Friday, June 5, 2009
Cry me a River
So sue me! I just asked Emma if she had noticed that I left my movie disc from two nights ago in her laptop by mistake. "Ya, mom, I took it out - it's on my desk." I told her to make sure she gave it back to me so it didn't get lost as it was one of my top two favorite movies of all time. "God, Mom,' she said, one of your top two movies is The Bridges of Madison County?, what's the second?" "That would be Out of Africa," I told her. "You're telling me, your top two movies of all time are both sappy romantic films like that?," she said rolling her eyes at me. She is 14. She thinks Michael Cera is dreamy. What does she know? "One day you might understand the power of a romantic film," I told her. She walked away, waving me off as though I was the one who needed to examine my choices. So be it. At her age, I thought, I was different. I have always been a sucker for a tale of unrequited love. It's who I am. I make no apologies. I can practically recite Meryl Streep's lines in Out of Africa by heart from the scene where she has lost everything she worked for and dreamed of as she sits on a wooden crate in her empty shell of a house, reading poetry and smoking a cigarette, then, as though things aren't bad enough, her ex-husband arrives to tell her the tragic news of her one true love's death. If they ever made a live stage version, I would surely be able to "read" for the part in the most convincing way even though I have never acted in my life. Just running the lines through my head chokes me up. Then again, I can weep over a TV commercial. The years don't make me better, they just make me worse. I used to be really embarrassed by my emotions. Now, just slightly. And it depends on my audience. If I start to cry at a movie with Emma next to me, she outs me immediately, leaning forward in her seat to see if I'm spilling any tears and then proceeds to mock me. It pisses me off, because her critical observations of my emotional state take me away from completely drowning in the moment. "Leave me alone to wallow," I want to tell her. "You're ruining the moment for me." Children can be cruel. Their problem is, they haven't yet experienced the agony of a broken heart or the pain of loss. They are just learning about the world. I want her to know it's OK to feel. It's taken me years to learn that and sometimes I still feel shamed by my own emotions at times. If she had been a boy, it would be worse. At least girls are expected to express their emotions. Boys, not so much. I will admit, these peri-menopausal years have me riding an emotional roller coaster. Everyday, it seems, presents a new opportunity to cry. The newspapers, the TV news, TV commercials (really pathetic I know), a homeless person on the street, doesn't take much to stir me these days. Some days I need to drink extra glasses of water to replace the lost fluids. Will I be this way forever? Frankly, I hope so. If I stop feeling, I might be dead.