Time was that I thought I didn't know how to cry. It wasn't that I considered myself especially tough, and I've certainly never been a man's man...it's just that years passed and there we no tears. It's as if I had forgotten how. Which is a little ironic, given that as a child, I could barely stop crying.
It seems that I now cry at the drop of a hat. Seriously, any old shit on the television and I'm misting up like a champion. Heart-wrenching news stories are a given, but how about a little duckling in peril on Springwatch? Sure, why not?
I was watching a documentary on the All Black rugby team the other day: Beneath the Black. There's a segment in it where legendary All Black captain, Sean Fitzpatrick goes to visit the grave of the first All Black captain in a Flanders cemetery, where he was buried after sacrificing his life in the First World War. It's clearly a big moment for Fitzpatrick, meeting one of his predecessors, but as he approaches the grave, we can see that someone has left a rugby ball there. Fitzpatrick picks it up, and we can see what is written on it: "New Zealand remembers". I was moved, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.
What I do find slightly strange, however, is the fact that I found myself relaying this story to my osteopath and found myself choking up all over again, with the emotion clearly audible in my voice.
This seems to be happening to me more and more.
It's not that I'm embarrassed about it, it's just that I attended boarding schools from the age of 7 and I have 35 years of experience of repressing my feelings and of not showing any genuine emotion to even the people that I love the most. I'm not saying that these sudden bursts of emotional incontinence are unwelcome, exactly... it's just that they're somewhat unexpected.