The Lindor Truffle: A Laugh

Sometimes we remember random little events from our past that were seemingly irrelevant to the course of our lives, but upon further reflection we may find that they had a profound effect on us.

For me, that little event involves my favorite high school teacher, a fight with my best friend, and a Lindor truffle:

I had just opened my locker to find a note from my best friend (because that’s how you communicated with your friends in 2007) that left me feeling like I had been kicked in the stomach on a day that already felt like the worst of my life. I was very good at hiding how I really felt and had been carrying on quite an impressive positive face despite the darkness inside. That’s how most of high school passed for me. But I did my best to keep up that face and headed down to my sophomore English class with my all time favorite teacher. I was early and she was the only other person in the room.

My teacher seemed to know something was up, though no words were exchanged. She simply offered me a Lindor truffle- a rare treat, which I immediately accepted with gratitude, unwrapped with excitement, and opened my mouth to plop it in….. only to have it immediately plop right back into my hand after bouncing off the elastics on my braces that prevented me from opening my mouth even remotely wide enough to insert that delicious chocolaty goodness.

Pausing for the slightest moment, I looked up at my teacher apprehensively, afraid that she saw how idiotic I must have looked, and found her suppressing the slightest smile, causing me to let out a stifled giggle that resulted in a snort, followed by a full bellied laugh in reaction to the snort, so that when the first of my peers came in and asked why I was laughing, I was laughing too hard to explain. Every time I’ve eaten a Lindor truffle since that day, I’ve always thought of that moment and still find the corners of my mouth curving ever so slightly into a smile.

After composing myself, my best friend came in and took her usual seat right behind me with a shy smile of acknowledgement. I smiled back, knowing eventually we would be OK (and we are still close to this day). My teacher shot me one last smile before beginning class, but I never thanked her for the truffle and the lesson it taught me, because I didn’t learn it until now:

We cannot let pain prevent us from smiling. We cannot let hard times keep us from laughing. We must laugh in the face of it all- in spite of it all- because one day the memory of the smile will be worth 1000x more than the tears. The smallest moments can save you.

PS. I did eventually eat that truffle and it was heaven to my taste-buds.

The Greatest Lessons of 2015

This last year was tough on my health (mental and physical), so I was forced to look really hard in the mirror and learn to accept a lot of things. It’s a heavy word, “acceptance.” Is it easy? No. It’s taken me 24 and a half years to finally realize it, so I don’t expect it to be easy for you either, but it’s those idiotically simple truths that are the hardest to really accept. Earlier in the fall I started to realize that I was getting nowhere by constantly trying to remake myself. In fact, I was digging myself deeper… So I took a real, hard, excruciating look at myself in a way I’ve never done before (I “take a look at myself” quite often).

In a way, I guess you could say I gave up. I gave up the constant self-criticism and downgraded to occasional self-criticism. I gave up trying to be someone I’m not. I gave up thinking I’ll never be happy. I gave up a lot of negativity. I looked at myself in the mirror and faced the facts: I’m overweight, I’m on a tight budget that I’m constantly pushing, I don’t have the social life I thought I’d have, my job is extremely stressful… I’m pretty, I’m experiencing my mid-20s exactly the way I should be, I have two awesome roommates and a number of good friends, I’m independent, and I have my entire life ahead of me in an ever-changing world.

This December was a series of seemingly unrelated events that caused me to realize those latter facts- the positive ones. Once again, God/the universe/the Great Spirit has thrown me some hints and I’ve picked up a lot from them. To save you time I’ll jump over the explanations of each event and instead offer, as we face the New Year in just a couple days, what I have learned:

  1. I’m not fat. You’re not fat. Fat is what you cut off your chicken before you cook it. Fat intake is something you monitor when you’re trying to be healthy. Fat is a part of the body just as muscle, bones, and flesh are, and you, therefore, cannot BE fat, because YOU ARE NOTHING ELSE BUT YOU.
  2. Being attractive means being the kind of person that others want to be around. It means being a good person, kind to others, and always thoughtful of your impact on the world. It means making people laugh. It means being able to laugh at yourself.
  3. We have limits. We must recognize when something or someone we love dearly and deeply is no longer right for us.
  4. Boondock Saints is one of the greatest movies ever made.
  5. Miracles do happen.
  6. There is much hate in this world, but there is greater love, and the moment we give up on love is the moment we lose. And the people who love us- our family, our friends- are the ones who will comfort us and cry with us when we feel there is too much bad, when we think hate has won. They will save us in our endeavor to save the world.
  7. We must never give up on saving the world.
  8. While it is important to take note of ways we can improve ourselves, we cannot do so without first taking inventory of the ways in which we should never change. If we are forever focusing on what’s missing or wrong with our lives, how in the world do we expect to one day be happy?
  9. Tight budget, big appetite? Pasta, hot dogs, frozen veggies, alfredo sauce, all mixed together. It’s where childhood and adulthood meet in perfect harmony… in your mouth.
  10. Laughter, as always, is everything. Be a goof.

So this New Year’s, please remember to smile, to laugh, to love, to let the bad roll off and the good sink in, and to look hard in the mirror. Watch good movies. Spend time with friends. Remember that everything changes- the hardest thing we can ever accept. Make your resolutions, but knowing first that you are already a wonderful and beautiful creature to begin with. Be a Calvin (see cartoon below).

Laugh on, my friends.

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Why Do I [You] Write

This isn’t a widely read blog and many of my followers are friends of mine, so I found myself asking “Why do I write this?” You know, what? Good question. Why do you?

Is it because you have a lifelong dream of being a journalist? Is it because you write poetry? Short stories? Are you an activist? Photographer? Traveler?

