I Believe in Laughter

Amanda - La Grange Park, Illinois
Entered on February 24, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I believe in laughter. As a culture, Americans have primarily been brought up as focused, hard working individuals. For years of elementary school I was constantly told to study hard to prepare for junior high. In junior high, I was told to study hard to prepare for high school. Now approaching the end of my second year of high school I’m already being told to start preparing for college. It may sound silly, but through all my years of carefully formulated lesson plans and curriculums, I’ve always wondered where I was suppose to learn how laugh and have fun.

I now realize I was never taught exactly how to laugh, and neither was anyone I know. You don’t learn how in elementary school, and there is definitely no such option in the ever expanding Lyons Township Academic Program Guide. Living your life with an open heart and an open mind teaches you this beautiful pleasure.

Growing up I was always very shy. I’d see all these outgoing kids around me and wonder why I couldn’t be like them. I wish I could give a specific instance when my personality magically changed, but I can’t. But I know deep in my heart what changed me was learning to laugh in a completely different way. I learned to laugh at myself.

Recently I was dancing in a dress rehearsal for a children’s dance show. I had on a black leotard and pants but for one of my white costumes I needed a white turtleneck to wear underneath. The only white turtleneck I owned was my bodysuit from poms so I decided to just throw it on. It was almost time to start and the flaps that snapped the front and back together were getting in the way so I snapped them together over my black pants. I later had to throw off the long white costume in exchange for a long sleeved black shirt. I heard my music cue and ran onstage. A few seconds passed before I heard, “Nice white butt Wink!” from my director in the wings. I had clearly forgotten to unsnap my bodysuit. Before anyone got the chance to turn around and take a peak at my white butt I started laughing uncontrollably at the clearly ridiculous mistake I had made.

When it comes to defense mechanisms, this one is a suit of armor. Not only does laughing at yourself protect you from getting hurt by others, it teaches you to see humor in every day life. Because someday while writing an essay, you will be able look back at your life experiences and share your stories with others. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to bring a little smile, a little joy, and maybe even a little laughter into their lives as well as your own.