By Guest Blogger Banji Ganchrow
We all have some form of stress in our lives. And whatever that stress may, whether it be the “real” kind… divorce, destruction, illness, death, or the “real-to-me” kind… I ate too much, my kids are driving me crazy, why do I have to help you with your homework, somebody shoot my mother-in-law… we all deal with it differently.
Some of us eat, some of us don’t eat (I, personally, never understood those people), some of us exercise, some of us walk around grumpy (which is probably also a form of exercise), some lock themselves in a room and cry, and still some just cry all of the time and in front of anyone or anything that will listen. I feel that life is too short for that. Certainly, everyone is entitled to deal with stress, sadness and life changing experiences in any way they see fit. What works for you, is what’s best for you (hopefully). My way of dealing with stress has always been to find a way to laugh through it… and hopefully make others laugh too. Nothing puts me into a better mood than hearing people laugh at something I have said (wait, are they laughing at me or with me?)
Here are a few examples in my life:
When my son had minor surgery a couple of years ago, the doctor gave him a sedative that made him rather loopy. My poor little three year old started telling me he was seeing “Flying doggies.” “Can I get some of what he’s having?” I begged the doctor. “I promise I won’t tell.” But that didn’t work, and the doctor’s license is still safely intact and I remain drug free. Though watching my little angel having his own form of an acid trip certainly made the experience a little less intense for me.
A few years ago, my next door neighbor’s house exploded because of a gas leak. There had been a smell of gas wafting from his house for a few weeks before this happened. Unfortunately, he died and because I was the one who had called the gas company just hours before the explosion to complain again about the smell of gas, the TV crews swarmed to meet me. Though still not allowed inside my own house to see the damage, I was thankful to God that my family was ok. I was also beside myself that my poor neighbor did not survive (I just kept wishing he was out on his bicycle somewhere). And there I was, with all these microphones and cameras in my face and all I could say to these people was “Crap, I should’ve lost those 30 pounds before making my big TV debut.” They thought I was crazy. But, humor has always got me through the chaos.
Have you ever been in the middle of Walmart and your kid is lying on the floor kicking and screaming and throwing a tantrum? There are the moms who stress over it, and then there’s me… the mom laughing through it. Laughing that this is just the craziest scene and can’t believe that I am the central character in it, and laughing because if I don’t laugh… I’ll cry!
Someone once told me the expression “Keep complaining and God will give you something to complain about.” My prayer, almost every night is “Dear god, PLEASE PLEASE don’t give me something REAL to complain about.” Some people stress about their kids, or someone getting sick. I stress about things breaking down in the house. See, if anything in the house breaks (which it often does), I am the one responsible to fix it because my spouse, or husband #1 as I like to call him, doesn’t know a light bulb from a tuna fish can. And I am not kidding. Sweet man, yes…handy man, no. Perhaps husband #2 will be handy, who knows…
A few years ago, I went through the pain of miscarrying. Is there humor in multiple miscarriages? Well, I have three healthy boys, and although the losses after three healthy pregnancies were heart wrenching, and I did go through the “Don’t come within a foot of me if you are pregnant or have a new baby” stage, I had to look up at the sky and say “Man, you really do think I would suck as a mom of a girl!!” (All my miscarriages had been girls… go figure). I didn’t complain about miscarrying even though I was quite sad. Instead, I just had to look at my boys and realize how lucky I was to have them. I once read that God gives us what we need and what we can handle. I like to remember that during the moments when I feel I could lose it. And then I laugh.
So there it is. Get up in the morning, look at yourself in the mirror and laugh. Laugh that you have lived another day. Laugh that you have survived waking up to see what the world has to throw at you today. Whether it be filled with joy, like your fourteen year old telling you that you are the best mom ever (well, sure kid, I do every single freaking thing you ask me to, of course I am the best mom ever) or something that might not be as joyous (and I am not putting any of those examples out into the universe), just laugh. Laugh because, apparently and according to many plastic surgeons, smiles are better for you than frowns.
Here’s one to try and laugh at!
And tell us, do you ever find humor in chaos? Do you laugh through the hard times instead of complaining?
Banji Ganchrow is a frustrated comedian and writer, and middle child who has low self-esteem. Mother of 3 all-sport-loving boys (which is ok because she doesn’t like shopping). Banji is a former substance abuse counselor and lover of all things milk chocolate or cheesecake.