Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Crying Game

by Gina Ardito
I'm a big crybaby. For decades, I've been told I'm too sensitive, I take things personally, I like drama, and a dozen other accusations to explain my habit of bursting into tears at the drop of a hat. I make no excuses for my floodgates. In fact, I admit, I love a good cry. It relaxes me, re-balances my tumbled emotions, and often allows me to look at problems in a new way.

I cried the night before my wedding. Not due to jitters, but out of sheer excitement and an overabundance of love. When my daughter was born, I spent half the night crying. Ditto six years later when my son was born. Both times, for the same reason as my pre-wedding crying jag. When I had  to drop my daughter off at college for the first time, I managed to keep the tears in check until the drive home--when I blasted Bette Midler singing "Baby Mine" (a favorite song to cry to, originally in Walt Disney's Dumbo and always guaranteed to break me down when Mama Jumbo rocks Dumbo in her trunk). Songs have a huge impact on my tear ducts. Broadway show soundtracks get me every time.

And when it comes to movies, Dumbo's not my only source for waterworks. I cry at the same scenes in movies every time I watch them. I cry when E.T. dies, at Andy's funeral in Philadelphia, when Aurora pleads with the nursing staff to give her daughter "the shot" in Terms of Endearment, when the high school band plays Mr. Holland's Opus, and when Sarah begs her father to remember her in A Little Princess. I'm a glutton for punishment, and I'll watch these movies over and over, knowing I'll weep, and looking forward to it.

I cry when writing sad scenes in my books. I once killed off a character, then walked around the house in mourning tears for days. Forget those abused animal commercials. I can't look.

Scientists say that when we're stressed or upset, our bodies fill up with toxins, and crying is one of the ways we rid ourselves of those toxins. Tears heal our emotional wounds. Another reason we cry is in awe of something beautiful. Those who suppress the urge to cry tend to deaden their emotions, which isn't at all healthy. In fact, in Japan, "crying clubs" provide attendees with sad books, television shows, and movies to engender group cry-fests. Crying, like laughter, is a big part of what makes us human. 

In the words of coach Jim Valvano, "If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you're going to have something special."

I think I'm well on my way. Are you?


  1. I'm right there with you, Gina! Call me a sympathetic crier, whatever, but I'm a big ol' blubber baby. :) Here are the things that open the flood gates for me:
    Song - "Where Have You Been?" by Kathy Mattea (get out your tissues)
    Book - THE NOTEBOOK, by Nicholas Sparks, (sadistic genius)
    Movie - KINAMAND, a Dutch/Chinese film - I've had to change the ending for my own emotional sanity. I watch it repeatedly, but switch it off just before the end, then replay my own ending in my head. :)
    Yep, there's a special kinda crazy in being a writer.

  2. I tend to cry for patriotic songs - Forget God Bless America. The tears begin when I hear the music.

    Certain commercials make me cry - Kodak's old True Colors commercials for example.

    Certain songs that I have associated with family like Eric Clapton's ,MY FATHER'S EYES and TEARS IN HEAVEN

    I rarely cry at movies but the Newsboys' GOD'S NOT DEAD got me when the Athiest professor gets hit by a car and tunrs back to God - a very emotional moment.

    And sometimes I just cry - who knows why!

  3. Hi Gina--
    Great post! I'm a crybaby, too. It doesn't take much to have me sobbing away--Hallmark commercials (and movies), Little League games, and like Kathye, patriotic songs, especially the National Anthem--which is played at Little League games and get this, I was in the Air Force where the anthem is often played and I had to try hard to keep myself together.

  4. That's what I need - a good cry! I think that would take a lot of this tension out of my back. Enjoyed the post, Gina.