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I laugh, therefore I am. – anonymous

I have always always always been a giggly person. Laughter is the core of who I am.

You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants. Stephen King
I have never been able to stop laughing on command. It just has a life of its own, and I can’t control it. When I was still living at home, there were mornings I got up and was giggly from the moment I stuck my foot on the cold linoleum floor to the moment I went to bed. I will never forget the morning when I was sitting at the breakfast table, choking on toast and jam because I was laughing. Don’t ask me why I was laughing, I just was. I never needed a reason to laugh, it was just part of my personality. I was and still am, a giggle-pus.
My dad was getting ready for work as I sat there giggling away. Liz! Stop it now! Enough laughing. Well, that just got me laughing more. Liz!! I said quit it! You’re getting on my nerves. It’s too early in the morning for this. More giggles. Cant breathe. Turning red. Help me. The more I tried to stop, the more I giggled.
Dad grabbed his lunch and stormed out of the house in a huff. You are crazy! And as the door slammed, I howled and buckled over in my seat, and promptly dropped my toast on the floor. He left for work early just to avoid hearing me laugh at nothing, which started me reeling all over again. I tried so hard to stop, and the laughter just kept building and building till my poor dad couldn’t take it anymore. He had a lot of patience and I had enough laughter to test it severely.

Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it. — Bill Cosby

I have had a lot of challenges in my life, just like anyone, and laughter has helped me through it.
The most isolating times for me were when I had to be away from my family in the hospital for various surgeries to correct the effects of cerebral palsy. From age 3 to 10, I had 6 surgeries.
The most memorable hospital stay involves a really strange roommate. When I first got to the hospital I went through the routine of providing blood and urine samples. I meekly took the specimen bottle from the nurse and headed to my bathroom. Sounds easy right? I shouldn’t have to go further right? Well, this is where the story gets a bit dicey. My roommate of five minutes decided to follow me into the bathroom. What are you doing in the can with me? I yelled. I want to keep you company so you won’t be scared, she explained. Flabbergasted, I pushed her out of the bathroom and slammed and locked the door. Some experiences in life are just not meant to be shared. Welcome to the Children’s hospital – where you are truly never alone.
The day of my surgery I was sitting on the edge of my bed trying to get my mind off of gas masks and scalpels. My roommate decides to put some music on. I thought ok, music will calm my nerves. Next thing I know she cranks up the song “the first cut is the deepest” I could picture Rod Stewart in his pink tight pants singing that song, just to me. At first I was ready to strangle the girl! But after a few minutes the irony of the situation hit me and I was in tears from laughing by the time the orderlies came to load me on the gurney for my surgery. My roommate is likely working as a DJ now. She has a knack for reading her audience and picking the best song for any occasion.

I think laughter may be a form of courage. As humans we sometimes stand tall and look into the sun and laugh, and I think we are never more brave than when we do that. — Linda Ellerbee

The one person who taught me the most about bravery through laughter was my mom. There was one day when I came home from school in tears because one of the kids said “your mom must be an alcoholic, that’s why you are an ugly cripple.” I told my mom and she didn’t skip a beat. Liz next time that kid says anything just tell them it’s an old war injury, and to mind their own business. And make sure you are smiling and laughing when you say it. Show them who the stronger person is. That night, I remember laying in bed and practicing the line, and seeing myself strong in front of them. Turns out I never did get to use that line, but I still love thinking about it. Some people want you to crumble from their insults. I use humor and find the irony in many situations. It strengthens me and heals me.

I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry. — Cat Stevens
When I had my speaking business on a full-time basis, there were nights when I was writing parts of a workshop and tears would stream down my face as I would rehearse. I finally understood that every painful experience was for a purpose. I may have cried about it in the moment, but here I was, laughing with people about the irony and humor in my experiences.
As I would write and practice, I would just be sooo grateful and I would find myself in one of those joyous cries. I would think God I am by myself right now, as I tapped on my keyboard and wrote a few more lines in between giggles and tears of joy. It definitely was a ‘wow my life is so awesome’ cry. Yes I have had things in life that hurt, but no one, absolutely no one, can take away my love for life, and my giggly nature. I love that I have these emotions.
What society has often seen as my greatest weakness, I have transformed into one of my greatest strengths, through the power of laughter. I proudly wear my heart on my sleeve and encourage others that to do the same!
Get beyond your limits and open yourself up to really using laughter in your life. May laughter stay with you as long as you need it. May you use it to harness your courage, and soothe your pain. And finally – I wish you many joyous tears as you discover what you have lived through and overcome while smiling and laughing. I challenge all of you to laugh so hard through life that you always carry a Depends undergarment, just in case!