When I was a little kid, I never cried at movies.
Seriously, I had the cold iron heart of a robot. The Little Mermaid got yelled at by her dad? TOO BAD FOR THE LITTLE MERMAID. The old dog in the Fox And The Hound got killed by a bear? TOO BAD FOR YOU, OLD DOG. I could watch the saddest films on the market without so much as a sniffle.
Except, of course, The Lion King. I sobbed at The Lion King, because I am not a monster.
I was honestly a little proud of myself, that I could go sit in a movie theater and remain dry-eyed while the people around me convulsed with their collective sobbing. I was obviously mature. Cool and disinterested. A young hipster in my sundresses and hiking boots, and happy to be so. I had confidence that I would be this way forever.
It was Lilo & Stitch that ruined everything. I was fifteen at the time. I was growing more comfortable in high school. Drawing more often. Writing quite a bit. I had started to phase out the baggy sweaters and raver jeans that I wore all throughout middle school in favor of graphic tees and the occasional khaki skirt. In short, I was blossoming from the awkward, eccentric child that I was into the awkward, eccentric adult that I would become.
I had never really abandoned liking Disney movies, so when Lilo & Stitch came out, combining my affection for animation and science fiction, I was on it like fur on a debutante. And I liked the movie! I really did! Until sometime around the middle.
I was watching Stitch wander out into the forest with Lilo’s copy of The Ugly Duckling. I saw him sit on the ground, read the page carefully, and cry out, “I’m lost!” just like the ugly duckling in the book did, and wait patiently for his swans to come.
I suddenly felt a funny tickling in my throat, and sniffled.
Crying? What? Was I crying? I couldn’t be crying. I don’t cry at movies. I wiped my nose with my sleeve and kept watching, but my eyes were quickly blurred by tears. It occurred to me that maybe I was injured somehow but I just wasn’t aware of the pain. Had I been shot? No. Apparently not. Not so much as a papercut, but here I was with a heavy lump in my throat, trying to choke back wracking sobs.
“Aw, shit,” I thought. “I just hit puberty.”
To this day I blame the hormones. It wasn’t even a gradual process. It’s not like I watched Lilo & Stitch and then had a normal several months until I got misty-eyed at a Lifetime Original. No, from that day forward, it was tears tears tears, all the time, at every movie. I was crying at M&M’s commercials, at radio interviews, at action flicks where hardened marines crack wise as the blood erupted from their foreign foes. Something had snapped, and I found myself completely incapable of participating in the world of media without needing at least four Kleenex.
As I watched Toy Story 3 in the theater, weeping openly at the age of twenty three, I realized that I had always considered my sudden problem with crying at the movies as a temporary issue.
But I’m pretty sure that it is a. hereditary and b. never ever going away. I’m stuck in a life where I cry while playing Super Smash Brothers, because poor Pikachu…sniff…all he wanted was to get Donkey Kong back with one good kick and…sniff snarfle sniff…now he is DEAD.
How about you, loyal readerfriends? Do you cry at movies? Books? Every little thing?