One time I was watching The Little Mermaid with my grandparents and climbed under the coffee table to hide. It was near the end of the movie and I knew I was going to cry when Ariel became a full-time human. She walks out of the ocean in that sparkly blue dress, hugs King Triton, and whispers, “I love you, Daddy.” I was five years old and didn’t want to have to explain why there were tears streaming down my face.
When I was eight, my family and I saw the Rockettes’ holiday show at Radio City Music Hall in New York. I started crying the moment they all did their kick line thing. It was just so beautiful.
That next year, the updated version of Little Women came out. It’s the one with Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Christian Bale, Kirsten Dunst, and Claire Danes in it. I could not handle Beth dying. I was inconsolable every single time I watched it. I also wept when their dad came home from war at Christmastime, when Jo cut all her hair off, when Beth got that piano, and especially when Jo turned down Laurie’s proposal. I mean Gabriel Byrne is cool, but who turns down Christian Bale in his prime? C’mon, Winona.
Titanic came out when I was in middle school and I obviously saw the movie three times in theaters — all three hours and fourteen minutes of it. The first time, I cried from the moment the iceberg hit until the end credits. The second and third times, I got emotional during the opening credits in anticipation of the old couple cuddling in their bed, those two little Irish kids naively awaiting their impending death, the string quartet playing that sad, sad music, and sweet Jack getting completely shafted in the door raft situation.
After Titanic, I watched Romeo + Juliet (I don’t want to insult your intelligence, but I’m referring to the Leo one) so many times. I used to do this thing where if I stayed home sick from school, I’d watch Titanic and Romeo + Juliet back to back. Most days, I could only handle watching the first half of each movie — R+J until the wedding scene and Titanic until the low-class dance party. After that, I knew everybody was gonna die and I had to be in the right state of mind for it.
One time I decided to watch all of Romeo + Juliet while babysitting (after the kids fell asleep) and the parents came home seconds after Juliet shot herself in the head. They walked in and I was sobbing — a really weird and uncomfortable moment for everyone.
I’m an adult now and I still cry all the time. Some recent emotional moments include:
· A working-class hero calling his favorite radio station to request “Sweet Child of Mine.” I was just so happy they played it for him.
· A kiddie matinee screening of The Wizard of Oz. Judy Garland is so young and beautiful and don’t even get me STARTED on her MGM diet pill-induced downfall.
· “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson playing over the loudspeakers in Trader Joe’s. The chorus always gets me — I think it’s her strength.
· A walk-through of the Henry J. Ford Museum’s Civil Rights exhibit in Detroit. The docent told me I was looking at the ACTUAL bus Rosa Parks sat on and water started falling out of my eyes really fast. I think I mumbled, “It’s so special” three or four times before finally walking away.
· Anytime I see a Dalmatian in real life. My family had one for fifteen years and I still miss her.
· Opening the letter in which my sister asked me to be her co-Maid of Honor with my other sister. LOTS of emotions, immediate waterfall.
· Seeing the Pretenders play live. The second Chrissie Hynde opened her mouth to sing, I lost it.
· Watching the new Beauty & the Beast movie in a theater. YOU try and deal with that level of nostalgia.
· Listening to Carole King’s seminal album, Tapestry, while on my period.
· Anytime I thought about Prince during the entire first year after he died.
· Reading Gloria Steinem’s memoir, My Life on the Road, while on an airplane. I alternated between wiping salty tears from my face and underlining inspirational passages.
The list goes on, but I think you get it: I’m an emotional gal. I feel things very deeply, all the time. I’m assuming that being an artist person has something to do with it, but it also could be wiring. My sister Emily is also very weepy.
I’ve learned to keep a small pack of tissues with me at all times, just in case I find myself reading a powerful book, watching a sad movie, or listening to a beautiful song. Insider tip: If you ever see me pull my glasses slightly away from my face, that means I’m about to cry.