Top 5 Things That Have Made Me Almost Cry On My Way to Work

September 15, 2020
loopy cloth doll looking person bent in tears

1. “You Want It Darker” by Leonard Cohen

Cohen released this song three weeks before passing away from leukemia. He recorded it in his living room. From the man best known for the ever-covered song “Hallelujah”, “You Want It Darker” is completely unlike any other song in his career. It is heavy, raw, and completely unsettling. Cohen is staring death dead in the eyes. Why listen to it at 8:30 A.M. on the way to work at a simple retail job then when I know it always makes me tear up (especially the line “a million candles burning for a love that never came”)? Because it is one of the most powerful songs I have ever heard, and something about mornings just makes me want to wrestle with God. 


2. “I Sit Beside the Fire and Think” by J.R.R. Tolkein

I decided to read Lord of the Rings for the first time this summer. I love medieval literature, and Tolkein studied it and taught it his entire career which inspired these books. There is a scene when Bilbo is talking to his nephew Frodo and recites a poem he has written. Bilbo is old at this point, past his big adventure days while Frodo is just about to set out on a huge adventure of his own. “I Sit By the Fire and Think” is similarly about being close to the end of life and adventure. I have not memorized the whole thing, but there are two stanzas in particular that I think about a lot:


I sit beside the fire and think

Of how the world will be

When winter comes without a spring

That I shall ever see


For still there are so many things

That I have never seen

In every wood in every spring

There is a different green


She is so fundamentally part of me that it is impossible for me to understand myself without her. Sometimes I feel like she is my translator to even myself. I’m crying now thinking about how to even write more about it.


3. The Pride and Prejudice (2005) Soundtrack

My favorite movie of all time. I can quote it forwards, backwards, sideways, and from a different dimension. Kinda basic for an English major, I know, but it is what it is even with all of its issues. Ask me to give you both of Darcy’s proposals sometime, I will NOT let you down. During my AP Microeconomics exam my senior year of high school, I simply wrote down these scenes and other conversations instead of attempting the Free Response Questions. I truly believe that that is what got me my 2 on my exam, there is no other way. I answered A for all of the multiple choice questions, and didn’t try the FRQ’s at all. A true Janeite got me through. Anyways, the soundtrack sometimes gets to my soul in my lonely days. Especially “The Living Sculptures of Pemberley” and “The Secret Life of Daydreams”.

(I have to add --just because-- that the 2005 version IS Pride and Prejudice. I have a Hand Flex Scene to prove it. 1995 can go into the lake with Colin Firth as far as I’m concerned.)


4. “Island Song (Come Along With Me)” from Adventure Time

This song always makes me think of my best friend/cousin Sydney and it’s just a happy bop. She watched this show our entire childhood, and I am only recently watching it for the first time. When I think about my cousin Sydney, I always want to cry because of how much I love her. There is no actual way to explain when a person is so perfectly built to be your lifelong companion without sounding weird or not even breaking the surface of it. A friendship that deep doesn’t even have words, honestly. She is so fundamentally part of me that it is impossible for me to understand myself without her. Sometimes I feel like she is my translator to even myself. I’m crying now thinking about how to even write more about it. 


“All of my collections

I'll share them all with you

I'll be here for you always

And always be with you”


5. A hawk

I see them all the time in the trees and on power lines. On that particular day, I hadn’t seen one in a long time. They always remind me of my Papa, and I like to birdwatch from time to time, and I was already feeling out of sorts. I thought about all the times I miss them because I don’t look and of course that dramatically led me to thinking about all of the times I missed him because I didn’t look for him, and then I saw one perched on a tree beside a Dollar General. It looked absolutely fierce, I almost turned around and pulled over, but I didn’t have time.


Honorable Mentions: AKA, no tears, but catch me on the wrong day and maybe?

  • “Timshel” by Mumford & Sons because “I can’t move the mountains for you”. I don’t know who this is even directed at, but sometimes it just hits me.
  • “I Don’t Love You” by My Chemical Romance because I pretended to go through a whole breakup in one fifteen minute ride to work?? 
  • “Above the Clouds of Pompeii” by Bear’s Den. The writer of the song won’t reveal what the song is about because he is dedicated to the idea of it being up to the interpretation of the listener. Frustrating, but also amazing.
  • “From Afar” by Vance Joy--the music video for this song made me cry the first time, and now I always think of it
  • The playlist Sydney and Marley (my other cousin) made me for quarantine. The playlist icon is of me crying. How fitting. 

image of playlist

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