It’s the third night in a row I’ve come home to process my day with a glass of wine (oh, cursed calories that soothe me so) and my trusty laptop.
So here we go.
Over the past two days, I’ve come close to crying for two strangers. I didn’t. For the record, I would call myself an emotional person; I don’t think “stoic” has ever been used to describe me. Even so, I’ve learned to turn off the tears in public situations. At least, most of the time.
But tonight, a victim who was seriously wounded in Saturday’s crash braved the public and his own pain of losing the girl he loved… to honor her and his friend.
I fought to keep my hands still and my breathing to a minimum as I held the camera. Once photographers were finally called to head back to the media box, my lungs filled with air and my eyes with tears.
[I am thankful to my friend Erin, who held me to her side as I wept… and then brought myself back to a calm state.]
And the rest of the night, I was tear-free.
Sometimes it must be bottled up, other times it will sneak out before you can stop and grab it back. As a journalist, am I able to just let myself go? For whatever reason, extreme emotion seems taboo.
This weekend I had the privilege of listening to Ira Glass in person.* Glass is the host of NPR’s “This American Life,” a phenomenal show I recommend (obviously, by the adjective). In his talk in Troy, he expressed gratefulness that he was a journalist on the radio because it allowed him to show and articulate certain emotions in a way that broadcast journalists couldn’t. He gave the specific instances of humor and surprise.
I envy that.
I love to laugh, and if you listen to many interviews I conduct, funny comments will elicit a hearty “ha, ha!” from me. I just can’t help myself! Do those guffaws get included in the final story for air? Rarely.
Tears too, are out of the question. Broadcast journalists are expected to empathize, but not exaggerate. To be caring, yet composed. To sympathize in moderation. Restraint is the rule.
Today, I broke it.** And I don’t care.
Tell me again, why can’t we share?
*More posts to come on his words.
**So did my colleague.