“We do know… that repression is the soul of wit, and that sudden laughter represents the breakthrough of the deeply repressed”
(James Hillman, Cookbook, 78)
We love to laugh, we humans. The best kinds of laughs are also the worst – coming at inappropriate times, in inappropriate places; making us behave inappropriately. There are all kinds of laughter – chuckles, giggles, sniggers, guffaws (can’t say I hear those often), belly-laughs; falling down, rolling-around hysterics.
Tonight I laughed – I made myself laugh – long and loud in the face of abuse (down the telephone line as he ranted and cursed me in ways that would turn a sailor’s toes). It was my only defense, and it worked brilliantly; the abuser lost track of himself and gave up.
I remember doing this as a child – when my rough-and-tumble siblings overpowered me (as they could) I would push past the pain of their blows and laugh at their efforts. Inevitably I would come out on top. If only because laughing felt so darn good.
Laughter has its own magic. It can do so many things; it can disarm the most difficult opponent, empower the dis-empowered, make weak the strong and make strong the weak. Laughter can stop us in our tracks and make us take a good look – what is so funny?
Nothing is more beautiful to me than the sound of children laughing. Nothing feels better than laughing so deliriously I cannot scrape myself off the ground, limbs all floppy, eyes streaming with tears. Nothing is more powerful than keeping hold of humour – and letting it all go with a howl.
Laughter shows us something (unrealised) of who we are when we least expect it. Tonight it showed me that I am well and truly past allowing anyone to treat me poorly. All of a sudden everything is much clearer.