When I was a kid, I was known, and ridiculed I thought, for being an easy crier. I didn't cry when I got hurt---I was a careful and stoic kid. I would cry over TV programs: Lassie (for the people, for the PEOPLE), Dumbo, late movies with tragic endings; I cried over books, over music (think Puff the Magic Dragon); I cried at Mass when things got intense, although when my brothers got woozy from the incense, it made me giggly. From the time I was in my teens, none of my friends was spared the lets go for coffee (Lorna cries) experience.
I was also a champion laugher. As I remember it, my sisters and I couldn't get through dinner without laughing till we choked or got sent to another room. We would get to the stage where we couldn't drink or eat without collateral damage to our dear ones, where I would ineffectively dredge up mental images of Anne Boleyn climbing the steps to the guillotine and occasionally to the place where I would find myself laughing, crying and hiccuping all at the same time. While I didn't revel in this ability, I kind of liked it because I thought it showed the real me. As opposed to the bare-midriffed, faux platinum person with the shaved eyebrows and the size 7 feet in size 6 heels.
When I was in my 30s, I always seemed at one extreme end of the spectrum---deliriously happy or tragically sad, and I wasn't so thrilled about it as I didn't seem to have much control over either end---red-eyed crier or red-cheeked laugher.
Some time after that, I discovered that I had issues with chemical balance and emotions, and began a long journey of natural and chemical medication balanced sometimes with therapy and long bouts of exhausting pretending-I-was-well. Luckily for me, I found the right doctor and the right medication at the same time---the downside, although I didn't think it was at the time, was the loss of the extreme ends of the emotional spectrum.
Lately though, I've found myself laughing dangerously raucously on the phone with my sister, or while playing board games with the family. Apart from breathlessness, and sore ribs, I hardly gave it a thought.
Today, Dave and I were doing some work around the house and as we usually do, we put on some appropriate old-school music. For me, if I'm working hard, Meat Loaf is just right. Dave likes an eclectic mix and we settled for a playlist I'd labelled "Friday Morning Work Music" back in 2006, and which neither of us had heard since. We both got caught by surprise with Harry Chapin's song about two lonely people, A Better Place to Be, which lucky for you, I don't know how to embed. Dave looked over at me and smiled because it's one of the songs we both love, but as soon as he did, I realized I was going to cry. I had no clue that I was going to sob, make that choky sound and have to run into the bedroom because teary and distraught isn't my best look.
It made me realize that a couple of things have affected me emotionally recently: many of the "It Gets Better" videos, the youtube flash mob versions of The Hallelujah Chorus, pictures of the kids and grandchildren as babies, accidentally pulling out of my bag a comb of my mother's that I've had for years.
I don't actually think that these dips into my stronger emotions require an uppage of my medication---I really hope it doesn't, as I find I still like to cry and laugh really hard.
And I have the family and friends to help me do it.