Friday, August 16, 2013

Don't Forget to Laugh

Lately I don’t want to watch the news or read a newspaper. When I go online the latest terrorist news or stories about deadly brain amoebas are in my face. Serious stuff. Then there are our own lives we have to deal with and all the serious things needing our attention. We take life and ourselves so seriously that we forget to laugh.

During my early single-mom years I pursued a career in court reporting. I worked under a temporary license for a freelance firm, and was sent to different locations for depositions or court hearings. I was around 30 years old and I took myself very seriously. I thought if I ever played, had any fun, or laughed at some of life’s incidents that I was not in control. If I was serious all the time, then I was in control and on task. Get it done, get it done, get it done and don’t waste time joking around. I feel bad because my kids had such a serious mom. I was also self-conscious, having no confidence in myself. I hated walking into a room full of people or drawing attention to myself.

God used an embarrassing incident to change all that. Afterwards I stopped taking myself so seriously and learned to laugh in spite of myself. I’d been sent to the CNN Center in Atlanta to take a deposition. Serious business. I fit right in with all the seriousness around the conference table that morning. I was dressed for the part too, in my business skirt, blazer and high-heeled pumps. I was very self-conscious, being the only girl in the room. I didn’t let them know that I was petrified of men! Still recovering from my divorce, I felt all men were cheaters, liars and they thought women were sex objects. I made minimal eye contact, just wanting to get the job done, pack up my equipment and go home to the comfort of my bedroom where I could type up the deposition.

When the deposition ended, I packed up my equipment, stacked my stuff on my roll cart and headed out of the office toward the escalators. The CNN Center is very open where the escalators are, kind of like a mall. Business people are walking around and (in my opinion) putting on airs. I guess I was doing it too, trying to act all poised in my business outfit, pulling my cart behind me. I just wanted to get to my car, kick off those shoes and remove the panty hose for the hour-long drive home.

When I stepped onto the escalator and
maneuvered my cart alongside me, I felt their presence behind me. I nonchalantly turned half way around and saw it was those attorneys from the deposition, all donned in their sheik business suits. Drats! I managed a fake smile and they nodded. I was sure when we got to the bottom and entered the food court they’d turn in the direction of the food to get something to eat and wouldn’t be behind me anymore.

As I rode the down escalator, I plotted my landing, making sure it would be graceful. I was border-line panicking. To my relief I stepped off the escalator gracefully and headed for the revolving doors, pulling my cart behind me. Double drats!! Those men followed me to the revolving doors. They continued their conversation, but I could feel their eyes on me. Why do they have to stare, I thought. Are they talking about me? Pointing? Rating me from 1-10? I’m embarrassed as I write this admitting that yes, I was that bad. I was not confident with my looks at all, which made it worse. I tried to appear as though I was, but couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

Approaching the revolving doors created another panic in me. I stopped and pretended to adjust my case on the cart thinking they’d just go ahead of me, especially after I said, “Y’all go ahead.” But no, they were going to be gentlemen and let me go first, as they motioned with their hands…”after you”. Seriously? So, I put on my brave, professional look again and plowed into those revolving doors. It took some dexterity as I maneuvered my cart beside me, shuffling, shuffling, shuffling, my hand gripping the handle and my other one pushing the door. Relief! I stepped out into the fresh air with cart in tow and purse still on my shoulder. I’d also stepped right out of my high-heeled pumps and stood barefoot outside with my shoes inside that merry-go-round. The men stood on the
other side looking at me. I had to go back in. While the men waited and watched this very self-conscious, unconfident, serious single mom walk back through the revolving doors and retrieve my shoes, I attempted a smile and re-exited. I slipped on my shoes, grabbed my case and escaped. As I crossed the street to the parking lot, I started giggling. By the time I made it to my car I was in a belly laugh as I’m sure they were too. I chuckled and giggled until I got it out of my system. Since that day I have worked at not taking life or myself so seriously that I forget to laugh and have fun. What about you? Are you too serious? Laughter really is medicinal. “A glad heart makes a happy face,” Proverbs 15:13.