For as long as I remember, I’ve always been a huge crybaby. As a kid, I used to cry watching Disney movies. There was always that one scene! From particularly tear-jerking scenes, such as when Dumbo snout-hugged his mom outside her prison carriage, to Little Foot telling his mom to get up when she was dying after an earthquake.
But it wasn’t only the sad parts that triggered me to cry, the happy parts had the same effect on me as well. I’ve watching Homeward Bound a thousand times growing up, and without fail, I would always cry when the pets were reunited with their families at the end.
It’s always been embarrassing and of course I got laughed at, but at the back of my mind, I thought I’d eventually grow out of it.
Fast forward to a few years ago, when I became a full-on adult and well into University, I still found myself grabbing those tissues at every single animated movie out there. I thought that it was because the movies must have gotten more touching over the years, with better cinematic and music.
Recently though, I’ve been feeling particularly nostalgic and decided to re-watch those old childhood classics. I wasn’t going to cry this time. I’m far too old for that. But to my surprise (and I really didn’t see this coming), not only did I cry at the same scenes as I used to, but even at other more subtle scenes that I was too young to pick up on as a kid. Imagine, me at 27, crying over a 1990’s movie made for kids. Watching these movies now made me realize that they’re actually a lot more relatable as an adult. A child could not possibly fully understand.
I’m actually quite amazed that I’m more easily triggered the older I get. Sad tears, happy tears, gratitude tears, fear tears, I’ve got it all. I would have thought that through life experiences, and having seen enough, I would’ve learned how to better suppress my emotions. Yet life has taught me how to see more of myself in someone else’s place, and how to feel stronger empathy, even for a fictional cartoon character, even for a complete stranger. I’m starting to see it not as my weakness, but as one of my strengths, because my heart must be doing something right to make me want to care.