I am a crier. I tear up at the drop of a hat. On Saturday, I realized I had teared up and/or cried on 3 separate occasions within four hours.
This used to cause me shame and embarrassment. I tried to shake off my emotional ways, feeling that it made me weak. Now, I count it among one of my blessings. It helps to offer empathy, and to be able to possibly carry even the tiniest bit of someone else's burden or to multiply their joy. I feel that it makes me incredibly human and allows me to search for connections with people and to really appreciate both the peaks and valleys of life.
So what were my three tear-worthy moments?
1) Volunteering at the St. Francis Center in DTLA - when able to, I like to join the Order of Malta and feed the homeless. Besides the part where I have to wake up at an early hour on a weekend, I really enjoy the work and especially like having the opportunity to really connect and speak to people that exist outside of my bubble. The focus is on serving our guests, and when the line winds down, we sit and eat breakfast with them. Normally, I do fine but as I was putting a plate in front of a man, a wave of emotion washed over me. It feels so unfair that I won some kind of genetic lottery and that I have a stable life, full of abundance and opportunity. Less than 10% of our guests are women, and less than 10% are white - the room is primarily made up of Black and Latino men. Even though this is something I think about regularly, as I was listening to man talk about fighting in the Vietnam War and having to end his career early over injuries, live in his van, and struggle for decades - I was overcome with sadness and guilt. I have done little to earn the life I have, and moments like these strengthen my desire to use my privilege as a tool to advocate for others who are treated unjustly. He was such a happy person, and spent his free time volunteering when possible and was as friendly and positive as can be. I admire his spirit, and hope to emulate it.
2) Watching The West Wing on the elliptical at the gym. I always look like a crazy person at the gym: I'm either cracking up at a podcast or trying to read my kindle while barely getting enough air to my lungs (and the sweat making my glasses steam up or slip off my face), or I'm that asshole that brings her iPad to the gym to watch Netflix. Honestly, this show gets me teary on the regular (I'm watching it for the first time in a wonderful binge at the moment) and there was an especially powerful scene where a character was talking about how proud he was about his relationship with community and how he wanted to use his platform to fix institutionalized racism aaaaaand the tears, they came.
3) Listening to the Modern Love podcast in the sauna. Yes, bringing in my iPhone to the sauna is stupid and dangerous but I just can't get me enough podcasts, y'all. I cry nearly every week because the stories are powerful and I turn to mush easily. Colin Farrell read a story about a quadriplegic man finding love that he felt he didn't deserve and to hear him speak about his wife was just beautiful. I laid on the wooden slats in that hot, hot room with tears streaming down my cheeks - emotionally and physically naked.