If you know how to cry, you can get rich. Me and my elder sister thought so after seeing a child actress on TV getting famous and rich for shedding fake bucket of tears easily. That night, while lying on our beds in a shared room, we practiced crying. Sister said, “think of unhappy thoughts.” After several attempts, she had tears, I had dry eyes. And that's when I knew, I wasn't born to be a star, I can't cry.
Maybe, at 7 years old, I really can't think of horrible situations to make me cry. Or maybe as a child, I never cried. I didn't cry when my parents failed to pick me up from school and I was left alone in the hallway when I was 5. I didn't cry when I got lost in a supermarket. Nor sob when an angry cat bit my ankles furiously. Even when schoolmates teased me for my dream to be a model, I didn’t cry. No tears even if I didn’t get my favorite toy. I got scolded for not listening and was called dumb, yet, I didn't cry.
Ironically, I cried during teenage years. I cried when mother tore off the clothes that I was wearing so I can't go to a big birthday party all high school students were anticipating. When my parents and grandmothers were all shouting and fighting and they could not be stopped, I screamed then wept. When my elder sister pulled my hair and almost made my head bang on the sink, I cried. In college, when a big pro-administration organization literally thrashed the materials my classmates toiled for an exhibit that was getting popular in our school, and then realized as the president, I need to fight these goody-two-shoes bullies, I sobbed. In a confrontation with classmates, who got defeated in the elections and were planning to oust me even though I just got elected, I cried. When my parents asked if I got the editorial position I wanted in our school paper and told them I didn't because the adviser favored someone else with less talent but more charm, I cried.
In these instances, I cried because I was angry, sad, frustrated. I don't want just this kind of tears. If crying can't make me rich just like the young actress, I'd rather not cry. I want tears that really make me feel better. Crying that doesn’t only release bitterness but also happiness. I want to cry when I'm happy, or cry when I'm happy though the situation looks unhappy. How's that? That time, I didn't know yet.
Until I met someone who really made me cry, P_. Because he courted and chased me impressively, when I agreed to be his girlfriend, I thought I'd never cry for someone who wanted to please me badly. Besides, I vowed not to cry for a guy. Before I met him, I had a boyfriend and I didn’t shed tears even during lover’s quarrels. But on the first week of my relationship with P_, we fought and he said we could just split. For the first time, I cried because of a guy. For the first time, I didn’t know why I cried. Hurt ego? I can’t accept the fact that I was being dumped when I thought he’s so into me. Out of pride, I retorted, “sure why not? You chased me, I didn't, so it's your loss.” But inside, I wanted us to last. I wanted to slap myself for saying my piece with tears flowing on my cheeks.
More bickering followed. I can't remember the details because I automatically self-delete bad memories. What I’m sure is that, in all those fights, in all those years, I cried. One day, I got tired crying. My best friend, who returned home from abroad for a short vacation, just listened. I apologized for being a drama queen and not making her laugh. She let out a few sighs, a deep breath, then said, "you cry now because you learned to love."
Really? Did I cry because I want to be loved more? That’s pride. Or was it because I still love the man who made me cry? Maybe this is crying when you're happily unhappy. That’s crazy. I was hurt by our fights, but in my heart, I’ll be happy to stay in love. Crazy love.
I got crazier with my friend’s explanation, but I couldn’t deny it. When I learned to love without counting how much love I get in return, I cried. When I got more love than I wanted, I cried. When it was time to say goodbye to my not-so-perfect family and embrace a new strange world to me, I cried. I just cannot stop crying the moment I tied the knot with the man who first made me really cry.
Now, I see tears welling up on my eyes over scenes from movies or books. Or when I pray for someone I don’t personally know but feel his or her burden. And cry when hubby makes me feel so loved. I cry over situations I never thought I'd end up crying. And I don't mind now. I like these tears better, they are my so-called “happy tears.” They just flow easily, but they remind me I feel what it means to truly love and be loved.
Unhappy thoughts make you cry, but happy thoughts can sometimes make you cry even more, I now tell my sister. This crying doesn’t make me any richer like the actress. But it gave me a sense of power. Hubby told me that when I cry, his heart just melts though I hurt him too. He warned me not to use it constantly or it will lose its power. I won’t risk that, it makes me feel like a rich queen of a king who first taught me to really cry and still makes me cry.