Friday, 17 June 2011

Contentment or Apathy?

I caught the last half of Don't tell the Bride yesterday. My OH and I  rolled our eyes in unison when the tears started to fall. Mum HAS to cry when she sees her daughter emerge from the changing room in her dress, it's the law. Both bride and groom have to 'fill up' or blub when their eyes meet on the big day. Tears are a big part of the whole emotional roller coaster that is a union of two people in holy matrimony.
Birth of a child - tears please (everyone). Funeral - whatever noises made related to crying/sobbing no matter how disturbing are always acceptable. Who am I to argue, crying about such life-changing events is a natural way to release tension, adrenaline, excitement, grief and a whole host of extreme emotion.
Me? I hardly ever cry, and these days I don't even get a lump in my throat. I worry about where these pent-up emotions are storing themselves. Squealing; never done it no matter how excited I am (and you can guarantee unwrapping a pair of over-priced shoes would be more likely induce a groan). Cry about a soap storyline? Forget it.
The headteacher where I used to work was famed for making the female staff cry, I was warned about her powers from day one. For years, I managed to avoid all situations where she'd get an opportunity to give me a good 'dressing down'.   I saw countless staff emerge from the tear-jerker's office looking like they'd been told there's no such thing as Santa, your husband's having an affair, your son has been arrested and your new haircut makes you look old all in one sitting. I always knew my time would come, and I knew she'd do her best to get me to the point of waving the emotional white flag. Salty water dripping from my eyes in response to basically being told "I'm in charge, you're right but I don't give a shit, piss off".
My day came, and in all fairness, it was out of the blue. I had no time to prepare and she'd buttered me up the week before by making me feel she was on my side. Boy, that woman tried her best, it was an epic breakdown of my character, I was reduced to feeling 9 years old. Tears? They didn't come, but another emotion I rarely feel and it's even more rarely do I display it - fury, raw fury bubbled and
erupted. Ten minutes later, I calmed down and forgot about it, I was annoyed I'd let her lull me into a false sense of security and just took a valuable lesson from the whole pile of nonsense.
Some of the staff cried at the drop of a hat, every week there'd be a really minor incident blown all out of proportion. Joan's catologue bill, Zoe's cancelled date, Alison's 1lb gain at Weight Watcher's, Dawn's divorce 6 years on... tears, tears and more tears. I don't know how to handle a crying lady, so I would keep a wide berth. I was labelled 'hard' 'cold' 'cynical' and all sorts of things for not seeming to care. Give me a kid with a nosebleed, another two vomiting, another screaming because the Beauty and the Beast DVD isn't in the right case and 5 cups of tea to make - I'm there, sorting it all out. Tears over "she said to me, I said to her, she turned 'round and said this...." and I feel like saying "shut up, grow up and get on with your job".
There are things I'd love to cry about, to show I am a person with feeling. Happy occasions, they seem to be made all the more poignant with a few carefully lined up tears. "You've passed your driving test?!" Great time to 'fill up'. Best friend pregnant, been trying for ages, excellent 'Kleenex moment'. I can cry, and I have cried a lot in the past. So why don't I cry anymore?  Is it that I don't want the attention? Why not cry alone, then?  Am I apathetic, or just content? I reckon there is a chemical and scientific build up to crying which I have managed to control. As for the almost staged, attention seeking, ulterior-motive led, or crying so others feel sorry/guilty/stop what they were doing...not my style.
So, who is a real blubberer? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Anyone else like me, just pretty neutral most of the time and not prone to extremes of emotion. Anybody who just can't help themselves from crying, but wishes they could? Am I missing out on a bonding experience with other females, am I abnormal?
One of my favourite crying stories was when my mum's neighbour sat bawling his eyes out because he'd had an operation and couldn't clean the house, The house was immaculate and his wife was able to do it. I like that tale because I can't think of something I'd be less likely to cry about than not being able to scrub the floors.
I look forward to your 'sob stories'.


  1. Holy cow, I'd be in tears every day if it were over an unmopped floor! I used to cry when I got angry, less so now. Instead, some ridiculous response appears to have been triggered in me by the birth of my kids (where I don't think I cried, too exhausted), whereupon I'll well up at the most stupid things, like adverts. It irritates me immensely, but I can usually control it. Books are the worst though, and my husband's just as bad. I can wind him up, only have to start talking about Watership Down to get him going 'poor Hazel, he was such a good rabbit, now he's in the great warren in the sky' etc etc. But I'm evil ;-)

  2. oooh good topic! Like Lakota i used to cry when I got really angry, in my previous job I had the bitch of all managers, she was hateful. She used to make me so angry when she would call me into the office to discuss something I apparently hadnt done, i would argue back at her my case but as the rage boiled id then burst into tears - totally the wrong time to do it as my entire arguement was then a lost cause. After I left that job I did report her as the cause of my leaving to then find out that she had been reported by others too and she then got the sack! My god I would have loved to see her face!

    I also worked in a call centre and would see so many of my work mates take a shitty call and then end up crying. I actually quite enjoyed the challenge of someone swearing at me down the phone and getting irate! lol.

    So to be honest I havent had a good cry for a while! I think the amount I cried while being preggers has blocked my tear ducts (i would cry at everything and heaven help me if I saw a baby on an advert I was in floods!)

