Steven Lake sees himself through his wife’s eyes, and it’s not a pretty picture — it’s hysterical.
If love is the treasure, laughter is the key.
Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself. Don’t know about you but I take myself way too seriously sometimes. The other day while out walking with my wife, she did something unexpected and unprecedented. And it highlighted my behavior in a novel manner.
But first, let me give you some background on my wife’s personality so you can appreciate the outrageous humor of her actions.
My wife is an introvert. She can sit at the kitchen table all day writing her latest visionary sci-fi book. She doesn’t like to be disturbed and the only music wafting through the air is classical.
I can be at home working or out – it doesn’t matter as long as I am quiet if in the house. Her discipline is daunting and comes, I believe, from a long career as a professional dancer. She is serious, often absorbed in thinking about her experience of life and how to be at peace with herself and the world.
You may be wondering, does this woman know how to have fun? Yes she does. She has a sense of humor, though she is not great at telling jokes (she practices), laughs at my jokes (makes me feel good), and enjoys the TV show, Just for Laughs.
The word that best describes her behavior with me is . . . contained. She moves with a dancer’s grace and does not exaggerate in word or deed. Classy, could be another word.
She is an artist but is subdued except in her clothes and how she decorates our living space – lots of color. She is never loud unless really pissed off with me (the first time I saw and heard this side of her surprised the hell out of me).
The only other times I have seen her big or demonstrative is when she is at a party and had a drink or two. Whoa, who is this woman? Then she can easily become the life of the party entertaining and regaling one and all.
On a day-to-day basis however, she is a calm and calming presence in my life.
I on the other hand am a classic extrovert. I act, teach, lead workshops; give me an audience and I light up. I like to talk. Not true, I love to talk. If I don’t have an audience I talk to myself.
I have lots of friends and get energy from being with people. I live for engagement with others. When working alone, rock and roll blasts from the speakers.
As you can see, we are different.
Back to our walk. I was chatting about something when, all of a sudden, Paulette stops and starts mimicking me in voice, movement, and subject matter. She became me, and in a blinding flash I saw myself in all my neurotic splendor. She was so bang on in her impression I exploded into uncontrollable laughter. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t even walk.
I so got myself in that moment – how silly I was in my worry, how it was for her to be dealing with me saying those things, and how utterly ridiculous life was. In that moment I couldn’t take myself seriously anymore.
This was a double win. Not only was I laughing at and accepting myself, but was in awe of my wife’s ability to mimic me in such an outrageous way.
After eighteen years of living together this was a heretofore unseen skill. She was so out there and accurate in her impersonation I was helpless and could only laugh.
Her approach was like poetry, reaching me at a deeper level. She could have spoken to me and tried to explain what it was like and how I was being, but that would have had little effect.
With her creative and spontaneous act, she reached me in a blinding flash bypassing my defense mechanisms and touching me instantly and totally.
I could have been defensive, shut down, resentful or acted in a myriad of old- fashioned masculine ways to perceived threat. But I didn’t. Not sure if I had any conscious say in the matter as my response was instantaneous.
I think this automatic response is indicative of who I have become. In the past I might have protested. Now, in an act of self-love I accept all of me, even the silly neurotic parts.
I believe the modern man does not have to be perfect and can laugh at himself without diminishing his masculinity. There is something special and revealing that occurs when you laugh at yourself.
As Eric Mabius said:
Being able to laugh at yourself can help you hang on to your perspective.
And there’s an intimacy in laughter that nothing else can come close to.
Also by Steven Lake
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