Saturday, 16 July 2011

Crying: when is the right time to shed a tear?

My youngest daughter Miss Hissy (aka The Hiss) is at a leadership camp. As if that isn't funny enough, The Hiss has sent two text messages from camp HQ that have caused much merriment in our household.

The first came after I asked her, via text message, how it was going. 

She wrote: Everyone here is so emotional but in a good way. 

In a good way? I immediately imagined a gathering of precocious teens locked into a group hug after each had made public some tragic aspect of their cossetted life.

My response: Emotional? Gawd! 

You may think I'm being harsh but let me put you in the picture. In our house there has to be a good reason for tears. For example: death of dog or other pet variety (though you're stretching it with gold fish and axolotls), broken bones (fingers and toes don't count, only important bones) and the final episode of MasterChef for 2011. 

My mother's advice was to stop crying over trivial matters. For example: acrimonious divorce, loss of job and frustration from dealing with ungrateful spouse and selfish children.

I'll admit there is stuff that makes me spontaneously cry like today in the supermarket when the man on the PA system told shoppers the grocery packers at each checkout were scouts raising money to get to the world jamboree in Sweden. That sense of community touched me and I got all teary. 

And there are certain songs that make me cry like U2's One Love, which was also playing in the supermarket today and probably caused me to toss into the shopping trolley items I wouldn't usually buy. 

This 'empathy for others' type of crying is acceptable. It's the 'woa is me' type of crying that gets my goat. 

For sure, I bawled my eyes out during my acrimonious divorce but I didn't bore the rest of the world with my venting. In fact, I did a lot of it while I was in the car and found that driving and crying works a treat for downloading excess 'woa is me' grief. 

Seriously, try it. In January, I drove in a highly-charged hormonal state from Sydney to Belmont and sobbed all the way from the start of the F3. By the time I arrived I felt great.

The Hiss's second text message was: Yeah, everyone is crying except me! 
My response: Ha ha, go girl!

I realise teenagers are over-emotional creatures and the world revolves around them. But it won't always. My point is if a child falls over and it's just a grazed knee there's no reason to cry. Get back up, check everything's OK and get on with it.

PS: I bet The Hiss was desperate to cry and probably did everything in her power (pinched herself, thought of dog dying) to eek a trace of moisture from those stubbornly dry eyes.  

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