Why I Laugh More Than I Cry

Alicia - San Luis Obispo, California
Entered on March 2, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30
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I am a college student but my knees are so scraped and bruised that I could be mistaken for a third grader who had fallen down on the playground. When I was a third grader I would cry every time I fell; now as a college student I choose to laugh at my incurable clumsiness. I have always been clumsy, but I have not always had the confidence to deal with my clumsiness with humor. I believe in the ability of laughter to turn humiliation into humility.

This summer I visited a national park with my friends to see a famous waterfall. To get there we had to cross a large bridge, but as soon as I started to walk along it I realized I was going to have difficulty making it to my destination without a series of embarrassing moments. The problem with the bridge was that every few feet there was a raised piece of metal that held everything together. Unfortunately, this small piece of metal was a big problem for my clumsiness. After tripping over the first one I realized this was going to happen multiple times. In an attempt to distract my friends from how potentially humiliating my lack of coordination was I began to count each time I tripped. Instead of being embarrassed, I yelled out the number and as it began to rise, my clumsiness only became more entertaining. By the time we reached the waterfall I was at a grand total of fourteen trips and my friends and I all burst into hysterics. Each time I tripped I laughed as if it was the funniest thing that could have happened, and by doing so I made myself believe it really was.

My innate ability to trip over everything has quite literally kept me grounded. My ability to laugh at myself allows me to keep things in perspective. Does my stubbed toe really deserve the same dramatic reaction as finding out about the death of a beloved pet? There is no reason for me to make small matters into big tragedies. There are so many other things to worry about in life than tripping in front of entertained onlookers. I do not believe that laughter can cure everything, but with so many worse possible circumstances, laughter allows little faults to be insignificant. I believe in breaking down in hysterics not breaking down in tears.

The progression from humiliation to humility has been rewarding. Laughing at myself allows me to see life in an optimistic way. I refuse to let my clumsiness prevent me from enjoying a situation. When I reminisce about my trip to the waterfall, I remember how much fun I had laughing with my friends, not how humiliating it was to trip fourteen times in thirty minutes. For me, clumsiness has not just been a phase I would be able to grow out of. As much as I wish that would happen I realize that being able to laugh at myself has humbled me. I have grown up, but I still continue to fall down, when I was younger I would have covered my scrapes with a Hello Kitty band-aid, but now the only band-aid I need is laughter.