Have I Become a Cry Baby in My Senior Years?
Today I cry at the drop off a hat. I never used to be a walking water works, but something has triggered this faucet and I cannot seem to control it.
I first noticed my unexpected tears at a performance of Ghost, the musical play, that I attended early this summer. There I sat in my audience cocoon watching a play I’d never seen. I had also never seen the Patrick Swayze movie. Crying so hard at times, I was certain the people around me were as embarrassed as I was. I was crying at a musical?
I NEVER cry. Honestly. I was one of those people who just did not shed tears. I felt sad many, many times over my 68 years. I might get a lump in my throat during a sad movie or stressful time but no eye leakage. Some tears dropped when I initially learned of the death of someone close but to actually sit and weep? No, it just did not happen.
Growing Up, Tears Were a Sign of Weakness
I grew up believing that tears were a sign of weakness. Men did not cry, and I was as strong as any man. Ergo, I did not cry. I was Kathryn Hepburn and John Wayne rolled into one dry-eyed lady.
I remember girls sobbing in the restrooms at high school because some boy did not ask them to the prom. I had friends who would cry from frustration when they did not do well on exams. And there were those who cried at every movie, song or book that evoked some emotion.
There were the manipulative criers who used tears to get what they wanted. I exclude little children; though my theory is that crying worked so well with some kids, they never outgrew the habit.
Some people cried at all sad triggers, others included tears of joy. Just swallowing the lump in my throat, I moved on. Feeling great empathy with others who cried for whatever reason, no tears came from me unless I was chopping an onion.
Emotional Tears Now Flow So Easily
So why am I suddenly the Niagara Falls of emotions? Weeping with songs and movies from my past is not unusual. I did not cry publicly at my daughter’s wedding last month but shed many tears in private. Tears of joy for her future. Tears of sadness for the times that slipped away.
This week, back at the theatre, my tears flowed through most of Mama Mia! When I saw the movie in 2009, I came out a Dancing Queen. This time, sobbing with Dancing Queen, I went home, watched the movie and blubbered again!
Strength Expresses Itself in Deep and Emotional Ways
This is a new phase of my life. Single for six years after a long marriage, I am creating a new life. Apparently that new life is much more emotional than my old life. Not only do I feel the sadness and happiness of the moment, I am expressing those feelings in surprising ways.
I am still as strong, emotionally, as any man or woman. But for some reason, not afraid to express deep emotions. There was no conscious decision to become a weeper; it just happened. I cry alone. I cry with my daughter. I cry with friends. Sometimes it’s cleansing. Sometimes it’s a shroud I carry. But the tears are real. It is me. And I’m ok with it.
When do you cry? How does it make you feel? Are you embarrassed by your tears? Do your tears sometimes catch you by surprise? Please join the conversation.