Last night, my husband found me sitting on the couch watching television in a daze, my eyes red and puffy.
“Are you crying?”
“Were you crying?”
(wipes nose, slips soggy tissue into shirt) “Uh….no, I most certainly was not.” (sniff) “Crying.”(sniff)
(a fat tear slides down my face)
“But it’s a commercial for car insurance.”
“I can’t help it, all right?! Just look at her!” (weeps) “Her name is Flo! FLO! She’s got a ridiculous beehive headband hairdo and she’s way too perky! I hate her with every fiber of my being! It’s so sad! Why do I dislike her so? I’m a terrible, terrible person!” (sobs)
“I need a beer.”
I’ve always been a big crier. When I was a little girl and witnessed any minor injustice at school–kids pushing other kids, kids not taking turns on the slide, kids not sharing their fruit roll-ups with me at lunch–I’d burst into tears. It was my go-to defense tactic. I was just an emotional kid. When my brother knocked my vanilla Jello pudding pop into a mud puddle on purpose, I sobbed uncontrollably for days. When I read that Pa Ingalls had to tell Laura her beloved dog, Jack had died, I cried for months on end. My ability to turn on the waterworks stayed with me throughout my entire life. Once in college, I sobbed while addressing a huge lecture class. There wasn’t even an exam that day.
You’d think I’d harden up, develop that cold cynical shell so many people seem to have once they reach middle age. My crying has only gotten worse. I cry while looking at baby photos of my kids. I sniffle at a stop light when a good song comes on the radio. I tear up when cantaloupes go on sale.
I really like cantaloupe.
I think crying is good for you. I think it means you’re a strong person, that you’re not afraid to feel genuine emotions or appear vulnerable to others.
No? It just means I’m simply a woman? It’s just too much estrogen?
Yeah. Maybe. I’m proud of my emotions. I like to feel things. I have empathy. So what? (soft sob) Is that so wrong? What are you trying to tell me? (sniff) Where’s that ****ing Kleenex?
My tears help connect me to the moment. They remind me of the blessings in life. Sure, I’m cheesy. I admit I’m wimpy. And okay, I’m sappier than that old commercial about Julie through the glass.
(If you don’t cry at this commercial you are nothing but an empty unfeeling robot)
We need to allow ourselves to show more of these sweet emotions in this cruel heartless world. I just wish I could control it better once the flood starts. If only I could be a little more selective in what makes me a pile of mush.
Yesterday I was on the sidelines of my son’s soccer game when it hit me: that was my son out there on the field. My son. Running and kicking and smiling and laughing. My son! I thought, with a tightness in my throat. I have a son! Look at him! He’s amazing and he’s my son! He’s a miracle!
Tears threatened the corners of my eyes like thunder clouds before a rainstorm. Hold it together, Darla. Yes, you’re a mom. He’s your son. No big whoop. He may be a miracle but…let’s be real here…he still doesn’t know how to make himself a bowl of cereal. And yesterday you found him singing in the mirror with his underwear on his head. Now, don’t you cry in front of the soccer coach. There’s no crying in soccer! There’s NO CRYING IN SOCCER! Don’t do it! No! C’mon….suck it up. Oh, for god’s sake, here it comes! Stop crying! Swallow those tears.! This is going to be embarrassing….hold it in….
It may shock you to know my husband doesn’t cry much. Almost never. I think I saw a few tears come out of his eyes once–at the altar when we were about to get married. For all I know, he was crying about the impending loss of being single or had just sliced a huge onion.
“But I have dry eyes!” he protests. “It’s a real medical condition! I am not capable of crying! I have feelings! I swear! What? Don’t look at me like that! I can feel things! I just choose not to show it is all. Wait–what are you doing? Why do you have the tweezers? Get away from me!”
“Oh, c’mon…I just want to pluck one eyebrow. Just one. There’s got to be a tear in there somewhere and I’m gonna force that sucker out.”
Do you cry a lot? Or hardly ever? Ever in public? Or just in private over a beer? If so, what’s wrong with you anyway?