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Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Confession Of Epic Emotions

It’s time for another Thursday night confessional, and with this one, I’m going to refer back to the blog entry that I wrote yesterday.

Yesterday, I wrote about the E.B. White classic novel, Charlotte's Web.  The book (as well as the two movies that accompanied it) remains one of my all-time favourite books.  And part of the reason why I love the book so much is because it achieves what I feel a great story should.

It allows the reader to get emotionally involved in the characters.

And certainly, Charlotte's Web did exactly that.  I make no secret in letting everyone know in yesterday's entry that Charlotte's Web did in fact make me shed a lot of tears.  Even at the age of 30, I still get choked up thinking about that book.

In fact, I'm finding that the older I get, the more emotionally affected I am to various things.

And this leads straight into my second Thursday confessional.

THURSDAY CONFESSIONAL #2:  I wear my emotions on my sleeve, and can (and more than likely will) shed a tear the slightest moment that I feel sad, or moved.  I also have had difficulty balancing my emotions.

The song up above is by Godley & Creme, and it's a song called 'Cry'.  I figured that this was the song that would best describe the whole point of this note.  Not that Godley & Creme make me cry or anything like that.  But, in general, if I'm watching a movie or television show, or listening to a sad song on the radio, it doesn't take much for me to shed at least one tear.

I realize that by publicly admitting this on a public blog like this one...especially coming from a 30-year-old man who stands over six feet tall and can lift a 50 pound case of butter without a care in the world...that I might have to hand over my man card, or whatever name it's being given these days.  Well, you know what?  I'm going to offer up a defense to keep the masculinity within me by saying that it is absolutely okay for guys to cry.

That's right.  I said it.  I'm a man, and I cry at sad movies.  Nothing to be ashamed of at all.

Case in point, have any of you seen the movie Marley & Me?  I have.  I actually did an entry on the movie back in July.  I was perfectly happy with the movie, and it was a fantastic one to watch, and then within the last 20 minutes of the film or so, it changed tone, and I was left lying on my living room sofa curled up in a ball, my face red and blotchy from having to wipe away tears.  Yeah, Marley & Me was a bad movie to watch.

And, you don't even want to get me started on Old Yeller.  I still have yet to make it through an airing of that movie without wanting to sob uncontrollably.

Even while I was researching songs to post for future entries, I'll stumble upon a song that I hadn't heard in a while, and wonder why it was the case.  Then when I click on the song link, and I get so emotionally involved in the song that my eyes start welling up, it dawned on me that the reason why I didn't listen to the song beforehand was because it would cause me to get emotional about it.

Case in point.  Whenever I do a blog entry on Disney movies, and I'm searching for songs from the movie soundtracks, occasionally songs from other films will make their way in the search engine results.

One song was Elton John's 'Can You Feel The Love Tonight' from the Disney movie 'The Lion King' (which I'll be doing an entry on later this month, in case you're wondering).  I don't know what it is about that song now that makes me feel all sorts of emotion, but I'll admit that song really got to me for some unknown reason.  The funny thing is that I remember being 13 and seeing 'The Lion King' when it first came out, and that song never used to affect me so much back then.  Now, though...hoo boy.

There are many days I look back and wonder why the heck I get so emotionally affected by songs, movies, or happenings that are sad or tragic.  But, I guess it's because I was always an emotional person, right down to my early days as a child.

Now that I'm an adult, I find that I am a lot better at controlling my emotions, but when I was a kid, whenever anyone said or did anything to me that I didn't like, I would burst into tears.  It got to the point where I went home from school crying my eyes out at least once a week...or if it were a really bad week, once a day.

And, I probably realize that having such little control of my feelings back in those days probably did somewhat alienate me from my peers in many instances.  But when you're young, it's sometimes hard to know exactly how to act whenever someone is not very nice to you, and your first instinct is to act in an emotional manner.

So, I did...and back then, I don't think the kids in my class appreciated my emotional distress.

But you know, that was the thing.  We were all kids back then.  Some of us had no emotion, others (like myself) seemed to have too much.  It's hard to find that balance at times, especially as a child.  But, now that I am an adult, I would like to think that I am in full control of those emotions.  Well, most of the time.

Sometimes though, it just feels a whole lot better to just let it all out with one gigantic crying session.  Letting out anger, frustration, stress, grief, whatever the emotion is.  Letting it out is a fantastic, cathartic experience.  You feel so much better once you do let all that emotion out.  I think that's why I don't see crying as a weakness.  Those who aren't afraid to show their feelings are people I find to be incredibly strong.

Now, granted, I realize that there are some people who have a lot easier time showing emotion than others, and that's okay...there's some people who genuinely have a hard time with feelings and emotion.  But, I'll tell you one thing.  If you're one of those people who likes to bottle up their emotions, and try to hide them from other people, that's probably not the way to go.

