I was listening to the priest as I sat on the bleachers at my school during Mass. I was a sophomore and feeling exceptionally well. I had never before fainted, but my non-cooperative body betrayed me and felt that it should faint in front of the whole school, while I was wearing a skirt, in the middle of the gym. As I stood up to say “peace be with you” to my friend, I felt myself falling backwards. When I awoke, I heard my assistant principal telling me to walk toward him. I could not, and he carried me down the stairs, while everyone stared. I told him I was okay to walk, and I wobbled across the gym toward the door. As I walked across the gym floor, I laughed hysterically. I could not help it, but the thought of me fainting and getting carried across the stairs made me laugh. The next day at school, most people did not ask why I fainted or if I was okay; they asked why I was cracking up. My response? “It was funny.”
If there are stairs, I am going to trip on them. If there is a puddle, I am going to step in it. If, over the years, I have learned one thing about myself, it would be that I am a klutz. I always thought that the ability to embarrass myself at any given moment would disappear as I got older. Sadly, that thought was not realistic once I got to high school. Not only am I a klutz but I also have learned that I do not think before I talk. Adding on to that list: if there is a stupid question, I will ask it.
There is only one thing that helps me when I accomplish these great feats, however. I believe in laughing at myself. The laughing is not just a chuckle to myself; it is a full on, eye-watering laugh, a laugh that makes my cheeks hurt from smiling and my stomach feel as if I just did a million crunches. I realized that laughing makes me feel better whether I am trying to dizzily walk across a gym floor or recover after saying something dumb. My laugh seems to contagious and others follow with that laughter. When I laugh after I have fallen or said something dumb, people are not laughing at me, but they are laughing with me. A laugh can cure the awkwardness of fainting during Mass, or the embarrassment of ripping my jeans during an eighth grade bowling trip.
I no longer care what people think of me because I know what I have accomplished, and I know what I will accomplish. My laugh only brings out the fact that I make high honors, but still have blonde moments and that I start on varsity soccer, but still manage to trip while walking up the stairs. I will never be the person to hide my flaws; I proudly show them. Laughing shows others that I don’t care about what I did, I don’t care what others think. I want to end my day remembering how funny something was, not how embarrassing it was. I believe in laughing at myself.
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