Tuesday, 15 January 2013

96 tears?

Well I don't know about ninety-six tears, but I read somewhere that the average amount of tears a person cries in a lifetime adds up to around 120 litres. That seems an awful lot to me – equivalent to filling up six kitchen sinks! – but given my own propensity to cry at the drop of a titfer these days, maybe I can believe it. 

I’ve never been a cry-baby - never the girl sobbing in the corner at a party, or blubbing in the loos at work, unlike several women with far tougher exteriors whom I've witnessed in my previous life of office jobs and Christmas piss-ups.  I’ve never cried at leaving do's and I’ve never cried at weddings.  I’ve been thinking about the subject today though because I know I’ll have to deal with my runny eyes (and even more embarrassing runny nose) at the funeral on Thursday and I know I’ll be trying hard to hold it all back - I also know that I won’t succeed.

Well that’s fair enough, it's a sad occasion - but I do get that throbbing behind my eyes as those hot tears try to make their escape at the silliest things too sometimes, like simply seeing footage of, say, a beautiful bird in flight (especially if there's some emotive music in the background).  It's a strange response to something wondrous and happy and I don't really understand it.  I try to repress that prickling sensation from beneath my eyelids as if it's something shameful, but usually fail and then end up laughing at my own ridiculous-fucking-patheticness.

Still, I’m so glad I’m female and that I am at least “allowed” to cry.  It must be harder if you’re born with the Y chromosome, where there still seems to be that unspoken expectation to keep tears at bay at all costs (as well as to have emerged from the womb with an innate knowledge of how to put up a shelf / unblock a drain / maintain a car, etc...) purely because of your gender.   We all know what it’s like to fight those ‘stupid’ emotions, to try and swallow them away, and pretend that your eyes are a little glassy because you just sneezed, or your nose a little red because you just rubbed it….  But really, when you think about it: why? Why do we try so hard not to show how we feel when it’s as real, as universal and as valid, as any other emotional expression – like laughing, or smiling, or frowning?  

I’ve known more than a couple of men to get tearful at times (by which I hope you won’t get the wrong impression!) and I’ve found it both moving and endearing - a revelation of compassion and depth.  John Peel (bless 'im) openly admitted that as he got older he found himself crying more frequently and more easily than ever before, so it's not such a bad thing for a man to do, is it?!  Or maybe it's an age thing?  Whatever - each time I worry about that emotion creeping up on me and feel silly and embarrassed, I just remind myself of him and I don't feel quite so soppy.  I'm sure I still have a few more kitchen sinks to fill, and it'll probably be triggered by something relatively innocuous a lot of the time.  You still won't fnd me weeping at a wedding or puffy-eyed at a party, though....  now that's just far too girly!

I couldn't resist the tenuous link, seeing as I'm still musically on a Suede trip!
The Tears...

27 comments:

  1. Think I am in agreement with Peely on that one. I was impressed I didn't cry as son left for the arctic actually as I thought I might.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maybe things just seem more significant as we get older? It's very touching.

      Delete
  2. Crying is supposed to be good for you. Someone analysed the content of tears as opposed to sweat etc and found they contain all sorts of stress-relieving proteins etc.

    I think it's okay for men to cry nowadays. My eyes well up at the most unlikely things nowadays. D'you know the Kevin Coyne song 'Cry' on Dynamite Daze? "Let your hair down, go on go on ... cry"...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Or try the Johnny Ray version:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iob-_shdLQ0

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lovely to see you here again... Thanks, I shall give those two a listen as I don't know them. Interesting about the tear analysis. I hate the feeling of the crying itself, but don't you always feel so much better afterwards? Which is why it seems odd that we spend so much time and effort repressing it sometimes (at least here in the Western world - it seems more acceptable perhaps in other countries?!)

      Delete
  4. I think part of the purpose of a funeral is to make you cry, to face emotions and stop people feeling numb and confused, even if it is just for the duration of the service. I think men cry much more freely for our generation and younger, they show their emotions more, which is healthier, than previous generations who were expected to take everything squarely on the chin.

    I'm a sucker for sunsets, crying at a beautiful sunset is almost a pavlovian response for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hopefully it's changing for the better as you say - mind you, there's the other extreme now where you get participants on 'Deal Or No Deal' shedding tears when they open the box to find £1...! I could do without that kind of sentimentality!
      Crying at a beautiful sunset is fine! I hope I never lose that sense of pure awe at nature's offerings.

      Delete
  5. Growing up when I did, at around the same time you did, I was taught that boys don't cry no matter what. And that we don't show or talk about our feelings. At the age of 8, I found it hard to cry even after seeing my beloved sister Linda get hit and killed by a car. Relatives told me that I shouldn't let people see my cry when my mother died when I was 10, they said if people saw me cry they'd think I was a little queer. So, not only was I forbidden to cry, I was also forbidden to talk to anyone close to me about those two huge losses in my young life. It was, and still is, hard to process what happened.

    So, yeah, that's pretty effed up, and I had those memories rush back to me when I saw my brother, who had HIV/AIDS on his death bed. I tried to hide my tears from him because he was one of those people who told me not to cry over my sister or mom. I'm getting better now though, I get misty when Hugh Grant comes out and plays guitar with that kid during the talent show in 'About a Boy.'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dr MVM - this is so sad, as is some of the other stuff you've told us about over on Monkey Muck - it makes me misty too. I'm so glad you say you're getting better now. And 'About A Boy'? - who'd have thought it?!

