So I went to see the movie "Crazy Stupid Love" Friday night with friends. I started the evening off in a great mood, as I had just gotten my hair cut into a really sweet mohawk, had a cute dress on and was feeling good. I was feeling very confident in who I was and we were laughing and joking & having the great time. Well, I'm not gonna talk about the movie, as to not spoil it for anyone, but I will say it's pretty dang funny. And anyone who knows me knows I have a unique laugh that can be pretty loud. Well, about forty-five minutes into the movie, the girl next to me leans over and says (in a not so pleasant tone), "Excuse me, but I paid money to come here and watch this movie, not to listen to you." I was taken totally off guard and said, "I'm sorry." And then she felt the need to repeat herself one more time. I again apologized. So I was officially that obnoxious person in the movie theater who ruined a movie going experience for someone. I sat there the rest of the movie and squelched my laughter as to not bother the girl sitting next to me any further. And I've been thinking about that experience since it happened.
One of my favorite books is "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldridge. I have read it at least four times and it's all marked up, underlined, highlighted and has things written all over in the margins. Every time I read it, something new sticks out and really grabs me as a truth for my life. One of the things they talk about in the book is this battle that women struggle with. The battle of either being too much or not enough. And I struggle with the "too much" quite often. I'm too opinionated. I'm too independent. I'm too organized. I'm too sensitive. I'm too loud. I'm too nice. I am just too much. And my laughter in the movie theater was a prime example that I am too much. I laugh too loud and too often. And in order to "make peace," I had to squelch my laughter and "tone it down" so I wouldn't be too much anymore.
And the more I thought about this, the more upset I got. Why the hell should I squelch my laughter for a perfect stranger let alone anyone else? Why would I choose to deny my true self in order to save face? I don't know why I did that, but I did. And not only did I squelch my laughter, but I allowed that experience to steal my joy and bring back old wounds. Growing up, people would tease me about my laugh. They would call me the human vacuum and just be really cruel to me every time I would laugh. So I learned to both squelch my laugh and to be ashamed of it. I hid my authentic laugh for a long time. And some time in my mid-twenties, I let it creep out. And my pastor began calling me out in service for laughing. I now know he meant it in a loving way, but at the time took it as further disapproval. But as I began letting it out little by little, people began to tell me they loved my laugh, that it was contagious and joy-filled. And I learned how to embrace my unique and loud laugh. That is, until things like Friday night happen. Then I suddenly revert back to being teased as a kid for laughing and just want to run away and hide.
And then I wonder....what else am I squelching because I think it's "too much???"