One of the most annoying things about going through a breakup has to be the come-out-of-nowhere, totally inconvenient crying jags. As a single mom, I don’t get a lot of time by myself . Let’s face it, I barely get enough time by myself to use the bathroom, let alone cry. It’s a luxury I cannot afford. So I often find myself alone only in the car during my hellish hour-long commute (both ways). While NPR is usually what I listen to, sometimes I get sick of listening to the debt ceiling, Afghanistan, Wall Street and how the world is generally fucked conversation and just want to listen to music. Normally, this is a fine and sensible proposition, as listening to too much NPR can turn you into an insufferable, depressed and cynical human being that can only talk about organic yurts or Afro-Cuban music. But when one’s heart is banged up, bruised or even partially broken and held together by duct tape, pop radio is fraught with landmines.
There you are, minding your own business, just driving along bumper-to-bumper, trying your best not to be nosy and check out what everyone else is doing in their car when it hits you out of nowhere. A song comes on the radio, about love, or loss or even about nothing but it reminds you of that person because you heard it once coming out of a restaurant when you walked by it last year. Then the tears come, slowly at first. Just a few fat shimmering ones that get caught in the folds on the side of your nose and tickle like hell followed by a couple more at a steady clip. And now you are praying that nobody besides you notices because you have to drive next to these people for the next 20 minutes and damn – there go your Banana Republic slacks fresh from the dry cleaners, (which took you two months to pick up) all wet with tears. With the proverbial floodgates opened, the tears are now streaming and you are fumbling to change the station and grope around for tissues or old and hopefully only slightly-used McDonald’s napkins all while trying to steer and work the brake so you don’t rear-end the person in front of you.
You tried your hardest to avoid this. You didn’t put on the oldies station, or the Top-40 station that’s been the soundtrack to your relationship. God forbid you put in your iPod and put it on shuffle. No telling what THAT would turn up. You listen to a station that’s as inoffensive as possible, one that maybe you haven’t listened to in a while and used to enjoy. You don’t think that you’ll hear anything that will trigger the tears. The truth is you can turn that radio to any station and I guarantee you will hear something that will make you cry. You will hear some song where just a phrase, or part of a chorus or even the way the artist is singing will turn you into a sad, hot mess. You will find yourself connecting to the most ridiculous shit, nodding your head to bullshit like this because it SO captures exactly how you’re feeling!
My advice, if you care to take it is this – don’t put on a country station and just give in. Cry your little eyes out for the entire song. Soak yourself in it and roll around in it and just feel it. Indulge the inner teenage girl within. Let yourself think that this song was written just for you. And when it’s over, wipe the tears away and laugh at how ridiculous you are. You, capable woman that juggles a million things at all times was reduced to weepiness by a trite and quite stupid love song. And remind yourself that you are not Wonder Woman, at least not all the time. Nor do you have to be. And if you’re crying that means your heart still works and just like any other muscle, the more you flex it and use it, the stronger it will be the next time.