For some reason unknown to me at this time when I hear a poignant story or I see something that tugs on the emotions, tears come to my eyes, my chest tightens slightly, and my throat develops a lump.
I am not unhappy this happens. Feeling emotions are very special moments. Someone else might cry when they are physically hurt. I have not. I cannot say about the future hurts, but the breaks, sprains, migraines, or back problems have not brought the tears. Tears come rolling forth at moments when love is exquisitely expressed or demonstrated. Tears are the rare jewels of my soul seeping out unbidden.
As an explanation, I grew up in a family where tears were not tolerated for physical illness or pain. “If you are going to cry, go to your room,” were the words I heard. Other words were, “We don’t have time for this. Get on with it.” or “That did not hurt that much.” So, each of us learned to “suck it up” and get the job done. The words “I love you.” or “I am proud of you.” were not heard in the 18 years I lived at home.
Please do not take these words as condemnation or even negative thoughts about my childhood. These are just facts of what daily life was. I did not grow up in an abusive or bad environment. Each of the brothers have said, “I know I can handle any situation that comes my way. It was a tough way to grow up, but it prepared me to succeed in life.” We were poor and we did a lot of things other kids did not. We dug the ditch from the well to beneath the kitchen to bring water inside. We lived in a suburb of Milwaukee, WI and had outside plumbing. I held my young brother’s feet and lowered him down into the well casing while he was holding the pipe elbow in place so that my other brother screwed a second pipe into that pipe elbow. There was only the thought this was something we had to figure out how to do. Yes, I was careful. Yes, to this day he still teases me about that day 50 years ago. We dug and filled in several outhouse pits and moved the outhouse to the new location. I had to fill one hole in on Friday after school before I could go on a date. I chuckle remembering the incident.
I project from this childhood that nourishment in the form love demonstrated and poignant moments are especially endearing. Thus, the tears flow. So, I enjoy the rough and tumble of boxing, football, rugby as well as “chick flicks.”