Years ago my mother told me a story about how when I first watched the movie Watership Down I cried. Apparently, I told everyone it was because the sun was shining in my eyes.
I watched Dirty Dancing so many times the tape had to be replaced a few times, sometimes I would cry, others I wouldn’t. It remains the same to this day. This film is why I don’t suffer writers block often. I simply open YouTube and find the scene I need, watch it once or twice and I’m ready to rock and roll. If that doesn’t work I have a few other go to movie scenes as well, but you can’t expect me to give all my secrets away…
I grew up reading teen thrillers and romances, later discovering my love of Mills and Boon books and feeling every emotion of each of the characters.
Fast forward to an eighteen or nineteen year old me. I went to the cinema with four lads I worked with in the RAF to see The Green Mile. What a mistake. I’ll never forget the emotion building in me, until the lump in my throat was so thick I could no longer swallow the assault of tears. When the flood gates opened, against my will, there wasn’t a mere few tears trickling down my face. No. That would have been okay. I literally sat there shuddering and shaking as gut wrenching sobs filled the quiet room. I wanted to die of shame at the whole thing, it was so embarrassing.
It’s the truth to say that there have been many times in my life where emotions have gotten the better of me for longer periods than the length of a movie or book scene and oftentimes for no apparent reason. It’s the lowest of the low times I recall having to lock myself in cupboards at work so I could sob, let everything out that had been building for hours, just like when I watched The Green Mile but in the absence of John Coffey being led to his tragic demise. If I allowed these emotions to come out people would ask me what the hell was wrong with me and I wouldn’t have been able to provide a reason.
Many times from the age of twelve all the way into my thirties, I tumbled into the pits of utter despair and couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed for a week. Lying there on a spin cycle of tears and sleep inspired from the exhaustion of crying. In these times I’m not ashamed to admit I used prescription drugs and alcohol to get by, allowing anti-depressants to reset me. I put it that way because I have never used them as a long term solution to crippling depression. For me anti-depressants strip every emotion away…even joy and happiness and for me that’s as bad as as wishing I was dead. So, I took them for six to eight weeks, let the tears dry and my brain reset and chuck them in the bin. I know many people who simply can’t do that and wind back up in the mess I described without the anti-depressants and I’m not suggesting for a moment that makes you any less of a person or that you throw them away. I’m simply describing how they worked for me.
I didn’t start writing until I was thirty, well not in earnest anyway. I’ve wrote since I could pick up a pen, but I didn’t know who I was until I hit thirty so never managed to produce anything coherent enough for others eyes to see it before that age. Since then I have managed to avoid dehabilitating depression. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve suffered low mood on a number of occasions, but never anything all consuming and crippling.
I have wept and sobbed for my characters when I wrote them and even after, just thinking about them and whatever predicament they face. I well up whenever I go to a class assembly and see my children centre stage at school. Adverts make me cry. I try never to watch the news…so we won’t go there. Still, the main causation of cathartic tears remains the movies. Even when they’re not even particularly sad.
This fact remains an absolute fascination to my ten year old daughter, she just doesn’t understand why I always cry at our Friday night movie night, which often goes into a Saturday night, too. This is what inspired this post. I think it’s because she fascinates me in the way that she doesn’t understand it. These days I no longer attempt to hold back the tears, I really enjoy the overwhelming emotion passing over me in response to what’s happening on the screen. I even cried at the end of Grease 2 the other week because it reminded me of something I missed. Sometimes it just feels so good to cry. All of the years I attempted to hide my tears when it came to fictional matters was because most people believe it displays their weakness. On the contrary, the ability to cry shows nothing but emotional strength. A good cry every now and then can feel so good, what better way to have your emotions out off the back of something fictional that your brain can let go of once the scene has finished? After all, crying over the real stuff that isn’t going away could leave you broken as it continually attacks. Especially in these times where tragedy and frustration is all around us and all consuming if we allow it to get to us.
The truth of the matter is that I’m very emotional, so I was surprised to receive a comment from a co-worker who told me I didn’t seem the sort to write romance. Then I realised that most of my colleagues only experience the mildly pissed off to absolutely fucking livid side of me. Unfortunately, the consultant psychiatrist has witnessed the other side a number of occasions and had no idea how to handle a sobbing Lucy. So it’s probably for the best to leave the annoyed side of me at the office!
All too often, when we feel low, we try to push away the feelings of despair, keep busy and push the feelings away. Maybe just maybe, we could feel better if we just allowed ourselves to feel something through the eyes of others, be that a fictional character or not. Doing so displays empathy and emotional health. So, if you’re feeling low and need a little ‘pick me up’ might I suggest a really sad movie to rid yourself of the sadness inside? I’d be interested to know if it works for you!
If you’re looking for a book to make you shed a tear or two, then you could give Kissing Katie by moi a go. I certainly shed a few tears whilst I wrote it and used my own experiences with depression to craft the story. Come on, it wouldn’t be a proper post if I didn’t try to sell you something at the end! LOL! Currently it’s on sale at 99 little pennies or cents or available in KU. Links are below the image.
Also, I’ll be giving a signed paperback copy of the book away over the next few weeks, so if you’d like the chance to win it join my group: http://bit.ly/LTsLovlies
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2UOLv2S
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2TCXOyZ