I didn't even realize that I was crying until I felt gravity pull the droplet from my cheek. Sure, there was an emotional tinge to the moment, but it was entirely impersonal. To be clear, I was only watching a movie. This is not to say that I don't cry at movies. I've done so for several dozen of them. To this day, I cry like a baby at the end of Milo and Otis, and I've seen it at least a hundred times. What made it different this time was that I simply had no clue it was happening. It was as if my body had betrayed me.
I have a strange relationship with my tears. There have been moments, heart-crushing, soul-rending moments in my life, moments where I knew I should let the floodgates open, and couldn't squeeze out a drop. It's not some macho manly never-cry-because-it-shows-weakness societal pressure, I couldn't give half of a shit about that idea. But movies, stories, or just thinking about something really touching, or sad, as long as it has nothing to do with me, and the waterworks will flow unhindered.
So why is it that I can't seem to express this when it comes to my own life? It seems the only time I can cry for myself is out of frustration, when I've run out of options completely.
I walked out of the theater in silence, got into my car, and began driving home. The night was unusually quiet for a Saturday, but not in a bad way. I contemplated doing the entire fifteen minute drive in silence, but finally caved and put on Pandora, which of course quickly filled itself with sappy-sad bitterly emotional songs that tend to be a majority of my favorite station. Even then, I can't help but think. This singular moment wherein I had no idea that I had tears running down my face had spooked me.
I began to over-analyze it, as per my usual habit. I wonder, for the first time, if I just don't know the language of my own emotions. There's another me inside, the one who feels things, and he just doesn't sprechen in a way that the me who is making decisions and having life happen to him can begreifen. Maybe that's the crux. Maybe the reason that it's so easy for external influences to bring me to tears, because they are able to just communicate to both individually, instead of trying to get a conversation started between the two of us.
I feel like some angst-ridden adolescent, trying to claim my discovery of what real sadness means. As if I'm the first person who can truly scream out “nobody understands me!” but instead of this being a fight with a friend or a parent, these two voices are in my head, casting aspersions at one another.
The timing of this whole debacle could be better. I recently have made the decision to get back on course with improving my life. Lose weight, drink less, try to actually and finally quit smoking. Maybe find a second job, something with decent insurance so I can get my eyes checked and start working on getting my teeth fixed. All of these sorts of self-bettering habits should generally inspire, or at least be inspired by, some semblance of a healthy relationship of and with the self. Now I'm beginning to see how terrible I've let that particular relationship backslide.
And I did it in the easiest way possible. I convinced myself I was just succumbing to an inherent introversion, or perhaps a self-righteous shyness brought on by hurt. I could sit next to a person, with a hundred feelings I needed to tell them about, but I couldn't, literally, could not put them into words. I don't know where or when I got so disconnected from this level of emotional communication.
It's not an excuse. I'm not saying it's a sickness. I'm not shifting the blame, because it's still my problem. The first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have one. Better yet, the first step to solving a problem is figuring out what the fuck exactly the problem is. I thought it was fear, that I was shy, or playing things close to the chest. Yes, that's a bit of it, but when I bring this up to people, people who really know me, bashful and diffident are usually the last words they would use to describe me. I do have a bit of anxiety when it comes to meeting new people, but it passes almost instantaneously. I'm not the most tactful in social situations with strangers, but I'm usually unscathed by being misunderstood.
I just don't know how to say what I feel, what I really mean. And that's it. I've become so disconnected from the part of me that feels that I just don't know what it's saying anymore. But now that the elephant has been introduced, the only thing I can do from here is find the peanut trail that will lead it out. Throw one more log on the pile of self-improvement, I guess.