My family isn't much for emotions (as evidenced in my Love Languages post). Sure, we hug and say "I love you," but any more emotional and it can get a little out of our comfort zones. Growing up, emotions were a funny thing to me. I felt them all the time, but I learned early on to suppress those feelings instead of verbalizing or showing them. I processed everything internally, and I found crying to be the most overwhelming expression of emotion.
I didn't see my parents cry very often, but when I did it was confusing. I remember feeling like tears were an intimate thing, only to be dealt with by the person expressing them. I would look anywhere and everywhere but the cheeks upon which the tears fell. When I was sad (or even overly happy) and I felt the tears coming, I would do everything in my small power to keep them contained within my eyes. I would talk over the frog in my throat from trying to override emotion. I would try to think of anything other than what was making me emotional.
But even the most well-built emotional dam will burst.
And mine bursted all over the place.
I remember the first time a leak formed in my emotional dam. I was in 6th grade, and two of my friends and I went to see the movie The Man Without a Face. Have you seen it? It's heavy. And while I had to steel myself a few times, I made it to nearly the end of the flick without dropping even one tear. Then the final scene came, and Mel Gibson shows up at Chuck's graduation, and LAAAAWD I lost it. Like lost it. My face was completely saturated with wet, hot tears. I didn't know how to handle this emotion: how moving the final scene was, crying in public, crying in front of my friends. It was so much happening all at once. But, as with most movie tears, you get over it once the credits roll. I found both of my friends with wet eyes, and realized me crying over a movie wasn't that big of a deal.
And it kind of felt good.
I still spent the next few years refraining from crying in public. But, you see, I have a pretty soft heart. And I am moved quite easily. During those years, I spent my weekends like most teenagers: watching movies with my friends. And it was inevitable that another movie would do me in.
That movie was The Green Mile.
I was actually on a group date with my then-high-school boyfriend and his friends. I didn't know his friends well, so I was even more determined to keep a straight face through the movie. But gosh darnit, when John Coffey is riding the lightening at the end of the movie?
And soon after, I just accepted the fact that I am an emotional person. Actually, I embraced it. If you know me, you might find this humorous, as I still am not great at showing emotions. But I have become quite the Secret Crier. Almost to a fault. Movies, TV Shows, Songs, Events. There are few things that don't tug at my tender heart strings.
I am one big wuss.
To illustrate just how dire my Secret Crying Situation is, I have compiled a short list of things that have made (or still make) me cry (alone or in public):
The movie The Man Without A Face
The movie The Green Mile
Every episode of The Wonder Years
Every episode of Parenthood
An unexpected act of kindness
An expected act of kindness
The movie Pay It Forward
Finding a $5 bill in my jacket pocket on a bad day
The song Christmas Shoes
The movie My Life
Jon Stewart's interview with Malala Yousafzai (*I cried while watching this at Panera Bread)
Anything posted by Upworthy
The book The Help
The song Where Are You Christmas
The children's book Where the Wild Things Are
The movie I Am Sam
Receiving a compliment
Almost any video of a singing Flash Mob
The book Of Mice and Men
Most things that Glennon of Momastery shares on Facebook
The movie Awakenings
When people work together to do great things
The book Flowers for Algernon
The movie Stepmom
Every time I watched the light parade at Disney World
When McDreamy got shot
The movie Little Women
Most commercials from the 80's (Like this one. Gets me every time)
The movie Terms of Endearment
The story The Velveteen Rabbit
The movie Titanic
The book I'll Love You Forever
Every Disney movie
And that's the short list, people.
There you have it. The many instances where I find myself in tears. I now considered you forewarned, should we find ourselves together for a movie night, or watching an episode of Parenthood, or holiday shopping and the song Christmas Shoes comes on.
What about you?
Are you a Secret (or not-so-secret) Crier?
What tugs at your heartstrings?