I came to realize that I’m writing for me. Sounds a little weird, I know. Why not just keep a diary? Well… when I was younger, I had a mentor who inspired me so much that I decided that I wanted to inspire others and what I’ve found is that what I need to hear, everyone needs to hear. We need reminders everyday to smile, to laugh, to cry when you need to cry. We need reminders of what makes this world worth saving, what we can do for others, what makes us wonderful people. For a while I thought I’d make a pretty dope public speaker and I wanted to be able to reach and inspire large numbers of people, but that might be a stretch goal. This questioning has caused me to really think about what I can do- both for myself and for others. I need a laugh to keep myself going and I know that sometimes you, whoever you are, need to as well.

So I challenge you to question yourself. Not for self-doubt, but for personal insight. Get to know yourself and the reason behind why you do what you do. Maybe, just maybe, it will help you do it better.

And because I started this endeavor of blogging because I wanted to make people smile, here’s a little humor for you.

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I’ve already posted this one a while ago, but it’s so relevant.

Just Give Yourself a Giggle

Every now and then, you see something that just makes you giggle. I mean REALLY giggle- uncontrollably, belly shaking, possibly snorting. And usually at the stupidest things that would otherwise only give you a slight smirk. My theory is that this is because you happen to really need it at that moment. Your body and mind are begging for some positivity and therefore induce childish laughter at almost anything. This is at least what’s been happening with me. I’ve been stalking the Humor section of Pinterest cracking up at EVERYTHING. Why stop? Continue until you feel better! 

This is what REALLY did it for me… Because I can also totally relate: 

  

Have A Sense Of Humor

It’s been a winter for the record books here in New England. If Boston hasn’t broken the 100″ record, it’s only a couple away. The deck collapsed at my parents’ house. There’s a tiny leak in the bathroom window. Roofs have collapsed around town, and at the very least it’s been a huge inconvenience to 100% of the population.

But have a sense of humor.

During the first big storm, I saw neighbors cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and snowmobiling up the street. My parents’ mailbox is embedded in snow, so it’s impossible for the neighborhood kids to play baseball with it. My arms are twice as strong from all that shoveling. It’s given me an opportunity and an excuse to binge watch Friends on Netflix. And don’t get me started on how much I’ve saved on gas and unnecessary purchases!

So find the funny in everything you can. Someday we’ll look back on this storm, as my parents do for the Blizzard of ’78, and find immense enjoyment in it.

At least we can get to it...

At least we can get to it…

FREE SNOW

            FREE SNOW

The Next Move

As I’m about to make my next big move in life, moving into my first REAL apartment (college apartments don’t really count), I find myself watching the show Friends more and more and more. And right now, I have never found myself more in need of the deep, booming, belly laughs that leave my sides in stitches that every episode induces. Thank God for Netflix! Just last night I watched the “pivot” episode and realized the complications that I am about to face from trying to squeeze my surplus of belongings, which I will no longer be able to store in my parents’ basement, into a much smaller space. And that’s when I realized that the challenges I will face really are spelled out in that theme song. I will be broke. My job is crazy stressful. I will begin to date, which I have been awkwardly avoiding since college, though I don’t know why.

This really is your twenties. Making mistake after mistake. Living pay check to pay check. Figuring out what career moves you may or may not want to make. Putting yourself out into the world with the possibility of heartbreak. And all largely without a fallback plan. And you know what? Forget college, forget high school; I am certain and comforted by the fact that I’m about to embark, truly, on what is going to be the GREATEST time of my life. And that is all the more reason for me to truck on, and do the best with what I’m dealt, and have a sense of humor, and self induce those deep belly laughs, and lean heavily on my own friends as we all figure out how to live broke in Boston and scrape by…. and PIVOT! PIVOT! PIVOTTTTTT!!!!!!!

PIVOT

Balter

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In my dreams, I waltz away into incandescent happiness. In reality, I balter.

I never like to go out to clubs or dance at a bar because I feel like there is an expectation of the way you’re supposed to dance, which is entirely not my style. Weddings. That’s my style. Weddings are such a joyous occasion and people are so happy (not to mention there’s older folk present who expect a certain decorum) so everyone just wants to dance around in the merriest, goofiest, most ecstatic manner possible.

In club dancing, and even ballroom dancing, you’re so worried about the tempo and the beat and the fact that people naturally evaluate how well (or not) you dance, and worry so easily gets in the way of true fun and joy and adventure (as noted in my previous post). At a wedding, everyone’s baltering, so no one cares.

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I try not to make decisions in my life based on what others might think, but on how that decision will make me feel, and how it will make me a better, happier person. Of course, that’s not always easy to do and at this point in my life you might not believe me, but I do my best. To balter is possibly the easiest, best way to stick with that lifestyle choice.

One of the happiest moments in my life was a Friday night my junior year of college when two of my roommates and I decided to stay in and watch the remake of Footloose in our sweatpants, with blankets and pillows. It’s no Oscar-worthy film, but it was perfect for the mood we were in; we enjoyed ourselves so much that we ended up dancing in the middle of our living room in our sweatpants and socks while we listened to the credits music. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you why or what sparked that decision but it was the best choice we made possibly all school year. We laughed at our own goofiness and lack of dance skill, and I’ve rarely felt the same joy since.

Moral of the story: Don’t just dance… balter… enjoy yourself and dance through life to your heart’s content not because of any skill you possess or for anybody but yourself. Just balter. Balter through everything in life. Work, school, downtime. Don’t be afraid to enjoy yourself and to bask in all your imperfection. Just look at how happy Carlton always was.

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