Tuesday, December 17, 2013


There's a thread on Reddit right now: "Men, what have you cried about?"

I can't read that question without reading a subtext into it: and why did you cry about that, you pussy?

That probably comes from my childhood. Did anyone else ever get 'quit crying or I'll give you something to cry about'?  Yeah. I'm what you'd call a sensitive soul. Can't watch people being hurt without feeling hurt myself, to say nothing of animals. Friends of mine insist on posting horrific stories of animal abuse where I can see them, "to raise awareness". I applaud the sentiment, but I don't need my awareness raised any further, thank you.

I've cried over movies (this one reduced me to a blubbering blob for over an hour), more books than I can count (most recently at the end of The Lions of al-Rassan, which bothered me a little since it's probably my fourth or fifth time through the damn book and it gets me every time; life situations, either mine or those of friends and family...I cry fairly often, and I'm not ashamed of it.

I bawled at the end of Les Misérables, play and movie both, and I defy anyone to watch that and remain dry-eyed. The woman I saw the play with somehow did--I think hers were the only dry eyes in the Pantages Theatre that afternoon--that alone should have convinced me we weren't right for each other.
But you know, some people seem completely unaffected by fiction no matter how intense it is. If something isn't "real", they're completely isolated from its emotions.  Even hypothetical 'real' situations don't seem to do it. I'm not like that. Call it a vivid imagination, call it an overdeveloped empathy gland, hell, call it insanity if you must...but my emotions are easily manipulated and easily expressed. My heart is on my sleeve. Occasionally it flutters away like a butterfly, only to return when I don't expect it.

The gender stereotype that tears are somehow unmanly is pure bullshit. There are two unmanly emotions--jealousy and schadenfreude--and both of them are also unwomanly, which is to say they are inhuman. I will stand by that characterization of happiness at another's pain (monstrous!) and pain at another's happiness (also monstrous!) no matter how much society tries to tell me both emotions are part and parcel of being a healthy human. But sadness? It's universal, it's necessary if you ever want to experience its opposite, and expressing it is absolutely essential. Have you ever cried hot tears, the kind that burn lava tracks down your cheeks? Imagine what those do, suppressed.

Sometimes I'll even cry for no reason I can readily discern. I woke up one morning recently in tears. If a dream prompted them, I couldn't recall it at all.

Sensitive. That's me. There is, of course, such a thing as taking sensitive too far. See if you can watch this without cringing.

Amusing movie, incidentally.

Funerals. There's another instance where I don't know how people *don't* cry. It's not so much the death, at least for me...I consider death to be part of life and I also believe in something beyond this life (paraphrasing Jodie Foster in Contact, if this is all there is, it's an awful waste of time). But the grief of others is overwhelming. Free floating pain is very hard for me to process, even when it's not the pain of someone I care about...add in emotional closeness, and I'm a basket case in short order.

I cry internally sometimes, Yeah, I'll admit it, even though it gives you mean people power over me. There's a part of me, buried very deep, that assumes anything ambiguous you say about me was intended to wound me..and it does. You'll never know that from my reaction, of course. It took a long time for me to learn that some tears are better not shed where people can see them, else they breed more tears...but I've learned that lesson well...

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