"To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it." - Charlie Chaplin
Few journeys are as frightening as the one I face on my way to the studio. In those harrowing five blocks, I navigate uneven cobblestone in stiletto heels, strategically furrow my bold brow to ward off concupiscent construction workers, and avoid eye contact with eager college students armed with clipboards and the latest guilt-inducing half-facts for the "trendy grassroots cause of the week," as I like to call it. Even after I swipe my card and struggle to open those heavy glass doors, my day is full of treading lightly as I carry my cup of coffee up the stairs as not to spill it on myself, subtly checking my lipstick in the iPhone's front-facing camera to make sure that none of it somehow ended up on my teeth (how does that even happen?) or too much didn't smudge off so it's all lip liner, (like in my last outfit post... oops.) and other various ways of not making a general fool of myself. Pause and think about that for a moment. Life is hard. Now, this is not the time to get self-righteous and lambast me in the comments with things like "*eyeroll* E.M., I didn't come here to read about your FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS." Hear me out. How much of our time do we spend on self-preservation? How much of that could be spent doing actual, you know, productive things? Quite a bit. What kind of vitriol do we think is in store for us if we fall down the office stairs while carrying a stack of paper? Will we lose our jobs? Unlikely. Will others lose respect for us? Even more unlikely. Why? We're all human. We're all flawed. We do some REALLY stupid things and if we can't just laugh at ourselves then what are we even doing, dammit?
I wish self-help books were a little less "be the best that you can be, NOW, OR ELSE!" and more "just learn to laugh at yourself, homegirl." Laughter is the most powerful anti-anxiety medicine for me. It's important to recognize and be mindful of the difference between tasteful bits of self-depricating humor and downright self-disrespect but when you find where your boundaries are, the little things tend to add up and slowly drive us to depression are deemed utterly powerless. Go back and read that. When inevitably embarrass yourself, you can take the sword out of your own hand by cracking a smile instead of wanting to hide away forever. You gain that much more control over your life and the things that bother you. This is incredibly important. It's like being kind to bullies to let them know that they don't bother you but in this case, the weaker part of you is the bully and you have to prove to yourself that your stronger part is in control. If you can take control of these little moments, you're well on your way to owning even your largest flaws. To quote Tyrion Lanniester, "Never forget what you are. The rest of the world will not. Wear it like armor, and it can never be used to hurt you." That's some serious self-confidence right there. It's not easy to go right from zero to Tyrion Lannister but not taking yourself so seriously all the time is sure a fantastic start.