Sunday, 10 July 2011

Happy being sad

After wiping the tear away from my cheek and turning the TV off, I’ve realised yet again that I’ve sat through another film that’s made me sad. Marley & Me – people have told me what a good film it is and how sad and I was actually relieved I got home in time today to be able to catch it on TV.

You find a film that looks like it will make you cry and I’ll be there, hear about a book that tugs at your heartstrings and I’ll have read it. A song about heartache which is perfect to sob your heart out to in a breakup, I’ve likely got it. I just love sad entertainment – particularly books and films.

What is it about said items that makes them appealing though? Why do we take pleasure in feeling upset? Does feeling down about something else make us feel better about ourselves and our own lives perhaps? Does it make us grateful for what we’ve got and those in the stories in front of us appear to be without?

Like anyone I obviously take pleasure in praise I get and all the positive feedback I’ve had on my blog is guaranteed to make me smile. However, yesterday when my Auntie shed a tear on reading my recently written short story it made me feel really proud. The fact I’d been able to produce something  that made someone feel so strongly and that it was sad too just made the praise all the more special.

Often people can’t understand this craze I’ve got for the depressingly low mood you can get in from reading people’s true stories. And my boyfriend has often commented I’m ‘sick’ for enjoying such literary pieces.

To give you an idea, a couple of my favourite reads and books I’ve read now on numerous occasions are Lucky by Alice Sebold and P.S. I Love You by Cecilia Ahern. The first is a true story about how the talented Sebold was raped at college, what ordeal she went through and the aftermath of this catastrophic and life changing event. The latter is fictional, but follows the life of Holly whose doting husband dies of cancer at a young age and who on his death leaves letters for her to receive each month in order to help her move on with her life and survive without him. Both as you can imagine are very moving and although each time I read them I get tears in my eyes I find I can’t put them down.

It’s become a bit of a joke amongst my family that if you go shopping for books it’s clear which ones I’ll pick. It’s got a depressing title, a sad image on the front, it’s based on a true story and someone’s awful struggle in life? Then that’s likely to be one for me.

Abused as a child, hit by a partner, involved in a major incident, scarred by an event – emotionally or physically, pulled in by some sort of sect, caring for people with learning difficulties, living with some sort of disorder. All these sorts of topics would appeal – whether in written or visual format.

I do like a happy ending though, you don’t want it all to be depressing, but it’s best if it is realistic – it can’t be too happy as that’s just for the movies and soaps, right?

It’s odd, I’m quite an emotional person on the one hand, but in other circumstances I can be very good at hiding my true feelings. I can remember at school I never cried about anything and then one day I broke up with this boy I was supposedly dating (I’d met him at work experience, he lived in East London, it was kind of a rebelling against my parents relationship) and I cried, I actually cried at school and everybody was so shocked. At work there was a bit of an incident which we won’t go into details about, but all my team praised me on what a positive and brave face I held throughout.

However, you get me reading an emotional book on my own or watching a film indoors without friends, family or boyfriend present and the tears will come rolling down my cheeks. I’ve seen Blood Brothers at the theatre at least three times now and every time I see it I get tears in my eyes, in fact at one viewing I had to bite my lip to stop me full on blubbering. I’ll admit it, the other night at a Take That concert I actually had proper tears when Robbie sang Angels. What on earth??

How can you appear so hard faced and in control on the one hand and then be so completely the opposite in the next instance? Are these sad books and films helping me get more in touch with my emotions perhaps? Is this my way of getting out all those pent up feelings?

I do find as well that as I’m getting older I’m crying a lot more too. I feel like I’m going backwards and becoming more child-like! I fell over at a festival recently and really hurt myself and I ended up getting back to the tent and crying (I was over tired at this point I will add) and I burst into tears when I managed to accidentally slip up in my flat last year. What is that all about?

Anyway, whether it’s good for me or not, for now I’m not giving up the sad stuff. I’m going to keep getting teary eyed at films where dogs die, long-term partners get torn apart and young children get kidnapped or murdered (I am referring to actual films here not sick ideas in my head I feel I should add!!) I shall pick up these books where life seems so hard and there seems to be no hope in sight and I’ll enjoy them all.

Hey, life is all about ups and downs, perhaps a few tears now and then are good for you? Even if it’s just to moisten your eyes, or help wipe off the makeup when you forget to do it! Crying is natural and in a way it’s good for you, it helps relieve all the pressure. Getting down, feeling sad and shedding a few tears are there to make the smiles even bigger and the good times seem that bit brighter.

1 comment:

  1. I watched Gran Torino for first time the other night and that was pretty special. Others I like = Wall E, Up etc

    As they say out here same same - I'm with you Mel, emotional roller coaster - sign of a touching story! (the best)