my assignment was on crying
I was thinking about crying for the project and the idea of crying on command, and just how little sense that made. To cry on command is to change the state of crying. It’s to give it a different meaning. Real crying, in my opinion, is release of emotion. And I suppose, you could learn a way (as actors do) to find what triggers you and use it to release emotion, to cry on command. So for my project I did many variations of ways to evoke emotion to experiment with what makes me cry. For the most part, nothing worked, and I have a theory that stress can clog your emotions up, leaving you with a feeling of apathy or melancholy, something I’ve been feeling since senior year of high-school, and even more here at college, and have been unable to feel a release, or unwind no matter what I do. I think having too much to do, and leaving no time for self reflection/introspection stops emotions from happening. So my experiments today were examples of that.
#1 Venting to Professionals-in this experiment I went to the counselor at the Wellness center to try and make some sort of emotion come out through talking about it. Yet I talked, and confessed, but I still could not cry. I’ve cried in front of therapists before, in front of Sylvia before even (the lady I was talking to). It has worked before. But I could not bring myself to tears. I think there is something about it being planned out, that emotional breakdowns have to be a little more spontaneous. Afterwards, I wrote about my thoughts on what happened as my documentation.
ex) documenting as written on paper (not photograph)
2- Kicking and Screaming-in this experiment I tried to evoke emotions by pure force- punching a cow carcass punching bag as hard as I could. It lasted 25 minutes before the skin off of my pinky knuckles ripped off and I gave up. But as I boxed with the black sack, I was pulsing with energy, not only from the excitement of the action, but I was encouraged by heavy metal music such as Down With the Sickness by Disturbed. This experiment gave me a certain energy to evoke emotion, but not sadness. A higher frequency emotion like anger and excitement. It filled me with adrenaline, but gave me no release
ex) documentation as artifact: skinned knuckles (but photographed for the purpose of preservation)
3- A Runaway on the Loose- in this experiment I decided to run until I cried while listening to music. I feel very strongly that running is an emotional action (really that all actions derive from emotions, but running being the main one) people with the strongest emotions usually end up in track. So I started from the punching bag at the gym and I ran down the road away from our school. I ran for a while, and I thought the whole time, couldn’t stop thinking, and planning, etc bla bla bla. I was listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers and I was thinking about the failure of something, and at that very moment, such an emotion filled line of words and sound of music came into my ears and it warped something in my stomach. It stirred my emotions to the point where I felt it and let out a yelp. I started to sob, but instead I just ran faster. The emotion went away, I felt empty. I ran all the way to the Maple Hill Company, turned left and went up the road on the hill, ran into a field, where my legs gave out. I failed to cry, or evoke any lasting or complete emotion.
ex) documentation: drawings
4- Me and My Moons Convorsation-this experiment was the opposite of the previous ones, instead of trying to push emotion out with rigorous activities, I remained calm and still to let the emotion come on its own time. I laid in the field in complete silence, except for the sparse dialog between Moon and I. I stared into the big blue sky, let it swallow me whole, cradle me, cover me like a blanket, comfort me like a mother who can let all the worries out of your chest for you. I waited, and invited tears but they never came. Although, I did feel alot better. I think, even though I took my time (about 30 mins) there was a rushed, urgent feeling lingering due to deadlines. Deadlines always linger in the back of my head, clogging up my emotions.
5-Shower Rains Wash Away Dirt Feelings-I couldn’t bring tears with relaxing, so I took a step further, maximal comfort of a shower. The feeling of warm water washing over your skin is almost a religious experience, and can often bring you to tears. Many times, after a really hard day, just being in a shower, being so perfectly comforted by the water led me to sobbing. It’s such a safe place, a substitute for love, can make you feel it and know that you don’t have the real thing, and make you cry even more. It’s just such a lovely feeling, it’s made me cry so many times before, yet not today. I think I still felt too rushed to feel anything
ex) documentation: video
6- Emphasis on Empathy-in this experiment, I tried to emphasize with others to bring out my tears. I asked a few people what made them cry. Then I tried to imagine it happening to me, and I still felt empty. Here are some responses:
Olivia-imagining my death and the reactions of my loved ones, the song Hurt by Nine Inch Nails, animals dying, being embarrassed by a teacher and receiving bad grades.
Anonymous-failure, isolation, depression, rejection
Annie-Stress, the movie The Fox and the Hound, and Inside Out, Ghosting by Mother, Mother, people yelling at me
Me-fidgeting/fussing/stress, when something isn’t working but I feel like I have to do it, mean people, feeling inadequate/pathetic, anxiety, deadlines, Wrist-cutters, sad friends
Dani-hurting others, extreme beauty, loving someone so much, stress/work, broken relationships
Zach-random acts of kindness, people persisting through hard times
Dad-Forrest Gump, hatred in the world, conflict, the violinists in the Titanic, memory of father
7-Artificial Tears-in this experiment I forced tears out with chopped onions, and by holding my eyelids open in the cold wind outside.
ex) documentation: artifact:onions/experience: invite others to go out into cold weathe
8-Music in my Spinal Chord-in this experiment I tried with listening to songs that make me cry. I listened to Regina Spektor and it worked!
ex) documentation: media:On the Radio
9-Rejection-this unintended experiment, I was supposed to meet a friend at a gallery today, and she forgot all about it. I was stood up/forgotten but this experience that usually leads people to crying, did not affect me
ex) documentation: spoken word-I’ll tell you what I felt
10-Thinking-thinking endlessly can lead me to crying. Back in my running experiment, it was a mixture of motion, music, and thoughts that stirred up emotion. Here, in my thinking experiment, I just sit in my room, quietly, and think. Try to slow down all the busyness, and just remember people who are gone, sad situations, happy ones. Things that are troubling me.
The stage, of life
a place where we’re
forced to feel
and expected not to
It doesn’t make sense to me to lie
I’d rather just obey the laws of time
And let the flow of emotion
pour over me like a storm
the one the earth has been waiting for
it’s not a question of time
what emanates from our souls has a cycle
if we respect
we will be treated kindly
I am not worried about not being able to cry on command, I think it’s a little unnatural to do so, and maybe even a little sociopathic. But from what I learned in my experiments, is that I really haven’t been able to cry lately. I don’t cry nearly as much as I’d like to. I think that crying is like being reborn, you’re just a little bit better every time after. And I want to feel more, again like I used to. I think I’m at a point in my life where the old stuff just won’t work anymore, you have to keep moving ahead. I truly believe that what I’m lacking in my ability to feel is vulnerability, and risks. I need to be more daring, allow more to happen, for life to be full and passionate and emotional. I want that. I feel like I’ve been asleep, in a dream for so long, it’s about time I wake up and show up to life.
I also believe that crying plays an integral role in our daily lives in relationships. Once you’ve cried with or to somebody, you are joined much closer together. One day I was walking home from school crying, and a boy Peter Gray was walking behind further back, but knew what I was up to. I felt from that day on, even though we barely knew each other, that we would be bonded in that way forever. I feel that my closest bonds with friends are the ones I’ve cried in front of.
More of my cries: