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laughter is learnt

by Caitlin Nightingale 2 months ago in Humanity · updated 2 months ago
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until you can’t laugh, you don’t realize it’s a skill & a gift & a maddening siren.

laughter is learnt
Photo by Maksim Shutov on Unsplash

ive learned to laugh again.

i have never ever been the girl with glasses on in the club.

yes, those two thoughts DO connect.

shortly before the video below was taken, i’d dissolved into tears & sobbed for a good twenty minutes on my friend’s shoulder while my sweet friend running the bathroom doors at Gospël, held off the crowd …

earlier that evening someone i had just met heard one sentence of where & how i grew up & asked point blank “was it hard losing your whole family? what was that like?”

… at dinner, over an espresso martini.

thank god i have grown enough to be comfortable not answering stupid questions … but two hours later i was still simmering from the cruelty and insensitivity. not because i cared what she thought, but because it hurt, i felt like i had been punched in the stomach, and i did not know how to find my breath.

when the emotion boiled over, it was not offense at her idiocy, it was heartbreak over my loss.

i could not keep it in, and i hope i never stop being able to feel my loss, and metabolize with tears or anger or working it off as i need, as long as i love & live. because my tears a badge of honor.

yes, i lost almost everyone i grew up with. that is not the point of this moment’s thought, that will be visited later …

but my ability to cry, & afterwards laugh is a muscle & a gift & a skill i have worked so hard to live in. it took ten plus years of therapy, and psychedelics in the jungle, and bodywork, and searching and mistakes and training for marathons (or doing ANY thing that i felt would help me work the pain through my body). microdosing therapy and screaming from mountaintops are shockingly helpful by the way. but to hit the high i felt in this video, that took WORK. it took practice. it has taken presence.

i was happy in this moment because i learned to not be afraid to be sad. i learned i could feel the whole panoply of emotion, the deepest sorrow to the mundane to the bored to the deepest unexpected ecstasy. i could be comfortable i would not get stuck in any one feeling. i could trust the undulations of my moments and emotions.

i could trust my heart to feel the dark side of the moon and still find the light again.

i worked so hard to be able to mourn my loss, to feel it instead of being completely numb and emotionless. i had been scared for years to feel it fully because i did not want to get stuck in sadness. from that fear, i sacrificed my ability to laugh, to feel anything really.

crying and feeling a thing for me is like working out and burning the fat off … metabolizing the pain … letting it burn, so i can bask in the sun. on the other side of every tear, bedraggled and bleary eyed i have found i can feel joy again and be able to feel the bliss of being alive and loved.

here’s to the rainbow of feelings, in all their glory. here’s to silly questions by unconscious people, that lead to our bliss.


About the author

Caitlin Nightingale

The many moods of a moon child.

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