Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Girl Who Can't Cry

So it's not news to anyone who knows me that I was a proud member of the drama club in high school. Okay...that's saying it lightly.... I was an obsessed, full blown, drama queen.

From freshman year on, my high school existence revolved around drama class and after school plays. I took my parts very seriously, even my small projects for class. I could write a book about my love and obsession for theater and acting...but don't worry, I won't. This story is short, and it started a few weeks ago while I was cleaning off a shelf in my basement. I came across my high school yearbooks, which of course turned into hours of reminiscing, instead of cleaning. And there it was, an inscription in the back of my junior yearbook, by a fellow drama nerd:

"Goodbye....to the girl who can't cry."

It was true, I never cried. I never cried in real life, and I especially never could cry while acting. Not that I didn't try! As only a true drama queen would, I spent hours in my room listening to sad songs, reading monologues, and trying to connect with my emotions. And sure, I could cry alone in my room...but when faced with an audience....nothing. I faked it well enough, but there were no real tears. I even took a walkman (yes, I said walkman...I'm old) to school so that I could listen to Sarah Mclachlan's "I Will Remember You" before going on stage. At the time, I could think of no sadder song! And I even welled up a few times...but no real, dramatic, streaming tears!

Now years have passed and life has moved on from after school plays, lip syncs, monologues, and duets. But of course... I'm still a drama queen. So, the other night while home alone, I pulled out my old monologue books, and read aloud some of the scenes I had performed in high school. ....My dog thought I was amazing. Oscar worthy.

In the midst of my riveting performances, I came across a monologue that I had dog-eared back in high school as one I always wanted to do. It was from the movie "The Days of Wine and Roses." The monologue was by Kristie, an alcoholic, returning one last time to her husband, begging him to take her back, and seeking his forgiveness. The description read "She tearfully admits that she can never stop drinking completely." Well crap. That was out of the question! There would be no "tearfully" for me.

So 9 years later, sitting on my couch in my pj's, I read the monologue out loud. And without even a Sarah Mclachlan song playing in the background... tears began to flow. Easily, like clockwork! So, of course, testing my theory, I brushed away the tears, shook myself out of it, and started reading it again for a second time. Tears! Easy. Emotion. Easy!

Darn it, I thought. 9 years too late.

I guess at 17 I didn't quite understand what in life there was to cry about. I guess I had to live a little more, see a little more, understand a little more. I guess now I know that it's okay to cry sometimes.