Don’t gasp. I can explain this.
Back in Rochester, NY, I was hanging out with my best friend Kat and her wife Allison. As I sat outside on the patio soaking in the July sun (which was a relief after a week’s worth of rain), I realized I’ve yet to experience their rainbow hammock. Now I rarely lie down on these types of contraptions because I deemed them unable to handle my curves. Plus, the last time I lied down on one, I and some friends were at a retreat in a wooded area. The damn thing was covered with dead leaves and moisture, which attracted aaalll kinds of critters like mosquitoes and gnats. One of my friends suggested I sit on it. “It’s not that bad,” she assures. I squinted my eyes and prayed to Jesus as I crept towards the antithesis of sanitation. That’s what I get for listening to people who love nature a little too much–I end up lying on a Malaria Trap.
But unlike the hammock that traumatized me months prior to that incident, I used Kat and Allison’s rainbow hammock as an opportunity to overcome my fear of this invention. Hell, it was not in the woods chained up to trees housing locusts, but to a patio wall and a thick wooden pillar that came with the house. And we were in the city, so I wasn’t worried about being grossed out. But somehow I forgot I didn’t know how to sit on a hammock. Looking at the photo above, you pretty know what the hell happened. Not only did my body slam onto the patio floor, but I think I knocked over a couple of plants.
My two friends and their pug, Punky, heard me and the plants and bolted out onto the patio. They were of course worried, asking me if I was ok, am I hurt and all that. But I wasn’t paying attention because I was way too busy laughing at this crazy turn of events. Punky ran up to me and licked my face frantically and as I snuggled with her, Kat and Allison chuckled while staring at me with a semi-puzzled look on their faces.
I only tell you this because there were times in my life when I had nothing to laugh about. Almost everything and everyone I came across fed on darkness like zombies do on human brains and it was abysmal. Don’t get me wrong–I had great moments in my childhood and beyond, but they were seemed few and far between because of happened to me, the dysfunction I’ve witnessed and events that were pretty much out of my control. As a result, I developed depression and told myself that there was little to no reason to be happy about anything. I found myself being unhappy about anything–no matter what it was. I didn’t do this thinking there would be rainbows and lollipops one day–obviously. I embraced unhappiness because I truly believed that something shitty was bound to happen anyway, so optimism remained an impossibility. So when people asked me why I looked like I was carrying the world on my shoulders, I felt it was none of their business to know that that was exactly what I was doing.
That, my friends, is called losing hope and numbing myself out.
But that was then–when I didn’t know any better. But at 30, I acknowledge my options and I choose to laugh in Crazy’s Face. I know that there’s a world worth laughing about and laughing at now. Some people, places and situations are just fucking ridiculous–whether it’s happening in my life or someone else’s. When I go to the grocery store, I read those celebrity magazines not because I’m interested in Angelina Jolie and some kid she’s adopting from Ethiopia. I do it for the shits and giggles. Sometimes, my roommate glares at me with a mild annoyance when I pick up an Us Weekly. I shrug my shoulders and say “What? I’m reading about J. Lo and her sparkly dress…leave me alone!” The cashier notices and holds back a smile. See? My life can be like that.
I now came to the conclusion that I have to laugh and laugh loud. I let my past hold me hostage for to the point of me believing nothing was worth smiling about. But I am now at a place where I can at least laugh at a bruise on my arm (which I didn’t even discover until a day later…oops). I can laugh when my little sister about wanting to make a list of conversation starters so she’ll have something to talk about when we’re on the phone. I can laugh when Punky is chasing her tail and I can even laugh at my own indiscretions–when I get over them. I was laughing at Robot Chicken last night (Seth Green is God).
Whether you’re a survivor or not, laughter is the natural aspirin. Without it, we are not whole human beings. I remember someone telling me “The world is serious enough. Laugh for God’s Sake!” So I try to do that often as I possibly can. Even when it involves me flipping out of a rainbow hammock.