Friday, October 17, 2008

Feelings...nothing more than feelings

Here in the Philippines, we have a phrase that goes mababaw ang luha, which roughly translates to "shallow tears." If you're a person whose luha (tears) are mababaw (shallow), then it means almost anything and everything can make you cry.

This applies to me a lot of the time, and not even when I'm down in the dumps. It can happen even when there isn't anything to cry about. I just finished reading Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and some lines and situations in those books had me all teary-eyed for some reason. Certain scenes even in comedy films can make me cry too, though movies like I Am Sam almost have me hyperventilating from too much sobbing. Some TV commercials I've seen have also been known to trigger my waterworks.

Mababaw ang luha indeed.

Strangely, whenever true, heart-wrenching tragedy strikes me, my eyes stay dry - at least initially. Wasn't it Wordsworth who said something about thoughts that often lie too deep for tears? Time passes, and the tears I shed after a particular heartbreak indicate I'm on the way to recovery.

Conversely, we have another phrase: mababaw ang kaligayahan, or "shallow happiness." This can be a derogatory phrase, but mostly I think it's a compliment. When you say someone's kaligayahan (happiness or enjoyment) is mababaw, it means he or she finds something to smile or laugh about even in the smallest or least important situation. When that happens, the moment becomes magical.

Case in point: My little girls and I were in the supermarket the other day. We were discussing a variety of things - school activities, what they wanted to have for dinner - when the supermarket's speakers started blaring out a certain pop song (the title of which escapes me). Inadvertently, as if an unseen button had been pressed, my girls cut off our conversation and started singing and dancing along to the song. I watched, flabbergasted. I thought, "My God, this is how aliens are taking over - via our children and pop songs over supermarket loudspeakers."

Then our eyes met and we started laughing heartily. And when my kids laugh, it seems like the laughter comes from somewhere inside that's deeper than their solar plexus, the sound of which, of course, made me laugh even harder. All of this took place within just a few seconds, but man, moments like that can eclipse the whole day's hours and minutes.

So, I have no problem with "shallow happiness." Just as I have no problem with "shallow tears." They're part of how we humans express ourselves spontaneously. But I must admit being happy and being with happy people feels much better than being around a lot of negativity. Also, it's fun to ruminate on the several ways I can come up with to spontaneously, quickly, deliciously, and satisfyingly express my happiness. But...if I ruminate, then that doesn't make it spontaneous anymore, does it?

Oh, what the heck. They're happy thoughts anyway.

12 comments:

Sidney said...

Seems you are a very happy person, no?

Photo Cache said...

Oh Lizza, you seem to be describing me in the first part of this post. I cry like an idiot during Hillary Clinton's concession speech. But I could not shed a tear when my father died, not during the wake and controlled during the funeral.

As long as I have my coffee, I'm a happy camper, does that make me mababaw and kaligayahan?

Mimi Lenox said...

My favorite part...." Time passes, and the tears I shed after a particular heartbreak indicate I'm on the way to recovery."

Well said.
This must mean I am not losing my mind...

lizza said...

Sidney: Only when I'm not miserable. :-)

Photo: I should give you a big cup of coffee if we ever meet up. That's a good way to lighten your day!

Mimi: Nah, it only seems that way. You're great!

Daddy Papersurfer said...

I love ruminating - cows are very laid back and they get pulled every day ....... and 'shallow happiness' is a true sign of living in the present [a skill that is sadly lost for some people]....... and I like your language ....... even when you swear - tee hee *hugs* - and I've decided to massacre the English language ........ and ..... that's it really.

Lizza said...

DaddyP: Shallow happiness is a sign of living in the present? I like that.

And since you taught me how to say "seagullshit" in Portuguese, I should return the favor and teach you how to say it in my language. As soon as I find out what "seagull" is in Tagalog.

Terra Shield said...

I liked the story of you and your girls laughing at the mall... sounds so sweet. Anyway, I'm one of those people who laugh and cry way too much!

Lizza said...

Terra: I'm glad you laugh and cry a lot. You're human! :-)

Yes, it was a sweet moment. It still makes me smile whenever I think about it.

citizen of the world said...

Oh, then I definitely have shallow tears - I cy when I'm sad, angry or over any little sentimental thing.

Lizza said...

Oh I cry when I'm angry too, which I hate.

Bud Weiser, WTIT said...

Great post. Interesting, informative plus warm and fuzzy. Kids are the best...

Travis said...

I love some spontaenous dancing.