My whole life I have been known as the “chick with the weird laugh”…other things, too, but my laugh is among them things about me that really stand out. It is odd. It is loud. It cuts through crowds…and it is often infectious. (Think hyena) This generally works in my favor. Back in the late ’80s/early ’90s stand-up comedy boom, comedy clubs I frequented used to give me prime seating because my laugh would get the people around me going. Sometimes it does not because I am also somewhat of an inappropriate laugher. I’m the one trying to suppress giggles during meetings or funerals or even when the server is telling us all about the specials at an elegant restaurant. I can be embarrassing….but my friends seem to love me anyway.
I survived an upbringing of severe dysfunction. People often ask me how I made it through with my sanity. My sanity is questionable. But one of the weapons I used to combat the horror I experienced was humor. I grew up an only child and a good deal of that was a “lonely only” existence. Imagination was my escape from that. I wrote. Still do. I would come up with strange mental images that were borne from the harsh seriousness going on around me that would ultimately make me laugh rather than cry. Still do. On those days that I entered “the dark place” my chronic depression keeps for me, I would scream until it morphed into a belly laugh. Still do.
As adults, one of my dearest friends suffered an unimaginable loss. My instinct is to be a fixer. This was something I could never fix. The only thing I could do when we had a few moments alone was make my friend laugh. At first I thought this was yet another example of my inappropriate laughter and this time it would earn me a ticket to Hell because the event was so tragically somber. It turns out it was a welcome moment to break from impossible grief.
When life presents a situation with seemingly no options. Laugh. Laugh hard. Move on.