On Crying

I don’t cry very often. I’m not one of those females who cries at the end of movies or commercials. I don’t cry when I’m happy. Sometimes, I laugh so hard that I cry from laughter, but that’s only because water needs to escape from my eyes. I think I got all of my crying done when I was an infant and nearly died from Meningitis. I’m told that I cried for months without stopping because bacteria was trying to eat my brain. I think it used up most of my allotted tears.

I have a lot to cry about, more than some anyway, but I don’t cry. Sometimes, I desperately need to cry and I can’t. When that happens, I watch Once Were Warriors. I keep a copy of that movie in case I need to cry. It always works. Every time I watch it, I think it won’t work this time, that my resistance has been worn down, that I’ve seen it too many times and it won’t work again, but then we get to that scene.

I won’t ruin it for you, but there’s a scene where the mother lets out a tremendous primeval wail that does it every single time. That scene is not acting. Rena Owen reached down deep into her soul and pulled that primordial howl from some experience inside of her. It’s true. It’s the truest thing I’ve ever seen in cinema. You just can’t fake a wail like that.

Once Were Warriors is my go to cry movie because it fires on all of my cylinders. There’s child abuse and an abusive relationship. It touches everything in me that I want to keep buried. If you’ve never seen it, you probably should, but bear in mind that it is not an easy film to watch, especially if you have a history like mine.

I didn’t watch Once Were Warriors last night. I wasn’t sad or in pain; I didn’t feel the need to cry. I haven’t even felt the inkling of the need to cry lately, but last night, I cried just the same. All of a sudden, the tears rolled down my face and they wouldn’t stop. It took me a while to even realize that they were there. I couldn’t figure out why they were there, but they just kept rolling.

I cried the sad, knowing tears that, fortunately, only some people can ever know. I didn’t sob or convulse; I just cried. The tears rolled. I didn’t feel better or worse for having done it. It just was.

Sometimes, you just need to cry. Sometimes, the pain and unfairness of it all gets to be too much, and the tears roll. Sometimes, it doesn’t even take Once Were Warriors for them to come and that’s the craziest part of all.