I am a pretty chill person. At the same time, my emotions are intense and pace restlessly just a scratch under the surface. I’ve been this dichotomous since birth. There’s a not-at-all-embarrassing family legend about me going to see a long-anticipated show with my folks at a wee age and my dad looking over at me and seeing me in tears. When asked what was wrong, I reportedly said: “I’m just… so excited.”
I still cry at the beginnings of things. I cry at the end and in the middle, too.
You’d think that age and experience and whatnot would teach me to either A) become more hardened and cynical or B) how to control myself.
I have tried A) and can assure you that being hardened and cynical does not make me less of a hair-trigger crier. Eventually I gave it up. And B) has met with only mild success in the last 36 years.
Which brings me to the holidays.
Christmas is a time of heightened sentimentality, so those of us who cry at absolutely everything already may find ourselves in tears more often than not from Thanksgiving straight through New Year’s.
Christmas is also a super happy time of year, which is another crying trigger for me. All the family gathered together for the first time in 12 months? Cry. Hear my sister is pregnant? Cry. My dad loves the slippers I got him? Cry.
Crying at nothing and everything makes me feel like some kind of emotional loose cannon. I also fear that I might be slightly crazy.
At least, I did. Before I found Option C: Accept this is how I am and stop berating myself for it.
If I just shrug and say, “Yep, I’m a crier” and let fly, then there’s a lot less internal conflict when I burst into tears at Target the second “O Holy Night” starts playing. In an awesomely circular way, I’m now actually less emotional overall, because all my energies aren’t consumed in pretending that I’m not emotional, and my already-heightened emotions are no longer fueled by the frustration of feeling things so damn intensely all the time.
So, fellow criers of the world, embrace your inner tearyness. If crying is just below the surface, your other emotions probably are too. That means laughter is on deck. And love, and forgiveness. And your anger probably passes almost as quickly as it flares up, which is a good thing.
There are worse things in the world than being a crier.
PS, Here’s an easy test to see if you’re a crier or not:
Oh man. That one gets me every freakin’ time.