It becomes easier and easier to compartmentalize our emotions the older we get. The joke that kids will someday learn to cry on the inside instead of out loud might register as funny and relatable for a second, but then it hits home a little too much.
I am not much of a crier myself anyways. I have managed to separate my emotions and hide them well. I'm not sure how I've done this, but non-stop education since pre-school might have something to do with it…
Anyways, time away from school and the classrooms is when we're supposed to really express our emotions. Not to mention work, in which the example of smiling through a day even if your dog has just died has become common advice, apparently?
But, how are we as students, or humans in general, supposed to balance all of these pent-up emotions? Movies and music are the biggest formats in my life.
I'll come right out and say it: Sometimes I will watch sad movies or sing along to heart-breaking music, just to feel the emotions that come with them.
One instinctive reaction might be: wow, that's sad in itself.
And, maybe you're not wrong in thinking that. But at least for my personality and current stage in life, it's a kind of necessity. It's almost a way to regulate your emotions.
I'd rather not cry every time I get mad anymore, and this will potentially help that.
I don't think I'm unique in saying these things. I mean, there has got to be some kind of universal truth to this. Why else are romantic/sappy/sad movies commonly referred to as "chick flicks?" As a whole, women are assumed to be more in touch with our emotions. I am not sure whether or not that's true, but I personally would rather watch something that would make me cry, instead of some movie with a bunch of explosions…
I think the separating of emotions has gotten to the point where movies are made based on it. If you want to get a thrill, there's a movie for that. If you want to cry, here's Nicholas Sparks. And on and on it goes.
Music is similar, if not more outwardly obvious. Spotify has so many playlists, that they generate as well as user-made, with titles for every occasion.
Do you want to wallow in your sadness? Check out their amazing selection of break-up playlists.
Of course, break-ups and relationships aren't the reason for everything. My motivations aren't to relive a harsh situation. I don't even think they are to experience a new one either.
I genuinely feel that giving in to emotions you don't normally experience is so therapeutic and helpful. It's important to experience sadness, anger, loss, and so much more, and media can help you do that without the permanent aspect of it.
I appreciate emotions more than before. Before, I just took them as they came, not really caring why I felt them or what they meant. But, seeking them out in this way lets me appreciate them and experience them without having to be completely vulnerable to outside forces that I can't change.
Part of my reasons might fall onto the fact that I'm a writer. But really, becoming an adult makes everything so much more meta and introspective.
I don't know if I can really explain why I like certain movies. That I know I will cry at the end, but still choose them over and over again. Or that I listen to Adele and Sam Smith on repeat for fun….
This may all be boiled down to a theory of being emotionally stunted, but deep down, I don't think that's what it is. I choose to see it as an outlet for myself.
A way to let loose and let in things I don't normally. A way to make sense of my learning to cry on the inside instead.