Years ago, when I was in high school, I went the opposite route of how I acted in grade school.  In grade school, I showed too much emotion, but when I got to high school, I don't think I showed enough.  I kept it all buried inside, because my thought process at the time was that nobody gave a damn, so why bother to tell anyone about my feelings?  Right?


My bottling up my emotions in high school didn't work out very well either.  In fact, that decision lead me down a dark and destructive path.  But, that will have to be told another Thursday, as I don't want to let EVERYTHING out.

The fact is that everyone deserves to have an outlet to let their sadness out.  While it took me a while to figure it out, I found a way to balance those feelings out, and I think I'm a much better person for it.  Whenever I feel the need to let out some steam through tears, all I really have to do is turn on a really sad song or watch a tragedy in film and I can get my release out that way.

It doesn't matter what gender you are.  What your job title is.  What your religious background is, or how you grew up.  I am of the firm belief that showing tears isn't a sign of weakness, or timidness.  If anything, people showing their emotions makes them more human, and really, isn't that a good thing?

So, you know what?  I'm putting it out there.  I cry at sad movies.  And that's okay!

I will say this though...when it comes to watching things on television that are supposed to be sad, it's quite unpredictable for me.  There are some aspects where I am unmoved at all...while there are others that bring on the waterworks.

If someone were, say, killed off on CSI, it wouldn't really affect me.  Mainly because CSI is a show where we expect there to be one dead body in every episode.  After a while, you start to get desensitized to it.  Though the episode of CSI where Warwick Brown was gunned down somehow managed to strike a little nerve in me, just because he was a character that was loved by a lot of viewers.  Seeing him lose his life in such a tragic way would make anyone feel a little knot in their stomach...well, unless you're so desensitized to violence that you just chalked it up as another body in the episode, that is.

Same deal with fictional couples.  If John and Marsha were in love on some unnamed soap opera, and Marsha was poisoned by a serial killer or attacked by bees and died from a severe allergic reaction, or whatever outlandish soap opera plots the hack writers come up with these days, I probably wouldn't show an outpouring of real emotion there.  At the same time, I know people who actually HAVE cried when their favourite supercouples are split up forever.  And certainly some people take their stories very seriously and get so attached to characters that when they get killed off on the show, they really feel like they've lost a member of their own family.

I guess I can only imagine that is the feeling many fans of the soap opera 'One Life To Live' are feeling as their show enters the soap graveyard in the sky tomorrow afternoon.

And sometimes you tune into a show that normally brings you happiness, but something happens at the end of the show, and you're helpless against the flood of tears and emotion that comes from it.

I had that experience once with an episode of Alvin and The Chipmunks, believe it or not.  

I remember it was one of my favourite cartoons growing up, and I never missed an episode.  And when I was watching one particular episode, I thought it was going to be a great episode.  Alvin, Simon, and Theodore wanted a pet, so Dave brought them home a little kitten.  They named the kitten 'Cookie Chomper the Third', or something to that extent.  They even had a little bed made for him and everything.  Theodore even gave Cookie Chomper a teddy bear to sleep with, but Alvin took it away.  Alvin was a little self-absorbed and misguided anyways, so this move didn't surprise anyone. 

But then something happened that none of us saw coming.  I know I certainly wasn't prepared for it.  Cookie Chomper the Third saw a firefly buzzing around the open window in the Chipmunks room, illuminating Alvin's bear, and the kitty managed to escape the room and wander outside...only to get run over by a car.

Surprisingly enough though, I managed to make it through that part okay.  But then the Chipmunks began to sing about their deceased friend, and I completely lost it.  If you're brave, you'll click on THIS LINK to see what I mean.  Isn't it the most saddest song you've ever heard?  It certainly brought a damper on the episode. I didn't even care that the Chipmunks got a new pet after they grieved the loss of Cookie Chomper the Third. I was still upset that the poor cat had to die.

Even now, the song still makes me well up (which is why I posted the link instead of posting it outright in this blog entry).  Even more so now that I recently lost a pet myself.  In July 2010, I had to put my sixteen year old cat down due to him being very, very sick.  It broke my heart.  It also didn't help matters much that I stumbled upon that very Alvin and the Chipmunks episode just one week after my cat died.  

But you know, it's good that I did...watching the Chipmunks grieve for their pet gave me the go-ahead to grieve mine...I think I must have cried all that day.  The next day, I still missed him, but I was at peace with it. I felt better for having let it out.

And, I think that's what the point of this confessional was.  To let everyone know that it's okay to show your emotions once in a while.  

I know I have no regrets in sharing this with all of you.  In fact, I feel better for having done so.

So, you know what...let's have one final song in celebration of that fact.

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