I had never heard of Michael Jr. He is a comedian. I found him through the website: I Like Giving. I have found myself over the last few weeks going back and watching a video, absorbing it and then coming back at a later time for a new one.
He shares his story of “giving laughter.” I love that idea. I remember a cassette tape I listened to when I was young. The narrator told a story and at the end said to “Go and give a good time.” I think about that often when I am in a situation I do not want to be in or where I, for whatever reason, cannot get out of it. I think what could I do to give in this situation? There are a few ideas he shares that hit home:
“My punchline is to make laughter common place in uncommon places.”
You will want to listen to the part (at 1:48) about the little boy who had been abused by his mom, and how Michael Jr. connects to him through laughter. I had tears. He ends his interview with:
“If we could just stop asking the question: what can I get for myself, and start asking what can I give from myself.”
Enjoy, and maybe take a moment to see other videos shared on I Like Giving.
I love hearing laughter, especially the full body kind that you can feel in your bones, that can be contagious. I love hearing my niece laugh. I am adamantly addicted to her and cannot go for more than a month or so without seeing again. She is growing up so fast. I vicariously see her through the videos my sister sends to me. She sent me a video of Charlie a few days ago (at 13 months) trying to put on her socks and shoes. She was like her Aunt Tami — relentless. She just kept trying and trying. It was so precious to watch her try to fit the shoe on her foot, and then open the velcro, and then when that still did not go on her foot, she tried her socks.
I am head over heels in love with that little munchkin, and one of the things I love most is her deep and utterly free laugh. So when I saw this video of this baby and dog, I instant thought of past videos of Charlie. The squeals of joy that come out of that baby!
What is not to love? Especially how similar it is to a much younger version of Charlie (maybe at 6 months)? I also included it below.
Irresistible right? I just want to eat her up. While I do not get to see her every day, I wonder as she gets older if it will be harder and harder to get her to giggle like that from head to toe. If only we could all giggle and laugh like that throughout our day. We got a bit slap happy at a work meeting yesterday where a few of us had tears in our eyes from laughing, but that at times is the closest we get to that uncontrollable laughter of a baby when they find something funny. Let’s try to laugh more.
I cannot help but be grateful on this Christmas Eve. There is so much to be grateful for in life. An amazing husband, job, home, the happiest of nieces, my family, friends, laughter, just so much. While I am stuck at home with this awful gunk that has been going around, and snuggled in bed or on the couch, I still feel such immense gratitude for all the good that is happening in my life.
Yesterday (and the day before that too) my sister Facetimed me so that hopefully Charlie and her playfulness and laughter would cheer me up from feeling so horrible. Charlie has recently found sneezing (and I just found out burping) to be funny. Mind you she has a sense of humor because she is 10 months old today. To add to the sneezing and burping, my horrendous cough was making her giggle. Multiple times throughout our chat I would cough (you know the deep, uncomfortable kind that hurts) and she would giggle. While not fun to cough, it was fun to see her laugh and giggle. See goodness while feeling like shit.
Chris has been taking good care of me. He ran a few errands for me yesterday that should have taken an hour, and due to the holiday hell out, it took 3 hours. A good friend came to visit and we hung out for a few hours. I feel loved. While it will be just Chris and I for Christmas Day this year, and we have no idea how we are going to spend the day, I am actually looking forward to the quiet, no obligations to anyone, no plan, and selfishly to sleep in and be lazy together. And…hopefully to be done with this bug. Goodness and gratitude.
What are you grateful for on this Christmas Eve? Will you be with your family or friends? Flying solo? Regardless of where you are, what is good in your life and what are you grateful for today?
I heard someone say this yesterday: “I got swagger.” I thought to myself: “I got swagger, maybe not today, but I got swagger.” Yesterday was a strange day. I felt an array of emotions, from anger, frustration, to laughter, sass, and yes swagger.
How do we keep our swagger? I think of all the people who I have looked up to in my life. Those that have inspired me, made my jaw drop, or just had me often say: Wow. They are the people who make us think differently. A professor in college had swagger. She had a way of making you enamored with her. You wanted her opinion, craved her attention, and missed her when she was not around. She had swagger.
My niece has swagger. I have been watching kids on and off since I was nine. From all the kids I have taken care of, to the 6 week old and up children I took care of at a day care during college, to my friend’s kids, my niece has got it. Of course I am biased, how can I not be, but that kid lights up a room, makes you laugh, and has something very special about her. I mean look at this photo. (She is the blond at the back of the circle of girls that all want to dote on her.) Swagger.
My husband has swagger. I cannot handle frustrating customer service situations. I have lived in that world too long, that when I have a shitty experience I go volatile and cannot handle the fact that I get sub-par service. He handles it with poise, firmness, and patience. That man has swagger.
A friend is going through a hard time in her marriage. She is working it through in her way. She is so selfless at work and with her child. She makes us all laugh, keeps it real, and tells it like it is. She has swagger.
I tell it like it is almost always (I do have a tiny filter when really needed). I suck the life out of my day. I love people, helping them, listening, and doing what I can to be there for them. I am a bit sassy. I got swagger.
My mom’s last words to me were: “You are strong.” Who knows what she meant as I was sixteen and not savvy enough to ask her what she meant by it. Maybe it was her way of telling me to “Be strong.” Or maybe it was to reinforce that she felt I was strong in my bones. I will never know, and maybe it does not even matter. It was the first line of my college entrance essay. I wish I still had a copy of it. I would be curious to know how I had processed the next two years of my life before writing about her to get into college. I think I wanted them to know that I was not just another number, that I had lived a life that many have not before they enter college. I wanted to somehow stand out. I needed to stand out as I had no Plan B. I applied to one college and luckily I got in.
I am rambling though. I recently came across this quote from Brenda Shaughnessy. She is an American poet and trust me, I do not follow her at all because somehow my brain and poetry just do not mix. I have never melded well with poetry or understood it. Sure there are poems that sink into my core and change the way that I look at the world, but most of the time I feel perplexed and wonder how they did it. In any case, I am definitely not into poetry because it took me this long to introduce this quote to you:
“I came to see that what constitutes strength is not just a muscle or will. It can also include the most desperate vulnerability, the saddest heartache, the lightest, sweetest laughter.”
I do not remember how, but this quote came into my inbox last week, and stuck with me. I had to share it. So often we think others are strong because they have been through so much (I get that from time to time based on my past). Sometimes we might think someone is strong because they consistently stick to a routine or a workout schedule. Maybe they get up at 4 am to ensure that they have the opportunity to push themselves and their bodies before the rest of their family wakes up and starts the day.
I have written quite a few posts on vulnerability. It is a word that energizes me. There is something about being vulnerable that gives an aura of strength. It says that person is not afraid to put oneself out there and be granted with whatever reaction is returned. Whether they share the scary parts of their life, their saddest and lowest parts, or as Shaughnessy says: the parts that bring laughter. I will give you an example.
A few weeks ago I was traveling with a colleague and my boss. We were walking through the airport to our gate and talking. I was following both of them (both are men) and as they each walked into the bathroom I started to follow them in, only to realize I was walking into the men’s restroom. Ooops. Luckily I caught myself in time, reversed course and moved on to the women’s bathroom. They both had a good laugh and via text it got back to my other co-workers. I could have either be completely embarrassed and devastated, or just rolled with it. I rolled with it and had a good laugh with them.
Sometimes being vulnerable brings us to our strength, whether through tears or laughter.