• Naheed Hanif

Don’t Laugh. I mean it, don’t.

I know today that laughing is good for your health, in some cases, good for breaking ice and in other cases, inspires a great attitude.

I realise that at any age, laughing demonstrates a friendliness and approachability.  I think this is what my father was

The problem with such rules is how a young person interprets such “regulations”.  For me it became the norm and in any situation or company.  I remember feeling confused at the laughter in any situation as if it were a sin for anyone to laugh.

This problem only got worse.  One time I remember the entire family would participate in taking the mick out me for something I did and then call me dumbo followed by lots of laughter.  To me, I couldn’t understand the laughter and how calling me dumbo could create such hysterical noise… Laughter, which I had once (a long time before) thought was a joyous emotion.

Lucky for me, as my other life developed… the secret one, I met people that encouraged laughter and smiles.

I still remember a teacher at school teaching me to smile.  It was so uncomfortable yet the emotional support of those present; girls that normally bullied me, boys that expressed hate, kids that were outright racist, all joined in and celebrated my smile.  Wow, the things that bring all sorts together are amazing.  They all clearly wanted to see the teacher succeeding in her mission; they actually joined in and made encouraging statements!  It wasn’t an overnight success, but they did manage to make me smile!  That was the beginning of new friendships and new perceptions for all kids present.  It’s unforgettable.

If that moment occurred in the States, think we might all have gathered to have a good cry as well as laugh!

Several decades on and I believe my desire to laugh has helped me get through quite traumatic experiences.  I can’t help but notice others that used to laugh and now rarely do and they actually feel there is nothing to laugh about.

Then there are those that struggle while laughing. Some cover their mouths during laughter, others try their damnedest to remain dispassionate, and I can see it doesn’t feel comfortable.  I so want to ask, what happened to them?  Was it the same as what happened to me?  Was it more recent?

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©2020 by Naheed Hanif.