Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Willie Nelson, Claymation pigs, and ... why can't I stop crying?

Ever since I can remember, I’ve worn my emotions on my sleeve – ad nauseam, in fact. When I was 9, I hung a sign around my neck before a family gathering that read, “I’m irritated and I don’t feel like talking.”

But this is ridiculous.

I’m chalking up to hormones the fact that I cry at the drop of a pin. I cry so much that it can be highly embarrassing and probably makes others feel uncomfortable as well. And I’m ready for it to stop anytime.

Just to be clear, it’s not a bury-your-head-in-your-hands-and-sob kind of crying. It’s a tendency for my eyes to overfill at the slightest provocation, whether it’s a commercial or a show-choir ballad or a story at work about someone’s ill parent.

I realized how ridiculous things have become a week or so ago when I was watching the Grammys and the Chipotle commercial came on -– the one where Willie Nelson sings “The Scientist” by Coldplay and Claymation-type pigs are running about. Granted, that commercial is award-winning and really well done. But by the end of it -– and I’d seen it before, mind you -– I was crying. Not making noise, but tears were flowing onto the front of my shirt, and I had to sniff repeatedly. Over Claymation pigs who are allowed to run and play.

The only person in the room with me at that time was Kevin, so that wasn’t a huge deal -– unlike the times I find my eyes filling at work, and that becomes a whole different issue. My boss comes into my office and says something nice, and I have to say a silent prayer that I don’t become emotional on the spot. A client sends a complimentary email and faster than I can type back “thank you,” my mascara is running.

I’m a pretty happy person overall, and about 95 percent of the time, the tears are not borne of sadness. That makes things even weirder. Last night, I was watching my kids’ band perform live. It was a happy occasion, but about the same time the first sound came out of the microphone, I was toast.

As I’ve entered this particular phase in the life cycle, I’ve done a lot of reading about changes that can occur in a woman’s physiology and psyche, and I’m reassured that the waterworks are highly normal; I also don’t have a problem explaining to a person who might be taken aback by my need to carry tissues: “I’m hormonal, and I get weepy. It will pass.” But I’m also conscious of the fact that to some people, excess emotion can be equated with weakness. And while I may be accused of being many things. I’m certainly not weak. So I try not to let it bother me too much.

And I’ve got to say -– today was a good day. A friend at work told me about her father’s cancer treatment, and I held it together. I heard a song on my iPod that usually makes me tear up, and I didn’t. But I’m not about to watch the Chipotle commercial again; I know my limits, and I’m no match for those Claymation pigs … especially when farmer reaches down and pats them on their little Claymation heads.

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