Laugh and the World Laughs With You

Johnny Depp in "Cry Baby": I've been looking for a good excuse to post his pic.

In case you haven’t been here for the past few days, I’ve been scurrying frantically (not really) to check off items from my “Pre-Apocalyptic Bucket List for the Soul” before the world ends on Dec. 21. My challenge — and I extend it to you as well — was to write a list of the top 10 things I wish I could change about or accomplish for myself before I die.

Today I’m taking on No. 3 on my list:

Quit being an easy target. I wear my heart on my sleeve and always have. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, but I never learned how to fight back verbally or physically. Melting into a pool of emotional mush doesn’t work out so well. Take my word for it.

There’s no way to put this nicely: I was a crybaby as a kid. My dad and my aunt (who raised me after my mom died) used to tell me, “Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.” What they should have told me was, “Cry and you’re likely to get beaten up or at least teased mercilessly.”

As an adult, my emotional skin still isn’t very thick, but I’ve learned to fake it pretty well. When someone teases me I can usually laugh along — until I reach the nearest restroom anyway.

The thing I’m still working on is how to stop taking it so personally. Some people just think it’s funny to rip on others. Is it because they are insecure themselves? Maybe. Do they really do it to be hurtful? I hope not.

Either way, I choose how their words affect me. And I’m ready to laugh.

“The tears of the world are a constant quantity. For each one who begins to weep somewhere else another stops. The same is true of the laugh.”  ~ Samuel Beckett, “Waiting for Godot”