Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Big girls do cry

As I have confessed to more than once in this blog, I am a closet sap. Also, I may not look it, but (like Jun Lozada) I am a crier. I cry watching movies (like this and this and this), I cry watching sports events (especially Ateneo games), I cry over old journal entries, I cry reading letters from my students, I cried (or at least wanted to cry) when I received my teacher evaluation, I cried at my students' graduation, I cried when I left my sister in Beijing, I cried when my grandmother passed away, I cried reading the last Harry Potter book. I try not to do it in public though, so usually my sniffling is confined to the safety of dark cinemas and the privacy of our home. I'm pretty good at keeping the floodgates closed, but it doesn't mean I don't well up easily.

And where my students are involved, I well up ridiculously easily. Of course the tears I've shed-- or tried not to shed-- are of different kinds: tears of joy, tears of pride, tears of sympathy, tears of disappointment, tears of anger, and in one very ugly instance, tears of betrayal. But the sad tears are the ones I'm good at controlling. The happy ones are harder to contain. When I was still at ICA, it was always a challenge to maintain my composure seeing my kids shine as they performed on stage, or received awards, or simply showed signs of improvement in their academics or personal development. For all of Ms. Lim's dignified demeanor, I was a big old marshmallow inside.

Apparently, I'm still a marshmallow, because last Saturday when I went to watch my student Karen Ramos in a Tanghalang Ateneo production of Shakespeare's Measure for Measure (translated into the Filipino Hakbang sa Hakbang), I felt a lump forming in my throat when Karen came out to take her bows during the curtain call. The only thing that prevented me from turning on the waterworks was the presence of 3 of my college friends sitting beside me, 2 of whom would never let me live it down if they saw me crying. :p

I suppose you could say it doesn't take much to make me cry. But that would be inaccurate, seeing as how the things that do move me to tears (movies and books aside) mean so much to me: my family, my friends, my students. So despite the risk to my reputation, I readily own up to being a tough cookie that crumbles from time to time, if only because doing so is tantamount to acknowledging the staggering measure of love I have in my life.

Someone pass me the Kleenex.


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