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?