I checked my email this morning to find the bi-weekly “Note from the Universe” (because I’m from Portland, Oregon and surface attempts at self-actualization are required for maintained citizenship) and read this:

An old soul is not an old soul by virtue of age, Stacy, but for their patience, self-measure, and happy tears for no apparent reason.

The Universe

I started reading the email with my usual mix of sarcasm, cynicism, yet just enough doe-eyed belief in an anthropomorphized Universe to keep me reading anyway. Generally my reaction at reading these goes something like this:

‘Huh. I wonder if this guy actually makes money doing this? Maybe I should start an email list like ‘Things your nose is thinking.’ – but hey, that’s a good point about <insert broadly applicable feel-good-but-just-challenging-enough-to-seem-wise-topic-here>’ at which point I shrug and hit the delete key.

This time, however, was different. By the time I hit the “Hmmmm”, I was sold – hook, Line and Spiritual-Sinker. Let me explain.

My mother and I share a much-maligned tendency towards the random and spontaneous ugly-cry. Mom’s partner, after more than a decade together, finds it simultaneously hilarious and infuriating. And in my relationship, it’s still early enough to be considered adorable. (I’m expecting an exasperated sigh any day now, marking the exact moment that romance died.) Also, according to my Mom, it just gets worse with age. Looking forward to that.

SO, clearly this guy’s a genius. Forget everything I said about being a cynic. It makes perfect sense that our perpetual waterworks are not, in fact, a gross and comedic genetic flaw nor are they indicative of some deep-seated emotional trauma which there isn’t enough therapy on earth to unravel. OBVIOUSLY they’re an indication of our vast spiritual superiority over our more stoic contemporaries. To this end, I offer up evidence supporting my claims of being better than anyone who doesn’t cry at that video where the huge lion hugs that one dude.

Big Fish

Sea World. San Diego. As I sat on the cold, steel bleachers and stared at a rippling surface of the water, I began to feel the familiar stirrings. Then out came Shamu. There was nothing to be done at that point. It was all over. I pulled my shirt sleeve down and set to work slyly mopping up the evidence, face turned to the side, shoulders shaking in quiet heartbreak. My long-term girlfriend at the time turned to look at me with a mix of concern and suspicion. “You’re crying because he’s a big fish, aren’t you?” I shook my head in the affirmative, mostly ‘cuz I was too overcome to speak any actual words. She sighed, pet me on the knee and went back to watching the show. Like usual.

Are you trying to kill me?!”

Pretty much the best way to incapacitate me with emotion is to show me a flash mob video. If it has a dancing element, it’s actually possible to paralyze me with the weeping. The dancing can be professional or like a bad audition on America’s Got Talent. The music can be beautiful and inspiring, or it can be one dude with bronchitis and a kazoo. It doesn’t matter. All that DOES matter is that there are two or more people doing something vaguely synchronized to some kind of soundtrack, at which point I am undone.


In perhaps the most convincing testimony in my case for spiritual advance, I bring you open weeping at none other than Riverdance. Yes. Riverdance. The deeply infuriating prancing of ego-maniacal man-divas and the relentless clompity-clompity-clomping of their backup babes. Clearly, given my already admitted weakness for synchronized dance, I shouldn’t have been surprised by my emotional reaction. And yet, my loathing for Riverdance is so deeply embedded in my subconscious that nothing could have prepared me for the tears as they arrived. I sat there in the free seat I had accepted as a lark, as full of rage and confusion about the tears as I was about the dancing itself. This moment, which at the time felt like the greatest injury perpetrated by my inherited weepiness can now, in the light of new information, only be explained as the moment in which I attained enlightenment.

  1. Hey Stacy,

    I’m a holder of the ugly-cry gene also. I’ve been told that when I really go for a good sob it look slike my face is peeling off of my skull. Charming but there you go.

    For me the worst is Doctor Who. During the David Tennant years there may have been three episodes where I didn’t cry. And since Amy Pond arrived I’m a permanent basket case watching it.

