The Crying Game.

Posted: August 12, 2012 in About Me, life
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have been crying for almost two weeks. Not constantly. Not a continuous heavy flow, instead a vague hayfever-y feeling on my lower lids, and a mythical peach in my throat.

It started with that bloody opening ceremony – the bit with the deaf and hearing children’s choir in pyjamas, then those NHS lights. Apologies for getting technical, but I think they snapped my tear thread.

Since then I’ve cried at competitive sport twice. I cried at that swimmer’s dad calling him his “beautiful boy”. I cried at the doctors in 24 Hours in A&E talking softly to a scared young mum. I cried at a piece about retirement homes in a free magazine and, on my way to work, at a podcast about love. I cried at a YouTube video of a bat learning to fly then, when I rewatched it, I cried again.

I’ve become likethat woman you see fixing her mascara in the dark reflection of a Zara winter window, overcome by the sight of a rainbow. “How can science be so… beautiful?” she sobs, that woman, and as you squeeze by awkwardly you smell a distinctive mix of tears and Tia Maria, and when you look back from the bus you see her staring again at the sky, shaking her head, cleavage winking like fairy lights. That guy who runs out into the rain in just a T-shirt, or Instagrams puddles, or presses a copy of The Happy Prince into your stiff cold hand. I’ve become that stranger you see in town who, standing in the glare of a 24-hour Tesco, appears to have just realised he’s alive.

My cheeks may be wet, but my heart is full. There is something wonderful about weeping at nothing. Nothing to do with your day-to-day difficulties, or memories, or anxiety – a simple empathetic sob at a sight that moves you feels cleansing. Like exfoliating the legs of our emotion with a heavy salt scrub.

Crying, even a tiny bit, even at YouTube or something pretend, is good for us because (researchers claim) it helps flush out excess stress hormones – picture them as the protein in our tears. The heat that burns our throat. It’s good for us even when we cry at bat videos. Even at podcasts. Even at a Rihanna song played from an iPhone at 3am in a taxi headed north. All tears are good tears. Even ones manufactured by Hollywood directors with string overtures and a close-up on a child actor’s smile, or ones that are eked out of your eyes by a balladeer at Christmas. Emotionally it’s ablutionary, and physically, too – crying feels gym-like at times. It uses muscles often missed.

Crying at culture is particularly thrilling because you get to dump all that pent up emotion, the stuff you didn’t really know what to do with – the week of shame when your fringe was growing in, your mounting frustration with the work of Aaron Sorkin, a pass-agg stand-off with your neighbour – in a single load. And with no repercussions. Try it.

Just a little eye sweat. Look at something wonderful and let yourself go. I long for a day when (and I feel this is close) Britain unites in a nice cathartic cry. When a clip of “someone not dying” is projected on to the sky during a mutually agreed tea break. When “Bright Eyes” is piped through the air con, or the BBC finally goes for my “Emma Thompson‘s bit in Love Actually Week” pitch.

Tears at the telly aren’t  tears you have to analyse,  or talk over with your partner late into the night. They’re a way of proving you’re alive, rather than things that remind you of death. They are heart excretions. Emotion water. Sentiment juice. It tastes the same as grief, but feels so much better.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s