"I am a weak and sinful man, but God put His hands on me, that is all." ~Alan Paton, "Cry the Beloved Country"
Get a marching band. There’s something about a marching band that gets me every time. If the marching band is for something I did, I lose it even more. For example, during college convocation, the marching band came down the aisles of the auditorium, and all I could think was, “This is what it’s like to be successful! You did it!” Of course, all my freshman friends got to see how emotional I was on the very first day. (If you’ve seen “The Other Sister,” they put that marching band at the end for people like me.)
Tell me you’re going to take blood. I’m hemophobic, and taking blood is even worse if you tell me you’re going to do it before you actually do it. I’ll spend the moments leading up to it convincing myself it’s much worse than it really is and eventually break down into a hysterical sobbing mess. Either that, or I’ll pass out. Unrelated to blood, I also have recurring nightmares that the doctor is trying to give me a vaccination in my brain. You’d think that would make me scream, but my dream self just pouts in the corner.
Do something sweet/adorable and unexpected. I’m a sucker for things involving children and the elderly. Did you just help an old woman cross the street? Are you giving up your weekends to take care of your ailing grandfather? I love you, and I’m going to show you with some tears. Other things I’ve cried for in this category: my mom being at the finish line of my first marathon, my 11-year-old mentee telling me she loved me in front of a room of people, donating my LoveSac (remember those?) to a boy with muscular dystrophy.
Have a disability. I don’t cry for everyone with a disability, just the people who are overcoming some sort of obstacle because I am so unbelievably inspired. (Drunk, homeless, disabled people begging for my money rarely get my tears.) I volunteered at the Special Olympics once, and I was such blubbering fool, I could barely pass out the awards. I also cry when I watch video montages of children sharing their hopes and dreams and all the children have a disability. At this point, you might be thinking, “How many of those could possibly exist?” and the answer is lots. And I’ve seen them all.
Make me stand-up for myself in a confrontational way. I practice confronting people in my sleep because if I don’t, I’ll completely fall apart; I run through the lines I want to say to them, and they always sound really, really good in my head. When it comes time to bring it up, I feel so powerful, that my words are suddenly drowning in sobs, and I have to take huge breaths to calm myself down. I usually fan my face and say, “I’m so sorry. I wasn’t expecting this to happen,” and they are genuinely astonished.
Die. I don’t even care who you are; if you die, I will cry. I am not brave with death. I start thinking about all the people who will be lost without you, and I weep for them. I weep for all the things you left unfinished or all the things you didn’t get to see. Were you a mother? If you didn’t see your daughter’s prom, you can guarantee I bawled for an hour alone in my room. I also cry for pets; “Marley and Me” was the saddest movie I have ever seen.
Be really, really mean and/or hurt me. Duh. Something along the lines of, “You are going to be the world’s worst teacher!” followed by a chainsaw through my femur might do the trick.
-Heidi Schatz doesn’t know how she became so emo.