This I Believe

Shana - Buffalo Grove, Illinois
Entered on December 17, 2007

I believe that laughter has been the most useful tool in my life. I’ve used it to cope with hardships, to get people to like me, and to protect myself. When my mother divorced my father because he decided that he’d rather try to kill himself than be a part of our family, I laughed. Every night after I showered I would stand and look at myself in the mirror while water dripped from my skinny little arms and legs onto the floor and made the grout in between the tiles brown instead of beige. I would look into my face until it made absolutely no sense to me and I would laugh hysterically until my mother, already frustrated from a days work at the hospital, would yell upstairs that it was 9 o’clock, and time to go to bed.

Maybe the sudden unfortunate events in my life caused me to become introverted around my peers, but, either way, I had no friends to invite me over to their homes for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the crusts cut off. The only escape I had from the stagnant sorrow of my own home was my face in the mirror.

Eventually my face began to bore me. Around fifth grade I decided that I wanted friends. So, I used the thing that made me the happiest to make other people happy. I made people laugh, and that’s what I’ve been doing since then. I made fun of other people, and I made fun of myself. People felt good when they were around me, and I felt good when they were around me too. Later, I found that these were only superficial friendships, and that I have to become more than one dimensional to have real friends.

So, I opened up to people. I told people how I felt and thought, and the ones who didn’t freak out became my best friends. Still, I remembered that there was a chance that the people I love might suddenly leave me, so I maintained a hard, cynical, sarcastic exterior for protection. Surprisingly, people enjoyed that about me. I guess I brought a sense of reality into their lives, and they found it humorous.

I still keep up with maintaining this hard exterior when I meet new people, especially boys. Their first impression of me is that I am an impenetrable force of wit and sarcasm. I make them laugh, and when they find something attractive about me they treat me like I’m the person that I appear to be, strong and unwavering.

Because I’m cynical, I’m emotionless, so it’s okay if the boy I had “relations” with last weekend holds the hand of another girl tonight. Because of so many other things that I do, it’s okay if I am wronged in so many other ways.

It’s okay, I’ll just laugh it off.