Dear Ugly Criers

Dear Ugly Criers,

This past weekend a lot of you made pronouncements of your sobbing abhorredness on various social media platforms due to the death of a certain beloved character on a rather popular show, Game of Thrones.  Even with the knowledge of what was likely due to occur thanks to recently finishing book 5 in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, I too felt the tears burning a path down my cheeks as the credits rolled.  It didn’t help that I had already marathoned a few episodes of the series that night to catch up to the finale, so let’s just say that it had been a rough few hours.

Crying at a TV show, movie, book, or video game is nothing new for me, from playing through the final sequence of The Last of Us fighting to save Ellie (thank God they took the choice out of my hands when it came to what Joel does because I may have never recovered from that game had that burden been on my shoulders), to discovering the internal struggle of the narrator while reading Atonement, to dropping to a new depth of misery when Vincent lays down next to Jack in the series finale of Lost.

Basically any time there is a strong likelihood of death knocking don’t be surprised when you look over and see the water works going flowing strong, trying to sweep the characters away from death’s door as swiftly as possible.  I like to think of myself meeting these moments head on gracefully, with a certain level of strength and dignity befit to what the characters deserve, but the ability to do this often solely hinges on how much I can convince myself of the shaky lies of survivability we tell ourselves to make things all better.  Surely Atonement‘s Briony was able to forgive herself as a means to simply not live a torturous life until her last day, surely it’s just a flesh wound in Game of Thrones that can be healed before reviving the dead is required, granted even if they are that option is also possible in this world so there is no way this character is really dead because they just can’t be!

When it comes to these moments I probably play it a little too closely to Rose Byrne’s character in Bridesmaids. Yeah, I’m crying, but I can’t look that bad; just a little wipe across the face with the back of my hand and I am back to wearing my usual emotionally undistorted face.  However, there is one example from years ago that there was no way possible that I could play it off that way.  I was pure-blown ugly crying.

For those of you who haven’t read The Book Thief, there is one thing you should know.  Well, two things really.  First, you should know that this is a great book and you need to read it.  I said read it!  No cheating with the movie!  Secondly, prepare a mask of Kleenexes to wrap your face in for when you get to the last 50 pages or so, you’re going to need them.  My sister had warned me about how emotionally draining this book was going to be, but no warning could have prepared me for what happened when I finally read the book myself.

But Lauren, it’s just crying! Oh no, internet peruser, it was not just crying!  It was so much more than that!  It started out with the sniffles, then moved onto the level of tears in which it is impossible to actually make out the words on the page, then it moved on to pure blown, audible sobbing before peaking at the ugliest cry ever.  But this wasn’t the worst of it.  Oh no.  Imagine this: you’ve been entrenched in WWII for the past few hours, you’re already super bummed by what is happening to the Jewish community (I must now apologize for using “super bummed” to describe my feelings towards the Nazis), you’ve watched one of the key characters of the book slowly dying with each passing page, and now the young narrator Liesel is quite literally having her world destroyed.  All facial orifices have liquid raining down like the bombs from the planes in the skies above Liesel’s home, and suddenly as things reach their worst moment you notice something out of the corner of your eye, a bright red plume spreading out from your neck down your clean, white shirt.

OH MY GOD I’M DYING!!!

Let me tell you, there is nothing more jarring than being completely immersed in death and destruction only to find yourself covered in your own mortality.  OK, so turns out it was only a nose bleed, but in that first moment before logic kicked in I was freaking the F out.  Then I realized what was happening and I was freaking the F out for a completely different reason.  I had blood soaking into one of my favorite white shirts and I had absolutely no idea what to do about it.

If that experience wasn’t traumatizing enough for me, someone who experienced nose bleeds on a somewhat regular basis, I can’t imagine what ran through my mom’s mind as I practically ripped her door off its hinges in a state like I was running for my life from a serial killer.  I was crying, I had panic burned into my face, and I looked like the victim suffering from a handful of wounds from a brutal attack.

And that, my friends, is how you ugly cry.

Until next time,
Lauren H.
Follow @BewareOfTrees

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