Tears of Everything

I have leaky faucets. I also have a tendency to say things that sound unintentionally dirty, so just to clarify, I’m talking about my eyes. Get your mind out of the gutter.

It seems like tears are my body’s natural way of reacting to just about any strong emotion, including HGTV. See elaborate chart below.

Clearly, I am a deep and complicated individual. With killer Excel skillz.

Clearly, I am a deep and complicated individual. With killer Excel skillz.

Of course I get misty over the usual stuff - a soldier reuniting with his family, random acts of kindness, an abandoned baby porcupine getting adopted by a three-legged, surrogate goat mom. Don’t think I’m alone there.

But where it gets annoying is my inescapable waterworks around everything else. I’ve always been sappy, but since I’ve had kids, I’m a full-on tear factory. It’s not that I go around sobbing all the time, I just well up stupidly easy at unexpected, inopportune times. Like seeing my daughter make s'mores at Girl Scout camp or watching House Hunter’s International, the Arctic Circle Tiny House Identical Twins episode.

Here are a few more random things that can get me experiencing sudden and uncontrollable allergies, only in my eyeball region:

The part of Nemo when the mom gets eaten. An upset toddler on a plane. A capella singing. Two guinea pigs sharing a single piece of grass in slow motion. All-staff meetings where heartfelt words are spoken. Seeing someone else cry. Talking about crying. Remembering that time when someone cried. Putting a donation in the can. Highlights Magazine. Coaches being supportive when their teams lose. People crossing finish lines. 4th Grade xylophone and recorder concerts. Motivational speakers. New parents. My own 10th grade poetry. Sunrises. Sunsets. John Denver. Gift exchanges. The Muppets. Two or more glasses of wine combined with the right/wrong words out of my husband’s mouth. Budweiser Clydesdale ads. Horses, period. Touchdowns. Kindergartners. Friendship.

A have a friend at work who gets teary even more than I do. But when she does, she looks like an adorably sad Disney princess. Her big brown eyes well up and her eyelashes clump together and giant, heartfelt tears roll down her freckled cheeks and we all love her for it. It’s so damn cute, it’s irritating. (Hi Steph!)

This does not happen to me. Sure, my eyes well up, but then my nose turns red and blotchy, my lower lip quivers and my voice shifts into this shaky transgender version of myself. I don’t want to brag, but I may have inspired the term “Ugly Crying.”

As a result I’ve learned several ways to combat the Weeps, or at least hide them. Because a trembling lower lip and face blotches are not good for inspiring confidence at work or sexy times at home. Here are a few:

• Pretend you’re yawning

• Take frequent sips of water.

• Fake a coughing fit like you just inhaled the flavored powder from Fun Dipps.

• Look up and breathe in through your nose, while simultaneously thinking of Spongebob SquarePants. (Don’t know why this works, other than he annoys the crap out of me.)

• Adjust your real or fake contacts. Bonus points if you touch your eyeballs!

Or, if you’re cute like my friend Steph, just go with it. It’s endearing to see someone who so genuinely wears their heart on their sleeve. Even thinking about it makes me... hang on. There's something in my pretend contact.

It's "General Leia" to you.

The other day, my daughter and I were talking about the newest Star Wars movie, which I liked but can’t remember the name of. Sorry. Huge fan though, really.

Anyway, I mentioned Princess Leia.

Immediately, my 10-year-old corrected me with, “you mean General Leia.” (In the same tone I used with my own mom, circa 1986, when she asked me if I’d heard “Whitney Springsteen’s” new album.)

Okay, yes. I stood corrected. GENERAL Leia.

And then the awesomeness of that hit me like a truckload of Tina Fey/Amy Poehler/Jennifer Lawrence/Amy Schumer quotes.

Because it was nothing special to her. Nothing out of the ordinary. It was just a fact, like bruschetta is delicious, flip-flops are a poor choice around horses, and if she loses me in the grocery store, check the wine aisle first.

Lucky for me, she has always been a kind and generous boss.

Lucky for me, she has always been a kind and generous boss.

“Girl Power” isn’t a thing to her. She hasn’t grown up in the “anything boys can do, girls can do better” era, where it was even a question. In her 10-year-old world, #glrlboss is no different from #boyboss.

Of course women will be strong and powerful and driven and have the lead in the movie and fly the spaceship and speak their minds and bring home the bacon. Of course they will. And then hand that bacon right over to their spouse to cook cause they tend to burn the shit out of everything. (Hypothetically.)

Of course a woman can be a scientist or astronaut or stand-up comic or CEO or the effing President of the United States, while also being a wife and mother (or not, totally her choice) with a highly successful female empowerment/lifestyle blog on the side. No big.

My daughter doesn’t yet know all the battles that have been fought, or are currently being fought, or still lie ahead, to get to this place. 

She doesn’t know that just 30ish years ago, Carrie Fisher was mostly famous for cinnamon bun hair and a gold metal bikini that launched a trillion teenage wet dreams.

She doesn’t know that pay inequality is still a thing. That despite my relative success and happiness, I still struggle (as do most of my female friends) with being all the things I want to be and feel I should be, every day.

And she doesn’t know how inspiring and powerful it is for me to realize she is growing up in a new world, and I am part of making that world even better for her as a woman.

She just knows that Leia is a General.

That Rey is a badass with cool hair.

And that she can be or do anything thing she sets her mind to.

Because...of course she can.