      Delete
  6. Tears. Women who cry. Men who cry. It's a funny one. Some people cry about the oddest things but who am I to criticise? The 'shame' of men and tears is so sad and not a healthy thing for this pseudo-macho society we live (I say 'pseudo' because we seem to have loads of 'tough guys' who like to shoot people in video games, hit others when they are drunk and beat women in general but I wonder how quick they would be to the front of the queue is we had a war on our doorstep?). I've been known to tear-up myself not so readily as I get older, actually. Am I developing a heart of stone? I bloody hope not. Anything to do with animals suffering is still likely to get me going or something surprising in a beautiful way. One strange thing that will bring a lump to my throat is the sight of communal dancing, which is odd because dance and generally have little interest in it but if I see a whole village somewhere, for example, doing a local boogaloo in unison, it gets to me. Weird.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sorry about the typos - it's quite early - but expect you get the gist of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can understand that, SB - those unexpected responses. I get choked when I witness real talent (I don't mean like those X Factor, Britain's Got Talent audiences wiping their eyes though!) Maybe that communal dancing thing is just because it taps into something really quite primal. I must try and persuade the rest of the folks in my village to join me for a unison boogaloo some time...

      Delete
  8. There was a fair bit of teasing in my family, and I remember one key episode when, aged about twelve, I got mercilessly ribbed for my wobby chin while watching the final scenes of 'Going My Way' (ruthlessly sentimental 1940s film featuring Bing Crosby as benevolent priest.). After that I made huge, cheek-chewing efforts to restrain any tears that might be creeping up on me (funerals excepted. I allowed myself to cry at those. Well done little me.).

    But in the last five or so years, my iron resolve against lachrymation has broken down somewhat, and I'm far more likely to leak a tear or two. Only last night my squeeze and I were both to be found sniffing over the last episodes of 'In Treatment' (I plead overidentification!). And when I attended a hippy funeral in August, I was inconsolable despite only having met the deceased a handful of times. I'm not fighting it though. Well, only when I'm working. A weeping therapist? That would never do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Films... oh dear... I know, "they're only acting" and all that, but the strangest things can get in there. Interesting that you feel the same about the last five years or so, I think that's what it is with me too.
      Very glad to know you don't weep in your work...! Although I imagine there must be times when you feel you could.

      Delete
    2. Oh yes (there's only been one occasion when I wasn't able to hold it back, but you'd have to be made of stone not to have wept at that story, and the person telling it was actually appreciative of my own teary display.).

      Hope today went 'OK', if that's not a uselessly crass thing to say. Hope you know what I mean.

      Delete
    3. Thank you! - back home now and yes I do absolutely know what you mean and yes it went fine. I did cry - of course! - but lots of smiles too.

      Delete
    4. Ah. Best possible outcome, really. Sounds like you all did him proud.

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. I hope you sing in it too sometimes...?

      Delete
  10. Putting up a shelf / unblock a drain / maintain a car, etc..., I often cry as a result of being unable to perform any of those man task coherently. As for films I try, as most men, to hold back from crying, weird isn't it but also I hate the fact that films push you to it. However two films had me blubbing uncontrollably, Up and Saving Private Ryan. Two wholly different films but two films with such a brutal opening 20 minutes that made me a quivering wreck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean about hating the fact that films can push you to it! Just don't go watching any about failure to unblock drains, maintain cars and put up shelves, eh...

      Delete
  11. I've lost count of the times I've welled up listening to music, specially in a live environment. Recorded music can be magical, but you can't beat an unexpectedly transcendent live moment.

    Also, any writing that successfully juxtaposes the humourous and the moving to great effect can get me going, be it book, film, lyric.....or blogpost. It's a tough thing to pull off without sounding either mawkishly sentimental or appearing to play for cheap laughs and it's an enviable skill that both you and Kolley Kibber share.

    Oh, and The Tears - what a great album that was, I can't believe how poorly it was received at the time. Did you get 'Black Rainbows', Brett's last solo album? Well worth checking out if you haven't already.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes live music and that whole talent thing get me too... Thanks so much for the compliment on the writing too - very much appreciated!
      I don't know Black Rainbows - thanks - must check out.

      Delete
  12. I was going to add that films never ever effect me and then I remembered one moment that always raises a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes ... ulp... the end of 'The Railway Children' when Jenny Agutter runs to her father ... Don't know why but it always effects me.

    Other than that it's curious things that catch you offguard - a couple of years ago seeing a week-old baby elephant at Colchester Zoo being gently guided around the paddock by mum. Just felt so emotional about it - had to surreptitiously wipe my cheeks and hurry away - just too beautiful I think...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would have felt the same about the baby elephant! These things can just get you... Bless!

      Delete
  13. Good luck today. Courage in the face of scary stuff is one of those good things that will always 'have been', just like your friend, and the enjoyment Gerry Anderson brought people (Fanderson member here). Everything good will always 'have been'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's kind and true, Rebecca, thanks. As I'm a good few hours ahead of you here, I can now tell you that it's now a 'have been' too! and fine - obviously sad but with many happy thoughts to lift it. Am now in rather reflective mood...

      Delete

Please come in, the door is open

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...