    A close second though has to be anytime I hear a Within Temptation song. Seriously frikkin’ annoying seeing as they’re one of my favourite bands, and typically their songs aren’t really sad. But just let me hear tw or three bars by that diivne singer and I’m already tearing up.

    Well anyway, great post, and the romance in my relationship died long ago by the sounds of things. Because these days I get told to stop blubbering a lot. The cuteness seems to having died a unremarked death sometime ago.

    • hehehe Glad to know I’m not alone. Perhaps we should form a sobbing sorority. ;)

  2. omg i cry at dancing as well…as long as there are 3 people dancing (duets dont seem to trigger me) i get happy tears. there is something just so dammed cool about people dancing in unison. i swear to god i sobbed through the new muppet movie (if you haven’t seen it and liked old school muppets go see it NOW…..it catches the tone perfectly.)

    • I haven’t seen it! It’s not out here in the UK until February. I AM DYING TO SEE IT. I WILL BRING KLEENEX.

  3. I cry easily too & am not pretty when I cry. I get moved by something I am watching or reading & I am open about venting pain, grief, & frustration, which is a healthy thing, I think.

    BTW, though, Shamu is not a big fish. He is a big mammal. I love whales, & it is pretty amazing that they can be so huge, so graceful, so magnificent. I would love to see a really big whale, such as a blue whale, but I live on the wrong side of the country.

    I also have had more than a few people tell me to stop crying or ask why I was crying. On the more serious side, I have been taken lightly in argument &.or accused of being crazy because when I am very angry, I am also very hurt, & my abusive parents told me I never had a right to be angry, so I usually cry when I am angry.

    • hehe Thanks for the clarification re: Shamu. I’m sorry that you have had such negative reactions to the crying. It can certainly make people uncomfortable. I’ve chosen to be a bit jocular about it in this post but it’s definitely served me poorly in similar circumstances. Sounds like you have a good grip on it, though, and that can only be a good thing. xox

  4. Not fair!! I read the first part about the big fish and can so picture it and the knee pat that I am laughing out loud all by myself at work and then I start to ugly-cry because I love you so much and now I have eyeliner on my shirt sleeve because I wiped my eyes with my sleeve and..aww heck, I love you.
    (Love the artwork. Your sense of the absurd comes through loud and clear!!)

    • heheh I love you, Mama. I almost put in the story about you crying at the Pet Parade, but I decided to save your pride. ;) I can’t wait to see you! It’s been way way way way way too long!

  5. I usually try to hide it, but when my husband and I watched the Hallelujah Chorus flashmob vid on YouTube last Christmas we both lost it simultaneously. It was a bonding moment. Ditto Amanda about most David Tennant Dr Who episodes. What is it about that man?

    • Aww, that’s sweet, Theresa! The other day, my g/f was watching a youtube video about an elephant reunion and crying. I thought she was just premenstrual as she’s not usually one to do so. Then I started watching the video. And I started WEEPING. We just sat there and cried together until we had to turn it off ‘cuz it was getting out of hand. ;)

  6. >.> I cry the most over the most beautiful things; I would totally weep over Shamu, both for his beauty and grace and his being in a gods forsaken aquarium.

  7. O-M-G! I thought that I was the only one who cries over silly things and usually at the most inopportune times. For example, ever since I was a little girl, it’s been difficult for me to attend Church as the waterworks start with the first organ chord. The theme song from the old movie “Love Story” reduces me to a puddle. “Avatar” had me sobbing in the theater and don’t even get me started on “Bambi” and the rest of that Disney ilk! Greeting cards and even some commercials make me start blinking back the moisture like crazy. I’m so relieved to know I’m not the only “freak” out there…I love you guys!!!!

  8. Ask David to tell you about the Yellow Pages ad if you ever want tototally break down. Ride on mowers are for him what Irish dancers are for you…

    • OH man. I WILL TOTALLY ASK. All-caps totally intentional. I CANNOT WAIT TO HEAR THIS.

Leave a Reply