It can be really embarrassing when something sets you crying in public. One minute you are feeling fine, the next the tears are overflowing. What gets us is so personal.
I found myself in tears at the overture of The Mikado by Gilbert and Sullivan. Luckily it was dark. My husband had bought the tickets because he knew I used to go to these comic operas with my father. We had seats high up in the theatre and the stage seemed far away and I was sitting forward expectantly. I don’t consider myself a musical person, in fact it can often irritate me, but I found myself engulfed when the orchestra played the first notes. It came as a complete surprise. It wasn’t that I was remembering a particular event, or my father but just somewhere in my being there was this familiar sound which I hadn’t heard for ages. It seemed to be connected to childhood and safety and a time when I hadn’t had to face the traumas of adult life. I survived and loved the show. It’s a curious thing about music for me. I’ve spent years saying I don’t like it but it really does trigger reactions.
Sometimes something which is so beautiful you can’t believe it can have a similar effect. These can vary from a spectacularly colorful sunset or dawn or the colors and structures of flowers which really hit me emotionally and I can just gaze at them for ages.
For many years I refused to cry about anything, but when I was released from this I took comfort in the fact that being able to cry meant I was at least acknowledging what I was feeling. So if someone says something kind when I am feeling down that can set me off as well.
One of the most frustrating things about crying is when it is about frustration. Just when you are in the middle of a strong discussion with someone, could be family, could be an official and you cannot make your point understood it is so embarrassing to find yourself bursting into tears. It feels as though your emotional reaction has sabotaged your apparent strength. It’s very hard to take the high ground after that even if you are in the right! Sometimes though it helps you to win the argument because the opponent is so shocked at your response.
Crying can be triggered by just having all the family together and watching them interact. You know who is going to get huffy and have a strop and who is going to sit back and who is going to stir things up. The sheer familiarity of it is wonderful and emotionally charged.