Monday, December 07, 2009

Tearing up and weeping in public - what's that about?

Since becoming a mum, this is what makes me cry, or at least makes me tear up, and I have to take control of myself.

I'm not covering the normal things that people usually cry over - the death of a close friend, having a fight with your boyfriend etc. The crying I'm talking about is new to me since becoming a mother. I should add that I'm not normally a crier. I don't cry when I see the children sleeping peacefully or when I get hurt. I don't care if people say bad things about me. I don't consider myself the most sensitive of souls, so all this is puzzling to me.

- certain songs, even songs I don't particularly like. I know I cry when I hear Tenterfield Saddler - it is a great song - I wish I wrote it. But at the kids' dance concert, I was tearing up while reading the list of songs the kids were about to dance to. What's that about?

- live performances. Even the kids' shows at the mall. I've been known to blubber when hearing adults singing in character costumes. Is it because I know they probably spent their whole lives studying singing, dance and Shakespeare? Is it because I know how much work goes into putting on any performance? Is it because I miss performing? I don't know. I hope it isn't because I spent most of my adult life pursuing adult interests and here I am at the lame show, but I don't think so - I cried at the Play School Concert and at Hi-5 (the originals, who could sing) as well.

- seeing the kids at school doing sport or playing games. The sports carnival. The swimming carnival. Not necessarily my kids, just any kids.

- school assemblies where kids perform or even when sing the National Anthem, and I'm not particularly patriotic. Ok, that Anzac dance was pretty powerful - seeing kids as soldiers, nurses, welcoming home the soldiers etc to the sound of Oxygene (a strong Gallipoli trigger there - I bawled through that film the second time I saw it when I was about 14 - so I've got one precedent there) and 'I Was only 19' - I dare anyone not to cry through that!

- Sharing great movies with the kids. I cried while watching 'Singing in the Rain' with the kids, aware that it has been familiar to me for so long, but is new to them. A first, that I think is relevant. And it is just so great. And don't even mention 'It's a Wonderful Life'.

- explaining to my kids major movements in history and what's going on in the world, eg, the history of feminism, the story of how Africans were taken to America as slaves, the history of unions, child labour, the shame that is the Indigenous problem, third world poverty, how our consumption impacts on people in poor countries, climate change and the big issues of the day. Any story that involves a child being hurt. Even dramatisations that illustrate these issues. I think I cry about these things because I want them to inherit a world that doesn't have these problems, and that has progressed further along the path to equality, integrity, sustainability, and wellbeing for all.

Perhaps it is because for the longest time I never expected to have kids. I was never very maternal - my independence and freedom were of foremost importance. I never even considering having children until I was 28. I hope it isn't because I subconsciously want to be somewhere else. Perhaps I'm happy that kids get so many opportunities and that I love seeing them doing the things that I loved as a kid. I don't know.

My friend who is a yoga teacher says that when you have a child your heart chakra opens. Like that quote about how having a child means that your heart is walking around, exposed and vulnerable.

So, I'm wondering. Should I explore this further to find out what my sub-conscious is doing? Or do I just accept that this is what I do and try not to feel silly about it.

1 comment:

Joannie said...

Hi again,

Yes, interesting isn't it just what makes us cry. I remember watching both Black Beauty (with my son) and Ann of Green Gables (with my daughter) for the same reason. The first was pretty devastating near the end, but the second I think I cried pretty much all the way through. My daughter just kept looking at me - what's up with you??

I generally think it is interesting to wonder about things, and these kind of unexplainable episodes, where you wouldn't think you would cry are intriguing. I've got a book by Nancy Chodorow (famous for her theory on the reproduction of mothering) called The power of feelings and she describes feeling like shadows - they are there to tell us something (especially the ones that keep coming back) - they are something to learn from.

So I'll vote for the further investigation - maybe choosing one of those occasion and writing about it - explore your feelings through words and see what you can find.

just a thought. take care and best, Joannie