A baby will cry the SECOND she is irritated, hungry, too cold, too hot, stuck in an uncomfortable position, or hurt, with no filter, no hesitation, no wondering if a good hearty cry is really the most acceptable or effective form of communication, the baby will just let it out…mewing with tears or a full-bodied wail with heaving sobs…whatever kind of cry the baby creates it is because she is not feeling good…We assume she is feeling something other than what she wants to be feeling. It is so simple. Why once we are all “grown up” do we have to hide behind a facade of “everything’s fine” ALL the time??!! What if a good heaving cry with buckets of tears is the best way to communicate that something is amiss??!! Why do we have to filter ourselves as adults to the point of NOT feeling or NOT expressing our genuine upset or distress??!!
Now to be clear, I have not felt the need to have a good cry in a number of months. For me, when I honestly feel that need to have a deep cleansing cry that gets me in a good position to reboot and restart I will watch –Steel Magnolias– or –Terms of Endearment-. When I feel over anxious or over stressed or just so NOT me, I find a really good sob is an excellent way to regroup. There are a number of films that get me to that climactic sobbing state, but these two are for me a guaranteed good cry. To be clear, I sobbed with Marley & Me, The Notebook, Titanic, Hachi , My Girl…in fact I think my propensity to appreciate a good cry started at a very young age, at the drive-in theater in our town when I was a little girl, in the back of my parent’s Pinto, when I first saw Dumbo. Anyone who does not cry when Dumbo’s momma rocks him in her trunk is just cold as ice or secretly a robot and won’t GET the drift of today’s writing no matter what…
I enjoy happy tears too…the kind that come to me when I watch When Harry Met Sally, Ever After, The Princess Bride, Pretty Woman, Sense and Sensibility, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, Pride and Prejudice, Love Actually, Nine Months…the list is very long. I also enjoy the kind of tears that come to me from gut busting laughter, like from the movies Ted, The Big Lebowski, There’s Something about Mary, Best in Show, the blow job tutorial from Old School, the news segment in Bruce Almighty…you know, Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy sorts of really funny stuff that you can’t help but laugh out loud!!!
Now I have cried my eyes out and had actual LOL’s with books too…but I don’t dog ear my favorites, and books take much longer to get through than a dvd…so they are not my go to source when I need a good laugh or a good cry. I was thinking about the act of or art of crying yesterday when I was babysitting the wee-ones in my life who had a snow day off of school and how the older one, who is now eight, seldom cries, at least not in front of me, unless she is physically injured, or really upset about a situation, or has hurt feelings. The little one, who just turned six, still cries a lot with not a lot of prompting, she defaults to crying whenever things are not going precisely her way at that very moment, and it got me wondering when does it change? When do we evolve from the immediate cry for immediate information communication to the more logical and reasonable? It can’t just be once we speak, because in my world, babies talk and communicate effectively and clearly VERY early.
I’ve cried, but a different kind of cry, when I’ve been overwhelmed with beauty, nature, and love. I’ve cried, but a different kind of cry when I twisted out my knee in kickboxing, when I had vein surgery that went wrong, and when I fell off a ladder. I’ve cried, but a different kind of cry when I think about my parents dying, or my daughter, or her kids. I’ve cried, but a different kind of cry when I’ve been frustrated, irritated, and confused about life, my life, asking myself “how did I get here?” at various times. In a biology class many years ago I learned that there are different kinds of tears, they might feel the same on our cheeks, but that reflex tears, like from a thorn in your eye, are very different from emotional tears, like when your daughter drives off to start her married life, and the tears like when you blow your nose too hard are just the kind that keep your eyeballs from drying out like a scene from an apocalyptic science fiction movie.
But yesterday I got to thinking about all the things associated with crying, tears, and feelings, and I realized that it has been months since I was driven to tears…the sad, the worried, the frustrated, the anxious, the hurt, the injured… I have laughed very hard over the last month during several movies, I have laughed because the little kids in my life were clever, cute, and creative. I have laughed with both my Mom and my Aunt because they both tell a great story. I have laughed because my boyfriend and I seem to be on a sushi bender and can’t seem to stop. I haven’t had to filter myself, I haven’t had to mask my feelings, I haven’t had to pretend that everything is fine when it isn’t…it got me thinking that maybe things are just right, “sleeping baby right,” right now.