Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This I believe

In my english 121 class I had to write an essay for the NPR show This I believe, here is my submission.


Professor Kerri Mitchell

English 121

February 9th, 2010

I believe in being silly.

Sometimes, life can get pretty busy and we lose sight of what is important; constantly writing out our to-do lists in our mind while we scurry about our day, not even taking a moment to smile at someone as we pass them by or enjoy a moment we find funny, or just a simple thank you to someone who hands us our coffee.

Growing up, my father would always make me laugh and never failed to do things I considered “strange” in front of my friends. One night I remember my dad making us participate in a home video where he would make up disappear. My father asked my sisters and me to jump really high while he recorded it; somehow he was able to create magic because when he played it back, it looked like we jumped out of the picture into thin air. My father’s “child-like” behavior is one of his many personalities traits that I love and cherish, it is a trait that makes me laugh when I think of when I was 9 years old and looked over my shoulder from the kitchen sink and watched my dad as he climbed up each stair and farted, like he was making musical history. Growing up with my father taught me that no matter how old you get, jumping around in the living room and singing Turbo Lover as you pump your fists into the air will never go out of style. I have many memories with my father and some of the happiest are the ones that seemed “lame” at the time, but in the end he taught me that being silly isn’t all that strange.

As a parent, I often find myself mimicking my father’s crazy dance moves with my own children. I like to turn the volume up on the stereo in the living room and go crazy, dancing like a ballerina, twirling around my house with the grace of a duck; my daughter Alissa often follows closely behind me, clinging to my every move as she laughs out loud. My son Bowen loves to feel the music bump in his body as he tries to spin on his back like a break dancer; he too is laughing out loud. It is moments like those that my kids will remember when they are my own age, those moments that make me happy and smile from ear to ear when I am feeling down and lonely.

I often take my ability to make others smile and use it to brighten someone else’s day. I remember recently helping out my sister in her time of need; we were at the dinner table and my sister’s son Joseph was sad. She and her husband were going through a divorce and Joseph really didn’t understand why his dad wasn’t around and the mood around the table was a bit melancholy; too sad for my taste. Out of nowhere I decided to let the noodles I was eating drop to my chin and get sauce everywhere; the sauce was getting on my shirt and my cheeks because I was turning my head back and forth causing the noodles to fly through the air. Joseph and my sister started laughing out loud and I realized, in that moment, that my little charade was able to bring a smile to a breaking heart. I did have to explain to Joseph that what I did was “cool” but I am still unsure if he thought it was or I was just being weird.

I believe that being silly has the power to heal saddened hearts. I often find myself making funny faces at children crying in shopping carts as their mommies try to reach the can on the top shelf at the grocery store. Sometimes, I would push my face up against the car door window and blow my cheeks out, and smooch my nose up like a pig as my husband drives past a fussy baby in the back seat of their moms beat up Buick. I believe that these little gestures of “silliness” can make a complete stranger smile, and in doing so change that strangers mood for the rest of the day.

I find loud farts funny, people getting hurt while doing stupid things funny, jumping up and down to make my boobs slap together funny. It has taken my husband a long time to get use to the child like behavior that my father passed down to me. To this day, my husband finds the fact that I love to chase him around the house with my arms reached out for him yelling, “I’m gonna get you” extremely obnoxious because he hates being tickled; even so, it always end up with him holding me in his arms, laughing out loud, and my husband telling me he loves me. There are even the occasional heated arguments where fingers are being pointed; accusations are flying as to why the dishes haven’t been done, and all of a sudden I would make a silly face and we both end up laughing, wondering why we were arguing in the first place.

I believe in being silly. Being silly to me means that I am making someone else smile, making memories, and changing someone else’s day. Being silly to me means that my heart is laughing instead of feeling sad. There are always going to be people in the world who choose to be unhappy, but for those of us who know what laughter can do know the power it can bring into someone else’s life. My hope is that I continue to live my life using this motto and that I can instill in my children the craft of silliness; and that they, in return, will teach the craft of silliness to their own children. I hope to teach perfect strangers that it is ok to live your life to the beat of your own drum, and that sometimes the drums might just be a little off, but that is ok.

I believe in being silly, and if that makes me an outcast then I am here to join the club!


Jessie said...

Thanks for sharing this. This is really beautifully written. You are such an amazing person, and you are right. Laughter is such a powerful, powerful thing. I know one of the best things that happened to me in recovery was regaining my ability to laugh.