I like to cry. Since becoming pregnant, I’ve jokingly referred to my bouts of tears as prego moments — “I’ve got a prego moment coming on” I say to my boyfriend, as if it’s a sneeze — inevitable and inconvenient. But the truth of it is, I’ve enjoyed this newfound emotional layer of actually feeling moved by something.
I used to be a very emotional person. It felt like a lifetime sentence but really only flared up in my teen years (seeing a chemical trend here?). I was so moved by things, I felt them so much. Everything felt bigger, more invigorating and more painful all at once. Like it often does, this all faded away as I slid into adulthood. Logic overtook me and emotions became self-indulgent and tiresome. The big highs weren’t worth the big lows of being so impacted by a single event and I slowly became numb to it all — for better or for worse.
It would be silly to completely right off the joy and peace of letting things slide off my shoulders. Being unaffected from the tides of emotion has it’s perks. I am grateful to have reached a frame of mind where I can let go of uncomfortable feelings and confidently believe that all things will pass, good or bad. But that loss of being moved has also haunted me. It’s clogged my creative artery. The yearning to produce art whether it be writing, drawing, painting, has gone from a gushing river to a trickling stream, more often than not — in a season of drought.
My younger sister is an artist through and through. She peppers her walls with pieces of her artwork and after every few paintings, I’ll spot one of my old pieces — it’s so far from what I could produce today that I actually feel confident saying I created some pretty fantastic pieces. I was a legit novice artist. Aside from my lack of technique, barely hanging onto old muscle memory, my current work is noticeably deprived. Starved of emotion and leaves nothing to wonder. It makes me question how every career artist does it. How do you produce something that requires so much emotional energy? Are you in a constant state of raw, vulnerable angst? Because it seems to me, this is the time you produce the good stuff. The more you bleed, the better the art.
Despite the accompanied pain, this what I miss most about being emotionally charged: the sense of wonder and awe. I understand that the world is so vast and there is much to be uncovered but if I’m honest with myself, I approach everything with the idea that history repeats itself and that, although we’re all packaged differently, humanity tends to follow the same pattern. We’re all animals with the same predispositions that just happen at different stages of life depending on your path. Rarely does anyone or anything enchant me and oftentimes it’s short-lived and followed by a disappointing revelation that there is normalcy as the undercurrent of it all.
But this crying while pregnant thing — it’s got me in awe again:
While in conversation about some wartime movie, I began to sob at the thought of so many mothers having to send their sons off to war, knowing they’d likely never see them again. The magnitude of understanding their boys so intimately from their birth to adulthood and being forced to say goodbye for the last time… even writing this now brings me to prego moment tears. I haven’t even met this child growing inside me and I already cannot fathom the pain. It leaves me in awe of most parents and the limitless depth of our love.
While walking on the beach, I stopped to let the tides wash over my toes and, no joke, felt an enormous gratitude and wonderment towards the ocean. Grateful for what? I’m not quite sure… perhaps for it’s vast beauty or the fact that it’s foundation of all biological life on earth? But you bet it made me tear up! The same ocean that can kill you with a swift sweep of it’s current, made me feel moved and entirely in awe of it’s power.
The world and all of it’s people that I generally view as a predictable mass, have taken a new light. They’re individual, grand, lifeforms — with touching, magnificent stories. I like this version of them much better. To see each person anew, with a unique, remarkable place in the universe.
Society seems to associate emotion with weakness or immaturity. Children are so overcome with emotion and we raise them to become stoic, logical adults. We generally divert our gaze from anyone showing too much emotion and shun those who are too emotionally invested. I get it. We cannot live in a constant state of emoting. We’d never progress and the world as we know would just be too much to handle. Too much joy, too much sadness, too much everything. For anyone who has spent a day lost in feeling (I imagine all of us at some point) we know it’s a fruitless infinity that gets us nowhere.
But as much as we dismiss the notion of being moved, we should embrace it is also a sign of an elevated species. You could say that extremely negative emotions make us animalistic but I would argue that as a whole, emotions stop of us from savage tendencies — we value life, we find wonder in one another, we value the feelings of another person and we don’t just go off and eat our own (literally). Compassion is an emotion that stops us from being psychopaths. Emotion connect us and produces the sense of wonder that ignites curiosity and propels humankind forward.
So with that, I’m embracing these moments of tears. They’re powerful and remind me of the vast wonder still left in this world. I like to cry. I like to be moved. I like to be human.