This article is a part of the #ShareWhatMatters campaign, a movement dedicated to sharing positivity, gratitude, activism and the stories that really matter.
Growing up with a father who worked in the oil industry, I moved a lot. By a lot I mean almost every year of my life. Adjusting over and over was incredibly difficult for me because I was immensely shy. Some places and people were nicer than others and I learned not to get too attached to the nice ones. When I look back at the instability in my life, I’m extremely grateful for it. I’m grateful for the places I’ve seen and the different people I’ve met. I’ve also realized I couldn’t have done any of it without humor.
When I moved to Louisiana, I was terrified. It was swampy and humid. I’d just moved from the north so naturally the climate change was a huge shock to me. Moving there was also a huge culture shock for me. I could’ve moved out of the country and there would’ve been less of a contrast. My family had to move promptly so we lived in a hotel for awhile while we found a suitable place to live semi-permanently. I was in the second grade and my favorite color was purple. We moved in the middle of the school year so I was preparing to be the new kid in school yet again. My mother was trying to help ease my nerves and bought me an all-purple outfit for school. A purple shirt and purple leggings- I was ecstatic!
The next morning I put on my outfit, shielded from fear by my favorite color. I confidently walked into school with my mom and, after assessing my surroundings, began panicking. This school required uniforms! Believe it or not, the uniforms were not all-purple so I stood out quite a bit. My eyes teared up and my mom felt horrible for not checking ahead of time. They said I could keep my pants but I had to borrow a shirt from the school. Unfortunately, the only size they had was XL and I was a petite second grader. I spent the day trying to hold back tears as I walked around in a shirt-dress with purple leggings underneath. Not only was I the center of attention because I was the new kid, I was the center of attention because I looked silly.
When I got home, I learned the same lesson from my parents I’d been indirectly taught my entire life. I laughed with both of them. We laughed about the hotel room we lived in, we laughed about the day at school and we laughed at my dumb outfit. No matter where we lived, my family was always there. My parents knew things were difficult for us at times and they taught us to laugh in the face of adversity. To this day, it is my biggest strength.
I could laugh with myself, with friends, with family, with my boyfriend or with anyone who would join in.Even when I was totally alone, laughter was there with me. I laughed through different states, cities, and environments. Through assaults, depression and anxiety, I held onto humor and the possibility that I’ll find something to laugh at the next day. The day I can’t find anything to laugh about is the day I’ve died inside. When someone is distressed, my first reaction is to make them laugh. People closest to me know that even if I’m sobbing I need to laugh. I surround myself with people that make me laugh until I cry or until my stomach hurts.
Whenever I leave from visiting my parents to return to college, I listen to stand-up comedy on the trip home. If I fight with somebody or am hurt emotionally, I turn on a comedy or watch funny videos. To me, laughter correlates with happiness.
If you’re going through a difficult time, find something to laugh at. Laugh at a dumb situation, laugh at a movie you love and laugh with friends. In doing this, you’ll learn to create happiness out of thin air. Laughter is magical to me and I urge you to share the enchantment with others.
More About the Author
Lexi Burton is a 20-year-old that has moved over 16 times in the course of her life. She currently studies Economics at the University of Texas at Austin. When she’s not in class she’s an aspiring hippie whose interests include loving tea, music, meditation, reading, and going on adventures. Lexi believes laughter can solve anything and strives to never grow up.