Historically, I have never been much of a crier. Since a young girl I have watched people around me cry when they were happy, or sad, or scared or even just when they didn’t know what else to do with themselves. I understood that this was their way of dealing with whatever the situation was, but I rarely felt moved to join in. I never cried at sad movies, or when listening to amazing life-changing stories, or while watching some of the horrors that unfolded on the nightly news, or even at funerals (Stan would at least have approved). These things usually left me more pensive than tearful.
It is not I never cried of course. I had the occasional emotional ‘woe-is-me, life-is-unfair, why-can’t-I-do-that, all-men-are-bastards . . .’ meltdowns over the years, and I cried for (literally) weeks after my lovely dog Frankie died unexpectedly during the night (well, who wouldn’t?) but crying was not something that seemed to come naturally to me. In fact, it happened so infrequently that I would sometimes stop and wonder (albeit briefly) if there was something wrong with me (‘Should I be crying here? Everyone else seems to be . . .’ ) but that feeling wore off again pretty quickly. I just didn’t seem to be built that way.
But lately something has changed. I have become aware that I am being moved to tears far more often now than I ever used to be—and often over things I would rarely have given much thought to before. I fear I am in danger of turning into a bit of a sooky-la-la. It’s kind of disturbing . . .
So, now, instead of wondering why I am not crying, I am wondering my I am. Why, all of a sudden, have I become so ’emotionally incontinent’? I’m not depressed. I don’t feel particularly isolated, or unhappy (and often the things I cry about are quite lovely and not sad at all). It doesn’t seem to be dementia-driven (at least according to Dr Google . . . ) So what gives?
I have been forced to conclude that it must be (gulp) one of those ‘age-related’ changes that tend to sneak up on you when you are not looking. (A couple of years ago I would have automatically blamed menopause because—why not? I blamed it for everything else. But (please God) I seem to be past most of that now.) Maybe I am just growing more sensitive as I get older (Ha—I can hear some of friends howling with laughter at that) but it’s possible . . . I guess. Maybe rather than hardening with age, I am actually softening . . . becoming porous . . . and leaky . . .
Well, that’s embarrassing.
Does that mean that from now on, when something strikes me as happy . . . or sad . . . or beautiful . . . or frustrating . . . I am going to be sobbing all the time?
I hope not, because that sounds utterly exhausting . . .