The One With the Good, Ugly Cry

Okay, so one of the things you have to know about me is that, growing up, I really wasn't much of a crier. That's not to say that I was, like, emotionally stunted, but I just didn't fall to pieces over sad things and I never really hurt myself badly enough to merit it. Oh, sure, I remember tearing up during those ten thousand horrible growing pain sessions that left me in so much pain I couldn't walk down the stairs (and you all say you wish you were taller--twelve-year-old Alex says, NO YOU DO NOT!) or when that kid pulled me into the corner of a metal table at the Rail Road Park when I was just a wee kiddo. Oh, I cried while reading a number of books. Bridge to Teribithia (OMG, WHYYYYYYYYY WHYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, for example. But from ages 10 to 21, I was much more predisposed to get angry than fall into a serious case of the sads. I pinpoint age 10, because that's when I first saw Titantic. People, I remember Young Alex sitting next to her Mom in the dark theater, watching this epic love story unfold, watching people make asses of themselves with the ironic "She'll never sink! ho ho ho" dialogue, watching #1 Crush O.M.G. Why Is He Not My Boyfriend Leo sketch the pretty lady with the enormous rock (which, natch, I wanted a replica of), waiting for the happy ending... waiting for them to get off the ship together... waiting for them to get to America together...

I remember Young Alex sitting in the theater, listening to the sounds of hundreds of young girls sobbing and sniffling, slowly growing angrier and angrier by the second. BECAUSE DAMMIT, THAT END WAS NOT FAIR! Young Alex had a lot of righteous indignation on her side, and may or may not have written James Cameron several dozen letters about how unfair it was that Jack had to die, and why couldn't he have found another piece of debris, and WHY OH WHY GOD DID SHE JUST LET HIM SINK TO THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN?!

I mean, fine. It's okay. I'm over it now. It's just that, for over a decade, I could only watch the first VHS tape of Titanic because that one ended right before they hit the iceberg, and it was long enough that I could pretend it was the entire movie. I may or may not still skip over the movie when it's on TV. But, it's fine. I swear I'm over it.

I said 10-21, right? So what happened at age 21 that caused the floodgates to open again? I'm so glad you asked.

It was May and--okay, wait, you need backstory. Some of you may remember that I was an RA my last three years at W&M. One of the sucky things about being an RA is having to stay and "close" the dorms at the beginning of each major break and at the end of the school year. This involves going around to all of the different rooms, checking for damage, trash, lights on, windows open, etc. Closing also involves trying to collect people's keys and having to fill out this forms that assess the quality of the room. It's really annoying. It's 10x as annoying AND stressful when you have a flight to catch back to Arizona and an hour ride to airport.

So, I finished closing the dorm, brought my suitcases and sorry self out into the freezing rain, and waited for the shuttle that was supposed to come and take me to the airport. And waited. And waited. And called the company only to be put on hold for a half hour, only to be told that I needed to call a taxi and have them take me, but that I was never going to make the flight anyway, so I might as well try to reschedule. Meanwhile, my taxi driver stopped not once, but TWICE for gas. So, yes, I missed my flight home. Which already had me fighting tears--but, the AirTran attendant assured me, I was #1 on the standby list. As long as I could get to Georgia in time for the last flight to Phoenix, I could get home!

Only, it was Mother's Day weekend. I did not get on a standby flight.

I don't know how to explain what happened next, other than to say I found a corner, sat on my carry-on bag, and wept. WEPT. Like the world was ending. Like I really had eleven years of tears saved up inside of me. An AirTran attendant brought me pretzels and a cup of water. A stranger offered to let me stay with him and his family if I really had no place to go that night. When I called them, my parents thought I had witnessed a murder or had lost an limb (both of them laughed, which only made me cry harder). I ended up at one of the airport hotels by Richmond Airport, eating Arby's in bed and watching Agent Booth get shot on the season finale of Bones. AWESOME.

Since then, I cry at just about everything. I cry when I'm happy, when I'm sad, when I'm laughing (which is REALLY annoying). Sometimes it's so bad that I actually lie down on the ground to avoid falling out of my chair (such as what happened at the end of the documentary The Cove, which was an understandable reaction on my part) or just to accurately convey my dismay.

I cried when I watched this:

And I definitely I cried in my cube when I finished this at lunch today:


And, well, you know how I reacted to the whole GoodReads thing.

Basically, I'm a late bloomer when it comes to good, ugly cries.

I'm not really sure what the point of this post was, other than to tell you embarrassing stories about myself. OH, right. Read the two above books. OF THEE I SING is just gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous regardless of what party you choose to align yourself with. (Sample text: Have I told you that you are brave? Sample Alex reaction: OMG I AM BRAVE! wuwuwuwuwuuuu [those being "ugly tears"]). VERA DIETZ is crazy and unflinchingly honest and funny and very, very touching. I want both of them to win awards--gazillions of them.

And you know I'll probably have to lie down on the floor for a good cry when they do.

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