Those of you who know me well know that I do not cry often. People have tried to dissect me for that trait (or lack thereof), but you cannot diagnose or try to fix someone who doesn’t cry. I didn’t cry when I saw The Notebook. I didn’t cry when I graduated high school or college. I didn’t cry when I couldn’t–for the life of me–find a date to my senior prom. My sister finally threatened my friend into going, if you’re wondering. It’s not that I don’t have emotions or feel sympathetic toward situations. Many would argue the opposite… that I have experienced so much first-hand in my short life that I adapted to empathic ways early on. I really FEEL how people feel and I really connect with them. I just don’t cry often. That being said…
When the last episode of The O.C. aired, I was an emotional mess. I was alone in my room during my junior year of high school. I watched as my three and a half years of entertainment, support, and enchantment was pieced together and delicately tied up. Josh Schwartz had graced my television weekly with these colorful characters who–just like a favorite book–took me away to another place throughout the ups and downs of my teenage years. Alexandra Patsavas had taken every emotion I could ever feel or imagine and conveyed it through particular placement of the most incredible songs throughout the series, and given me more hopes and dreams in the music industry.
I watched as Ryan got over his first true love and let himself feel again. I watched as Seth and Summer realized their dreams individually before plunging into their lives as a unit. I watched as Sandy and Kirsten discovered they never really could give up parenting, as Julie became less of a *ahem* harlot, and everyone lived happily ever after.
And I was sobbing.
I felt empathy and identification to the situations. I felt like I was a part of their world and, in turn, like every decision they made reflected somehow on myself. But, now more than ever, I realize that my complete breakdown on that night (really, my family was stunned and at a loss for words) is a direct result of how empathic I am. And, perhaps because it was in the confines of my own home, I allowed myself that solid, four hour breakdown. No, that is not an exaggeration.
There has been a lot of death in my life. I have witnessed a lot of heartbreak and felt a lot of heartbreak (particularly from friends). I invest my whole self into friendships and relationships of all kinds because if you don’t allow yourself to invest like that, you don’t allow yourself to feel. I have been disappointed and dragged around emotionally. I have been manipulated, taken advantage of, and just flat out hurt. But because of that, I feel that pang in my chest when I realize someone else is going through a tough time. I feel elated with good news, and I feel deflated with sorrow. Even if I don’t show it around everyone, I can feel it. And when I tell you I understand or offer help or a shoulder to cry on, I am not just doing it because it’s the right thing to do. I am doing it because I know. I can identify, I can relate, and I want you to come to me when you’re ready.
“And that’s the thing about people who mean everything they say. They think everyone else does too.” – K. Hosseini