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Saturday, 20 October 2018

That Laugh


I have been blessed in my life with some of the best of friends. My friends are always there for me. They are incredibly loyal. I can count on them at any and every time.


I had a fun evening recently with some of those friends, and I let out a familiar laugh. It isn’t one that comes out all the time, but it comes out at special times. We all are capable of that laugh. Everyone’s laugh may sound a little different from each other, but the intensity of that laugh is the same. The laugh is the one that you make when you are surrounded by people you are so comfortable with, that you can be sincere with, that you aren’t worried about being judged by, that you can simply ‘be’ with. It is the laugh that comes out when your every guard and defense is let down and the laugh simply happens. Mine comes out as a “tee-hee”, that my wife equates to the Pillsbury Doughboy. It is a silly sound, that comes from my gut.


Being a geek back then, meant that I got picked on, teased, and taunted regularly, and eventually beat up. I was able to lessen the frequency of these incidents by blending in, pretending to like sports, and being less geeky. By shutting up, not seen openly having fun or laughing. By disappearing.


I had no friends like me. I didn’t even know there were any like me. Then I met Richard. We liked all the same things. We read comics, listened to the same music, liked the same movies. Instead of being made fun of, every little geeky thing I talked about was one upped by a geeky thing he would say. Our frequency of hanging out directly coincided with the decrease of being beat, mocked and teased. This was an epiphany moment where I was able to laugh again. Like, really laugh.


Richard was my best friend. But he passed on at a young age. Eventually I found other friends. I took some time. I was leery of who was out there, and I reverted to putting on the mask again to protect myself. I learned how to blend in and be normal. I had friends that I wore the mask with, but I soon found friends I could take the mask off with and just be me.


And eventually I just grew up. I don’t wear the mask anymore. But I still only truly laugh when I am with my real friends, the friends I trust, the friends who are there for me. I don’t hide my love of nerdy stuff in public. I still get weird looks, even in this day and age where nerd culture is more popular than sports, but I don’t hide what I like. I don’t shut down and blend in anymore. I am me and unique and I am happy in my own skin. I am not embarrassed for being me anymore.


That laugh comes often now. That feeling of being so comfortable, that it just comes out, unfiltered.