Crying All The Time

I cry quite often. For a period in my life, for a few years around my early teens it was nearly impossible for me to shed tears, no matter what the situation was. Often I felt like I wanted to cry, that it was all there bubbled up but some kind of filter within me held it back. I have never been emotionally repressed in any way – in fact, quite the opposite – and as with most people in that disastrous period my hormones and emotions were tearing at me in every direction. Love was becoming a very real part of my life, as was unrequited love. I lost some friends while my other friends nearly lost themselves. There were reasons for crying, alright, but the tears never came. It wasn’t until I turned 17 that I can remember really losing myself and since I can’t remember what brought it on I am forced to assume that it was relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. Point is; it finally happened.

There’s an episode of Friends where the gang finds out that Chandler can’t cry and they spend most of the episode forcing it out of him. At the end they are successful and at that point he is unable to stop, to the point where the slightest thing makes him well up completely. They did the same thing in that episode with Bruce Willis. Where they the same episode, actually? Whatever, what I’m saying is that the same thing basically happened to me. Today I cry a lot. Sometimes it’s about a sad story I read online or a heartwarming Youtube video or an old music video or the last episode of Sherlock or – as is always always always the case – the ending to 25th Hour.

Last night I cried again because I watched Sea Wall, a short film monologue written by Simon Stephens and starring Andrew Scott. It’s a shaking, deeply saddening and horrifically realistic story. Describing it is entirely pointless and detrimental, but it made me cry. It made me cry not just because of the stories that the character Alex tells or Scott’s perfect performance but from the wounds it forces me to scratch at. Every human being learns the pain of loss at some point and maybe we’re not completely developed, or entirely born, until we lose something that made us whole. We are blessed and cursed by the knowledge of our own mortality but much more so by the knowledge of the mortality of the people we love and need.

I stopped crying after my grandfather died. I was 14 years old and I don’t remember more than a few brief blinks from his funeral. I remember others were crying as well. My dad didn’t cry then but I heard him cry in his bedroom a few days later. I remember sitting next to my dad in front of the coffin after everybody else had left. After that I didn’t cry for years and a friend of mine theorised that after I lost my grandfather there was no reason to cry for anything lesser. I never went to daycare when I was little and I was largely raised by my granddad since both my parents worked and if losing him in such a slow and painful way was worth crying about then surely there was no point wasting tears on something minor.

I feel the itch on that scar a lot, though. The emptiness I felt when he finally died and knowing that I will have to face it again someday both terrifies me but also pushes me. Maybe I become a bit overprotective sometimes, maybe I fear the worst way too often, but I can’t stand the thought of having to watch another person that I need disappear from me. Sea Wall moved me for this reason, the fear that it only takes a second and then it’s all gone. It made me cry but I didn’t cry very much, because unlike a sad news story or a film ending, it hit so close to home in how stark and detached it was. Maybe it’s the evil eye syndrome playing tricks with me subconsciously; if I allow myself to bawl about the genuine fear of losing somebody I love it might cause it to happen for real. And I am normally such a reasonable man.

My grandfather told my dad that men shouldn’t cry because it was a sign of weakness. My dad didn’t pass this on to me; he always told me that it’s okay to cry if I was sad and I am very grateful that he did. As a result, I cry quite often. I cry at fake things, at stupid things and then I feel a bit stupid. Thankfully I rarely have to cry at real things, about real loss and real agony. I know some people that are right now facing a reality which somebody they loved is not going to be part of anymore and I wish they didn’t have to and I wish nobody ever had to. I begin picking at my itching wound.

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