Wednesday, April 18, 2012

On Crying/Turning Into My Mother

When I was maybe 10, I read Where the Red Fern Grows. This is back when reading was still a little magical, like completely-immerse-myself-in-the-worlds-of-books-can't-stop-reading kind of magical. I still love YA lit like From the Mixed Up Files and Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler, The View From Saturday, and Great Brain books because it reminds me of when I used to love to read. One night when I was about fifty pages from the end of Where the Red Fern Grows, I couldn't put it down. I sat in the doorway of my room with the hall light on so I wouldn't wake my little sisters who I shared a room with, and I stayed up until two am to finish the book. I remember sitting with my back against the wall and my knees bent, book resting on my thighs. And as I read about the dogs dying (or is it the kid that dies? Nope, I just wikied it--it's the dogs. How sad.), I started crying really hard. It was the middle of the night, and as I rushed through the final pages and closed the book, I had this odd, overwhelming feeling of loneliness because I had just felt all of this emotion while my mind was engaged in this dynamic world and then I looked up from the book and it was over, and I became immediately aware that I was completely alone, sitting on the floor in an incredibly still and eerie house.

But somewhere between my Where the Red Fern Grows weep fest and college, I stopped crying while reading books or watching movies. I don't know if it's my heart of stone, or if I just didn't encounter anything cry-worthy for years and years. But I don't remember anything but intense teenage angst bringing me to tears in high school. Not even heart-wrenching stuff like Dead Poet's Society, or The Perks of Being a Wallflower. 

However, in the past two or three years, I've made a complete one eighty. Now, just about anything can get me weeping. And I mean anything. The Vow, The Help (book and movie), the final scenes of Lord of the Rings Return of the King, The Muppets, We Bought a Zoo, the new Anne Frank movie, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Harry Potter 7.2. I can think of at least a dozen movies in the past two months that have gotten my tear ducts working. And even crazy cheesy things get me now. There is this silly Christmas movie called The Christmas Shoes that my mom loves. We always mock her for crying every time we watch it. But this year I cried too. I knew exactly how it was going to end. And I knew that they were shamelessly manipulating my emotions when they played the Christmas Shoes song while the little boy is trying to buy a pair of beautiful shoes for his dying mom. But nothing within me could stop the tears from coming. 

I think it all started a couple years ago when I saw Bridge to Terabithia for the first time. The convergence of nostalgic YA lit and a best-friend-dies storyline had me weeping uncontrollably. And I haven't been the same since.  


Lindsey Reynolds said...

This reminded me of Sleepless in Seattle. I couldn't find the scene on youtube where Meg Ryan and Rosie O'Donnell's characters are talking about the commercial with the big red bow, but this made me think of that.

Josephine said...

Confession: sometimes even movie trailers make me cry.