Free-flowing thoughts about crying at movies.

You may have noticed I didn’t write anything today.  That’s because Michaelyn and I took the day to go on a date which included seeing the Lego Movie.

So…I cry at movies.  Always have.  And not the movies you’re supposed to cry at (because we all cried at the end of Despicable Me 2, don’t fucking lie).  No, I cry at the end of movies like the Lego Movie.  I could be surrounded by a bunch of five year-olds smiling from ear to ear and I’ll be sitting there choking up.  I used to be really embarrassed by this, like it meant I had less fortitude than a five year-old.  But now that I’m older and wiser…I’m still really embarrassed by this.

But at least now I see some of the utility in it.  For one, it gives Michaelyn a chance to flirt by giving me shit whenever we see a movie together.  For another, I’ve gotten to think about why I cry at movies and concluded it’s because I really empathize with the plight of the characters.  I’ve always put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed and never really felt like I have no matter what things I was doing.  Maybe that’s part of my depression or maybe it’s just me…or maybe both.  But when I see characters on screen who are insecure and want to succeed or want to feel loved, it just kicks me right in the eyes – specifically the part of my eyes that produces tears.

And then I cry most when the characters in the movie get whatever success meant to them.

The other utility is that the same empathy that turns me into a simpering mess at the end of movies is, in my opinion, one of the better things about me.  It’s why a young girl giving up on her dream of making an atheist club bothers me as much as it does.  It’s why I have a real problem sitting idle when those around me are mean to others when there’s no reason.  And when I look at it like that, then it’s not so bad.

To an extent the pressure that I’ve always put on myself to succeed (and the constant feelings of shame since anything but perfect success meant disappointing those around me in my mind) is what has motivated me to do, well, everything I’ve done.  I suspect we atheists are like that sometimes – we’re so desperate to be perfect because we live in a world full of religious people, many of whom sneer at us no matter how good we are.  I don’t really have an answer for what to do about that, but I think it would be best if we all realized that “success” isn’t something real, at least not in the way a lot of us look at it.  We’ll never be perfectly good, but we’ll also never be perfectly bad.  We’ll all just be people who rock at being adults sometimes and who fail at being adults sometimes.  But we don’t need to be redeemed for our imperfections by believing in ancient stories – we don’t need it because we don’t need to be redeemed.  This is just what we are.

But the cool thing is that the desire to be better connects us all, as does our inability to be as “better” as we want.  It helps us to understand one another.  So I cry at movies – I know how it feels to be human, and that’s pretty cool.  It helps me when I’m on stage speaking somewhere to relate to all the other humans – even if they get to laugh at me for tearing up.  I can live with that if it brings me as close to anybody else as when my fiancee does it.  :P

Anyway, my blog has always been my outlet to write whatever was on my mind however disjointed.  In college this was how I sorted out my thoughts.  I haven’t used my blog for this type of free-flowing type of writing my thoughts in a while.  It feels ok to be doing it again.  :)

Alright, I’m full enough of popcorn to burst, so I’m going to go be lethargic with the gal who laughs at me for crying at movies.  :) Oh! And go see the Lego Movie, it was really good!

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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