Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cry Me a River

Crying. Its like going to the gym. Its a painful process to start but you feel so relieved when you're done.

After driver's ed, I walked in on my mom watching Pay It Forward. It has Helen Hunt, that kid from the sixth sense, and another famous actor who I forget right now. Its a great movie that basically talks about spreading the love. Its based on the premise that if you do a kind deed for three people and tell them to pay it forward by doing kind deeds for three other people, the chain continues expanding until, hypothetically, everyone is doing kind deeds for everyone else. Super utopian, but awesome idea.

Anyways, I won't spoil the ending, but something happens and even though my mom has seen this movie 83473080 times, she starts crying BAWLING. I mean holding your throat, getting choked up, snot nose bawling. A box of tissues and a laugh is the normal remedy, but it still confuses me every time it happens. Maybe she's just REALLY in touch with her emotions and I'm not. Or maybe she's just a big baby, and I'm not. Either way, it still baffles me that some sort of upsetting visual stimulation, or an elevation in the voice, or a violent interaction can put your tear ducts in full gear.

Think about it, even from birth, we know that by crying we will automatically warn those around us that something is wrong.
How do babies know that?
Why is their instinct to cry when they come out of the womb? Why not laugh? Or burp? Why cry? I dunno. Emotions are so cool to me, especially crying.

Crying is also infectious. Like yawning. I usually cry when I come into contact with someone who is crying. For example: my freshman year of high school was very dramatic. I went to boarding school and one of the girls who lived next door to me was notorious for cutting. So we (some of the other girls in my dorm) had to meet with the guidance counselor and give her some insight as to what was going on with this girl. All of the sudden, everyone in the room starts telling their own battles with depression and the entire room was in tears. I have never dealt with anyone who cuts nor have I done it myself, but just by seeing them cry (and hearing their stories), I started crying as if I could relate. Madness!

I did a little research on tears. Wikipedia says that "The parasympathetic branch of the autonomic system controls the lacrimal glands via the neurotransmitter acetylcholine through both the nicotinic and muscarinic receptors. When these receptors are activated, the lacrimal gland is stimulated to produce tears." I think its saying that we have nerves which control our tear glands and we trigger them whenever we encounter intense emotion (happiness, pain, sadness, etc.). Since theyre muscles, our bodies are automatically trained to trigger the glands if need be.

- people who claim that they can make themselves cry are not actually forcing their glands to produce tears, but rather, they can control their emotions and recall past memories that can make them cry.

RANDOM SIDE NOTE: All the people that I know who CAN cry on cue, pride themselves on never crying. They also have pretty rough pasts and I guess they promised themselves that they would never cry again (i.e. my grandma). Therefore, I would assume that crying on cue would be easy for them for two reasons:
  1. They never cry, therefore their tear glands will work without effort since the glands are probably bursting at the seams with unused tears
  2. Since they have a rough past and they ignore those emotions, REvisiting those emotions will be pretty traumatic, hence, immediate tears.
*Disclaimer: This is just my theory. All oppositions are welcome.

Wow. This shit is cool. Thanks for the inspiration, mom :)