What laughing at myself means to me

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Are you able to laugh at yourself? Or do you take yourself so seriously that when something disability-related happens, you get angry? Let me give you an example:

I flew off my wheelchair about six months ago when the EZ-Lock bolt on the bottom of my chair caught a ledge in the sidewalk. I landed face down, head pointing the opposite direction of my chair and am quite sure I was knocked out for a split second or two. Yet the first thing out of my mouth as I laid there face down on the sidewalk, on top of my now-ringing telephone was, “I meant to do that,” followed by a chuckle and an over-pronounced, “Ow….”

Thankfully four random strangers came and flipped me over and got me back up on my chair. Covered in leaves and dirt and blood (my chin was bleeding) I made my way into the restaurant where I was meeting some friends and re-hashed the story, complete with laughter, before going to the bathroom and washing up.

It took time for me to reach the point where I could laugh at myself and the things that my disability presented to me. There was a time when the predominant feeling during a moment like the one I described would have been embarrassment or frustration or anger. But nowadays  I laugh. Why? Because laughing at it has been the best way for me to deal with these unexpected moments. I didn’t gain anything from being embarrassed or angry in the past. But at least now I realize I can turn these events into funny stories, like this one for example.

I also think this laughter is a good indication that I have accepted my disorder and moved past it. That’s what being able to laugh means to me. It means acceptance, moving beyond my disability, and not letting it interfere with my life by allowing the anger and frustration to consume me. In this sense, laughter really is the best medicine.

And when you have a disease for which there really is no medicine, laughter is a great holdover.

By the way, the stupidest part of this whole thing was that I don’t even have EZ-Lock in my van. The bolt was on the chair when I bought it off Craigslist and I never removed it because it never got in the way until that day. Needless to say that bolt was removed the next day and I haven’t fallen since. (Or yet!)

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