On Being a Crier.

On a job about a month or so back, one of my PA brothers thought it was an extremely funny joke to tease me relentlessly and then ask me if I was going to cry.

Hardy har har.

This bothered me for about 1.25 hours, until I finally decided to accept the challenge and let my bad @ss work ethic and bomb @ss personality run circles around him for the following three days.  I think he may have even respected me by the end of it all.

But what’s with dudes thinking we ladies are going to show up for work and then cry?

A list of things I’ve learned never to do while on set:

1. Wear shorts.

2. Positively react when a cute baby actor does something cute and baby actor-y.

3. Acknowledge angry menstrual cramps especially if/when they’re making me moody and/or physically exhausted.

4. Bat my eyelashes too quickly while relaying important information.

5. Cry.

The truth about this 21st-century working girl:

1. Shorts rock.

2. Baby Fever is a real thing.

3. Periods are to be b*tched about.

4. CoverGirl mascara.

5. I’m definitely a crier.

 

The crying started when I was 14, while watching my first Sean Penn film.  I had never been moved to tears by a movie before; but his performance in I Am Sam made me sob so uncomfortably, that I spent the duration of the movie desperately trying to burrow into my giant La-Z-Boy seat to hide my puffy, red face from my girlfriends.  Whose idea was it to watch I Am Sam at a middle school slumber party, anyway?  (Whoever she is, she’s a toootal crier.)

Nowadays, it’s more than Sean Penn.  I cry when I’m happy.  I cry when I’m sad.  I cry when I look at pictures of my 4-month old fairy godson in the weird outfits his mother puts him in.  I cry when listening to Disney’s Tarzan soundtrack because it connects me with my childhood.  Last week, I cried at a particularly touching episode of Modern Family.

I used to cry every time I had any sort of confrontation; inevitably my face would burn red, my voice would climb in pitch, and I would have to excuse myself to the privacy of a bathroom stall to release the reservoir of pesky tears that had built up behind my eye sockets.  And believe you me: there was nothing I hated more than that last part.  I was a crier.  For much of my young adult life, standing up for myself was a chore because, newsflash: big girls don’t cry.

But here’s the thing: big girls do cry.  The big girls that have their sh*t together do, at least.

One of the greatest things I’m learning as a 20-something, 21st-century working girl is to separate and equally respect my emotions–to recognize the subtle, complex distinctions between them.  Sure, it boils my blood when a dude on the film crew challenges me for my being a female, but that kind of anger is hardly worthy of a cry.  Tears are reserved for times I remember I can’t just jump on a flight home to Detroit with a pocket of chocolate for my best friend because she’s having a bad day.  Tears are reserved for blunders of the heart and long-term goodbyes.

When you truly start to respect the difference between anger and sadness, you understand the cathartic power of a good, solid cry.  And when life hits you like a ton of bricks–which it absolutely will, time and time again–you let the experience wash over you, then excuse yourself to a quiet, solitary place, and cry until every last bit of it escapes.

You build yourself up a little stronger after a cry like that.

The [whole] truth behind this 20-something, 21st century working girl:

If I’ve learned anything from working with a bunch of dudes all the time, it’s that there’s very little that could happen on a film set that is going to make me cry.  Tears are reserved for the important stuff.  I will hardly be broken by someone’s skewed assumptions of my abilities or juvenile [though admittedly entertaining] prank wars.

That, and I should probably avoid the set of Modern Family.  Those family-themed morals get me every time.