    Well this has turned into a mamouth comment! Sorry about that, please dont cry ;o) Mwah Scarlett x

  3. Great piece of writing, Lucy. Like you, I'm not a very emotional person. I rarely loose my temper and I'm not weepy either. In fact, trying to think back to the last time I cried was probably with laughter, I can't think of why but I know I ended up looking like a panda. xxx

  4. I can cry at the drop of a hat. Within the last couple of days I think I have cried about five times. Not big cries, not heaving, just little weeps, little leaks from the corner of my eyes. Saying that I am not depressed, or lonely, or unhappy, I think I just like a little pathetic cry. Yesterday morning, lying in bed, not want to get up, I was imagining if my husband died and the repurcussions. (Really, my imagination does run away with me, I shoud keep it in check). I don't want him dead and I don't dwell on these things, I kind of choose something to wallow in for a few minutes, experience it and then move on with my I preparing myself for the inevitable?
    I have also cried during the Richard Attenborough Polar Bear documentary. Sometimes that big mother bear will be so human to her baby and you can see such love in her face...well the tears are welling now.
    The list goes on, commercials, books, videos,I can not be described as stoic. I think I could have a career as a melodromatic actress!
    But saying that, I love to laugh, hearty guffaws. I love to get with my sister and share our ridiculous sense of humour and laugh so much the tears are running from our eyes and we have to cross our legs! Better stop now.

  5. Bloody hell, I cry all the time, but on the flip side I'm also quick to laugh or get angry as well, so maybe I wear my emotions on my sleeve.
    I used to think of crying as a sign of weakness, but I've come to accept that sometimes sad or touching stuff just affects me. Not two hours ago I was sitting in the car waiting for my youngest to come out of a birthday party listening to a sublime piece of music that almost had me blubbing like a baby. If there's a hot wire to my emotions, then it's through the wonders of music.
    As I get older, it seems I'm getting more emotional too, it's getting out of control. I've always felt empathy towards people who appear to be suffering or in distress, my wife says it's cos' I'm an understanding soul, but it can get on my bloody nerves sometimes. It's got worse since I was in a nasty car crash a few years back too. It made me realise how fragile we all are. Do you remember all those 'suffering animals' kinda programmes Rolf Harris used to front a few years ago? Not so many on the tele now than goodness, but if one of those is on TV when I walk in the room I have to do a U-turn straight out of it else, literally in seconds I'm welling up.
    Mind you, Can't understand all that crying cos' your happy nonsense though, tears of laughter yes, but blubbing cos' you won something, nah.

  6. I am a sooky la la too and cry at lots of things and hate it one daughter is like me (but we have had a lot of thing shappen in the last few years so our emotions are pretty raw) next daughter iks like her dad and I have verey rarely seen her cry but she has a good temper on her tho(in a good way) not like me the pacifist

  7. I certainly don't think you're missing out on a bonding experience; I have found that a glance from a friend who understands from across a room can be as comforting as a physical hug. The people you are close to will always know that you care.

    I certainly am a crier, and not in the joyous town crier way. I used to bury my feelings very deeply and refuse to reveal them to those around me. In the last few years I seem to have done a complete about turn, for the novelty of being able to express myself.

    That said, the years of training myself not to betray my feelings have left their mark and thank god for that. I often find myself trapped at parties with overemotional drunk girls sobbing out their feelings, and can barely restrain myself from telling them to 'man up'. (Although from personal experience I don't feel that stoicism is necessarily a male trait.) I weary of girls weeping because too many people fall in love with them. (I wish that were an exaggeration, it is not.) Time and place,girls, time and place.

  8. Interesting topic. Earlier in my life I didn't cry very much and I certainly wasn't emotional about things like weddings. Saying that though I used to laugh in stressful or emotional circumstances rather than cry. I don't this went down very well with other people. Now I'm older, I have become more weepy emotional but I tend to be private about this.

  9. Thanks a lot for your comments.
    Interesting that some of you cried before but not now and vice versa.
    I distinctly remember feeling quite disturbed about something driving me to tears a couple of years ago. I was really bored and uncomfortable watching a production of 'Sleeping Beauty On Ice' (more like 'on acid'). The mixture of feeling trapped, helpless and proud of the Autistic pupils who sat beautifully (putting the rest of the school to shame for once) moved me to tears, for around 10 seconds. I would have been mortified if I'd been caught and they assumed the production had moved me.

  10. I don't cry much even though I think I 'feel' loads of things, it's just that tears don't seem like the logical or only conclusion to 'feelings' for me if you know what I mean?! Having said that, since having my babe anything to do with child abuse gets to me, but that's about it.

  11. Good post Luce, and all I can say I am so sorry you were unlucky enough to work for a nasty bullying headtecher; I was not one of those, though I knew some who were. It still amazes me that they got away with it. I always wanted a happy staff - this meant happy children and a happy school (ergo a happy headteacher, so not entirely altruistic).

    With hindsight I’d say hormones have alot to do with the female propensity for tears. This may explain why we cry more easily at some stages of our lives than others. I roll my eyes along with you and your OH at the crocodile tears shed at the drop of a hat on TV reality shoes etc. Have you seen that viral video of the girl who is posting on a dating site and cried all the way through every time she thinks of cats? She has a serious problem of course :)


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