I’m not the kind of person who cries in movies. I had some friends that used to tease me and say I had a heart of stone. I don’t know what it is that makes some people the sort who cry in movies and others the kind that don’t but I know I’m the kind that doesn’t. I’m also not a person who likes a lot of attention when I get hurt.
I remember when I was in Elementary school watching people gather around someone who had fallen and gotten hurt. They were all watching that person cry and asking if they were okay. I looked over from where I was and thought, “I’m not going over there because if that were me I sure wouldn’t want everyone making a fuss”. Later the person who had been injured expressed their displeasure with my decision to not participate in the fuss. I said sorry and explained my point of view and our friendship was able to continue.
In an effort to avoid incidences of people crowding around me, to see if I was okay I became quite good at pretending all was well when I incurred injury. In high school I fell backward from the top of a set of bleachers that had been pushed in. My crash down to the gym floor produced quite a loud noise. Of course everyone turned to see what had happened. I quickly rebounded back onto my feet and proclaimed, “I’m alright, I’m okay” and then ran to join the game I was to participate in. As the game started and I began running I could no longer hide my discomfort. The pain became so intense I started to have a hard time breathing. I went to the edge of the gym and had to sit the rest of the class out. Turns out I had broken my tailbone, but at least I was able to avoid the dreaded doting crowd asking if I was alright, right? I’ve even managed to stifle the pain of breaking my toe while enjoying an evening surrounded by family. Later as I talked about “the time I broke my toe while doing that silly impersonation”, my family had no idea what I was talking about because they weren’t aware I had even hurt myself. Why do I share these stories? To give you an idea of the contrast between how I was and am and how I became after the shooting.
After the shooting crying became an everyday event. Sometimes it became an hourly event. I would feel like I had it all together. The sun was shining, I felt positive, so positive that I would even put mascara on and then, WHAM, out of nowhere the water works would come. It really didn’t take much to bring it on. Once it was a video game with a gun in it another time it was fireworks. I went to the DreamWorks movie, Prince of Egypt about three days after the shooting and cried almost the whole time. I think it started after one of the characters sang a song about loving his brother. I would cry if the weather was the same as the day of the shooting, I would cry when I heard of other school shootings. When I couldn’t focus on my homework or when I just couldn’t keep the thoughts and feelings I had about witnessing the shooting out of my mind, you guessed it, I would cry. I got used to crying in all sorts of places and in front of anyone who happened to be around. I remember going to our school library to lay on the couch and have a cry then nap. I cried in my bed and I cried when I was on walks, I cried when I was driving and I cried when I was listening to music. Cry, cry, cry and cry, that’s what I did and I didn’t care who saw. Putting my pride aside, I will admit, it still makes me cry sometimes. Not often and not as easily as it once did but still sometimes I cry about it.