In one of the most dramatic and poignant moments in cinematic history, Helen Thermopolis tells her recently known-as-royalty daughter Mia “My mom always told me I couldn’t cry…and told me to be a big girl…but you’ve been hurt, so you just cry.”
Lil’ Dana Schneider looked on, internalizing this and all the other bountiful wisdom that The Princess Diaries has to offer. I was reminded of this wisdom recently in conversation with some good pals as we discussed their many talents. One of my deepest, darkest truths was revealed: I don’t play a musical instrument, I can’t throw things far or accurately in a particular direction, my dance abilities are limited to the confines of enthusiastic yet regrettable body rolling in the club. In a word, I’m talentless.
But hey! If I were to point to any speck of talent in my mediocre body, it would be the muscles of vulnerability and introspection that I flex like a Dude Bro posted up in the free weights section of the gym. That’s right people, being Sensitive™ is my super power, unleashed through the times in which I cry, both publicly and privately. Here are some vignettes of my top three Power Cries:
- Walking across campus listening to my audiobook last week
I used to try to avoid listening to audiobooks as I walk to and fro class. Adam Silvera’s prose is far too heartfelt (thanks for recommendation, Kat!) and my face is far too expressive; however, I’ve shed this apprehension and often continue listening to my audio book while I walk home from my shift shelving books in the Rock.
So I’m booking it (pardon the pun) to Wriston, and as I emerge from under the shadow of Wayland Arch, I realize I’m crying in public for the leering tour groups to see (even the befuddled Dads in their casual denim). Take that, emotionally repressed America! I’m publicly crying about fictitious teenagers in love, and I’m proud!
- Walking through the streets of NYC after losing my Moleskin in the MoMA at age seventeen
It was my second time ever in the Big Apple, and I was ready to take a big crunchy bite. My mom and I were immersing ourselves in the power of contemporary art and somewhere between an exhibit on maps and one on architecture, I had left behind my beloved red Moleskin journal, chock-full of poems and lists and things I hadn’t yet digitized. (I have an active history of losing things.)
Not for the first time, I had been seduced and distracted by the wiles of cartography. When I sat down on a bench to get a closer look at one of the map projections, I had set my notebook beside me and moved on without Her.
I didn’t find this out until later. After a frantic realization and interrogation of the lost and found attendant, I was forced to exit the museum journal-less. In one of the most melodramatic moments of my life, I found myself walking through the crowded sidewalks of the city with a single tear sledding down my left cheek.
Get a load of this, cooly apathetic New Yorkers. This gooey Kentuckian is here to tell you that it’s called the Bluegrass state because our turf is sadness! I’m crying in your city, folks.
- Watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind like a week before school started
My astute readers will notice the power cries that I have mentioned were in public. I would attribute this to my shamelessness. However, one night I shed my pantsuit and desire to be a Young Professional to enjoy a ~Casual~ Night at Home. I knew what I was in for when I rented Eternal Sunshine on Amazon Video. I needed Sadboi Jim Carrey to play me harder than Steve Martin plays a banjo.
As Joel and Clementine wrangle with the anguish of having loved and lost while weighing the pros of having not loved at all, I couldn’t help but lightly Kim Kardashian ugly cry—nay, weep—into my bowl of hummus and assorted dip-y things. Soggy pita in hand, I felt alive. The summer had been full of things–good, and bad, and in between–that I needed to cry out over a chickpea smoothie before returning to school.
Thus, the Less Lil’ Dana Schneider power cried her way into her sophomore year.