Something, or someone, who can make you laugh on your worst days is always worth keeping.
For those following my Twitter escapades knows this morning didn't go as planned. A second set of x-rays, a two hour wait, and my doctor patted my knee and told me to keep my ankle in the brace, stretch, and it would heal in time. Never mind the pain and the fact that I've been in a brace since October. Just stay off my feet and eventually everything would be right again.
Which is not at all what I wanted to hear.
No one living in pain wants to be told to suck it up and wait. Pain is always unpleasant. Living with it is like living with a monster only you can see. At first you ignore it. You act like everything is normal because everyone else is acting like it's normal. But by and by the monster gets closer. It takes over your thoughts, clouds your vision, cuts you off from everything you love. The monster slowly devours you, and to your cries for help you hear, "Don't worry. It'll go away eventually. Just ignore it."
I walked out of my appointment nearly ready to cry, which is a big deal for me because I'm not a tears type of person. I don't like crying. Especially not in public when I'm able to walk unaided and the people around me are being treated for cancer or are missing limbs. Their monsters were bigger.
Instead I made a plan. Running was off the table so I'd take up swimming, a nice low-impact activity which would still get me out of my office for an hour or so a day and keep me sane. I grabbed a gym locker from the store and headed home for a quiet afternoon... only to have that derailed.
And on it went. Hour by hour little disasters kept popping up. A problem here. A crying kid there. Chaos and lemons all over the place until I finally tucked the last kid into bed a little after nine and could feel the depression seeping back in to my soul.
I retreated to Tumblr, a varied place that requires very little brain power and offers information, activism, and fandoms all in one convenient scrolling page. I found a Leverage post. I smiled wanly. I read some more. Then turned on an episode of Leverage. And by the second (maybe third) episode I was laughing again.
That's what a good story does. Whether it's a TV show, or a play, or a book, or a song... your favorite stories are a safe place to come home to at the end of the day. They make the pain bearable. They give you friends who understand in a strange, one-sided sort of way. They make life bearable.
It's said laughter is the best medicine. It's true. A laugh on a bad day can turn everything around. The fact that my husband can make me smile on a bad day is why we're still married after thirteen years, a dozen moves, and countless setbacks. Laughter is the buffer that makes weathering the rough seas of life bearable.
So whatever it is that's holding you back today, whatever monster is trying to steal your joy, kick 'em in the balls with a good laugh. Turn up your music. Grab a book. Get a bowl of popcorn and turn on your favorite movie. Take a mid-week moment to just enjoy life again. All those problems will be waiting when the sun comes up, so take a few minutes to save yourself and smile again.
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