessly, secretly in locked cars, public bathroom stalls, under the drumbeat of the shower. We choose places where our anonymity can be preserved, so no one, NO ONE, will see us broken and torn.
Tears. Tear. Torn.
The salinity of our tears corrodes the wires of our heart. The rust gathers, devouring us until the wires unravel into a maelstrom of emotions.
They do stop. Eventually.
They have to.
Life clamors for our attention, our presence.
We mop up the flood, and realize our heartstrings are whole, intact. They are more flexible, capable of carrying greater payloads, more gross tonnage.
We gather the rust and ocher of these salty tears and mix them like tempera paint into bright colors, colors that give our lives punctuation, emphasis, contrast and depth. They adorn the manuscripts of our lives like the illustrations in ancient scrolls.
We don’t cry publicly, but you see our tears in our hard-won wisdom and grace, in our beautiful strength. You hear their echo in our stories. You understand their worth when we break your fall with our compassion. Their silent decibels shout out through every strong woman.
Listen. Listen closely.