As a small child with an overactive mind, I would sometimes lie awake and imagine otherwise fit and healthy family members in various stages of illness or death. It wasn’t particularly intentional, odd perhaps, but I’ve just put it down to needing a good cry and it being a better alternative to putting Vicks or a Jalapeno in my eye.
Looking back, the level of detail I explored in order to squeeze out a few tears is quite alarming; I could never have been a child actor. Crying on cue? Sorry, I’ll be a while. I have to come up with an elaborate story involving a sick parent, the smell of pine and their Bob Dylan record collection.
I find myself questioning if other family members have ever used me to conjure tears. Did I have a terminal illness? What are they coveting in my cupboard? Did they put in a good enough performance? I hope there was decent weeping.
I learned to cry properly following a broken heart but it turns out that had nothing on sick kids. These days I can cry on cue and all I had to do was live a fuller life. Thanks to children I can blubber when I least expect it; prep orientation (you’re growing up too fast tears), shopping centre car parks (you’re growing up too slow tears) and anything that involves a sick child that is not even necessarily related to me.
Christmas is a notable trigger. My eldest was born at the end of November and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas became his designated lullaby. I can no longer sing it without getting emotional. The same goes for Edelweiss, Close To You and Belinda Carlisle’s Summer Rain. If I say the following movie line Champ? Champ, wake up! Wake up! instant lump in my throat.
According to various acting tips, music and ‘backdoor’ memories are commonly used to evoke tears. Maybe it’s time I rethought an acting career?