Thursday, June 16, 2011

If I Do Not Laugh...I Will Cry

My mother was telling me a story many years ago. Someone she knew had a mother that was an artist. This woman had taken her easel into the forest and was painting what I am sure would have been a beautiful landscape when a tree branch above her fell off of the tree and right on top of her, killing her. As my mother is telling me this story I can kinda tell where it is going and start to giggle. By the time she gets to the tree branch falling I am in near hysterics and at the conclusion of this story I am laughing so hard tears are springing from my eyes and I think I am gonna pee my pants! The sheer absurdity of the situation struck a cord in me, and for some reason I could not contain this laughter. Of course my mother is laughing wildly as well at this point for as we all know, laughter is contagious. Bless that dear woman's soul but I will be darned if we don't giggle like school girls every time this story comes up. Its terrible, its horrible, its something I feel very very guilty about. But despite the guilt and sheer inappropriateness of my reaction, it reaction. 

Then there was this time I was in a big ol' fight with my husband. It was a few years back but I do recall it having something to do with money, for I was sick and cash was flying out the door faster than a heavy-metal-video hot chick's hair in front of a turbo-fan. And we disagreed and were stressed out and not banding together in this time of crisis for our family, but doing what happens all too often and blaming each other, ripping one another apart. As the pressure and tension mount, my husband, being the scotch man that he is, gets up to pour himself a drink. He likes it neat, no ice, in a snifter. It's a small snifter, and he usually fills it about 2 fingers full. But when he walked out of the kitchen I took one look at the glass that was literally filled to the brim with scotch, something I had never seen him do before, and burst out laughing. I could barely force coherent words from my mouth as to why I was laughing so hard. For what was in front of me was so much more than just a glass of scotch 7-fingers-full. It screamed out his distress, despair, fear, anger and frustration that he had not been able to communicate to me in any sort of effective way. It spoke to the volume of his suffering. His most practiced way of dealing with super-stress was to have a drink. But this one glass held about 4 servings and once again the outrageousness of this action sent me into hysterics. He starts laughing too, the absurdity of the situation slowly dawning on him as I rolled around on the ground holding my side and choking out belly aches of laughter. We both dissolve into puddles as all the anger and blame pulse out of us with each shudder and shake, and when we finally calm down we are not mad anymore. We are open, free, back to reading the same page in the same book. It is us against the world. We were able to go on from there united once again, playing for the same team, and facing our problems together. See the laughter had broken the misery...

And that is why if I do not laugh, I will cry. If I cannot look at a terrible and awful state of being such as Fibromyalgia with a glint of respect for how preposterous this situation is, it will take me down. In searching for survival of this illness I have had to learn to make fun of this illness. I have had to laugh at what it has done to me, even if I was crying at the same time. I have made jokes about the stereotypes we are often prey to. The meeting up of a bunch of Fibrates, say at  a convention. Oh the amount of pillows and cots we would need!  It would be like a 24-hour drop-in, "open house",  no set times, just come when you can! No Fibromyalgia Awareness marathon for us. It would be a 1 mile walk, buddy up with another person and take turns pushing each other in the wheelchair! The padded wheelchair, that is. Oh through this adventure in Fibroland I have laughed as much as I have cried. Well maybe not, but... I have only made it this far because I refuse to accept any reality other than my own. And if something horrible or sad or disastrous happens, I can survive it if I can find the absurd. Lift my glass and toast to irony, sarcasm and, simply put, laughter.

Thanks for joining,


  1. I think that laughing is healthier than crying, but also think that we would be walking a slippery slope if this attitude and action was public which it is now this blog. People already don't take Fibromyalgia seriously and if they look to the FM community laughing and joking about FM what example are we setting.
    I'm new to fibromyalgia. But I think with the education of any serious illness should be done by leading by example. I would rather explain FM to someone with full on seriousness, than cracking jokes.
    The fun house in name alone says come in and laugh, but if you want to get the rest of the world to stop and listen we must all be educated and speak with a tone of seriousness to be believed.

  2. Laughter is actually turning out to be the best medicine. What else can one do when constantly on the verge of some new ailment or even in dealing with just the one or the two that they carry? Thank you for your ability to laugh at yourself and for being authentic enough to share it with us. You are appreciated Leah.