Recently I was asked what the last movie was to make me cry (I cannot remember how this came up in conversation, but it made perfect sense at the time). And despite my innate female/sentimental/hormonal tendencies, I struggled to arrive at an answer. After several moments of hemming and hawing my conversationalist and I finally came up with The Notebook, and we quickly left the topic for equally random and ingenious subject-matters.
But ever since then, I’ve been thinking. Thinking about crying, tearing up, weeping inconsolably, having emotional breakdowns…you know, normal girl stuff. And I’ve come to the conclusion that, although I’ve engaged in all the aforementioned activities, I am not a normal girl (you needn’t add a sassy comment in response to the “normal” thing, because I will cut you).
Seriously though…not normal. I am not a crier. I did not cry when Jack Dawson froze to death, I did not cry when Hedwig died, I did not even cry when my sister got married (although that may have had something to do with the panic attack I was experiencing, being the Maid of Honor and having had forgotten her to-be-husband’s wedding band). And on that occasion when I do cry, I become tremendously uncomfortable and pissed off at myself. I am not that friend who cries, then buries her head in your understanding arms for a good long “shh…everything’s gonna be okay” hug. I am that friend who cries, makes a horrified face, and unceremoniously walks out of the room while you’re still thinking of nice things to say. Yeah……sorry about that.
But after giving this psychological weirdism of mine extensive mulling-over, I now know who is to blame for it all (you didn’t think I was at fault for my own problems, did you?? Hogwash!). The responsible party is, without doubt or hesitation, my oldest-only-sister Rachel.
Do let me explain how I’ve come to the conclusion of said sister’s utter horribleness. Rachel is amazing. She’s brilliant, and articulate, and her skin is flawless and she’s skinnier than I’ll ever be. Rachel is also the most competitive human being you’ve ever met in your existence. If she can beat you at it she will try…and probably succeed. Example: every year as chillens Sister and I went to our grandfolk’s home for an Easter egg hunt, and every year Sister found more eggs than me. Every. Year. And, Sister also managed to find all the eggs with money in them, whereas I found only those containing partially-melted-lime-green-duck-shaped-marshmallows. If by chance Sister did not beat me at something immediately off the starting block (and those moments were painfully rare), she would manage to catch up with my humble victory and squash it into the ground by being Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger at whatever I had done. I will again provide you with an example: one epic day I very innocently (and probably accidentally) learned how to blow a bubble with my chewing gum. Before Sister. We were on some sort of family road-trip, and both Sister and I were busy entertaining ourselves in the backseat (her by reading classic literature, me by doodling in the margins of my Where’s Waldo). Then “pop!” I’d blown a bubble. My parents oooh-ed and aaah-ed while Sister looked on…and by the end of that very day she had not only taught herself my newfound skill, but had learned to blow bubbles twice as magnificent as mine. True story.
But throughout this blockbuster case of sibling-rivalry, there has always been one thing Sister cannot do; Sister cannot not cry. Sister cried when she went to camp, she cried when she got her blood drawn and she cried when a Junebug flew up her shirt. She cried when her goldfish started swimming upside-down, and she cried when our father said the vision of God was under her bed (this was after watching Raiders of the Lost Ark, and she feared her face would melt off upon seeing Our Lord Jesus). And in my little demure, soft-spoken baby-sister world where I was constantly overshadowed by Rachel’s fabulousity (and by her loudness), I saw a golden opportunity.
I could win at crying.
More accurately, I could win at not crying; whenever Sister cried, I would not. When our mother greeted us after school by announcing “its flu-shot day!” and Sister’s bottom lip began to tremble, I swallowed my own rising hysteria and acted disinterested in the prospect of a giant scary needle piercing my flesh. When Sister and I were both shipped off to Kanakuk (her with her two friends, me with my no friends), I bravely climbed the stairs of the Missouri-bound bus while Sister wailed uncontrollably and made promises to “be extra good if she could just stay home.” And when our gerbils endeavored to murder each other and almost succeeded (the bloodbath began when my rodent (coincidentally named Jezebel) tried to steal her rodent’s babies), Rachel bawled at the sight of the carnage while I remained the stoic one…the brave one…the WINNER.
Unfortunately for me, being a non-crier is not a very marketable skill in the universe of grown-ups. Nobody’s going to hire me or date me or ask me onto their TV show because I didn’t cry when Edward disappeared for 366 pages of the second Twilight book. That kind of achievement is productive absolutely not at all, and in fact means to some that I am dead inside (ahem, Kristina). Simply put, nobody cares about crying when you’re an adult. Somewhere along the maturation process crying stops meaning you’re a baby and starts meaning you’re emotionally available. And just in typing that last sentence, I realized something so traumatically demoralizing that I struggle now to articulate it; in the world of mature, human relationships, being a crier is often better than being a non-crier.
Sister. Wins. AGAIN.
So here I stand, a 24.9-year-old non-crier (who is dead inside and/or emotionally unavailable), having just lost the ultimate and final battle in my lifelong war with Sister. It is a dark and dismal day. So dark is it in fact, that I may retire early and dramatically bury my face in a pillow. But let there be no doubt; said pillow will remain dry.