I have always been amazed at the power of laughter, but lately it's been hitting me in a way that it never has. I have always loved the fact that I could spontaneously make a room full of people laugh. I mean, its so universal and guttural.
I've been able to make the grumpiest of people turn that frown around in a second.
When I was a kid, there was a guy at the Savin Hill train station who worked the booth.
He looked so miserable, so every time I went to take the train I would set my mind to make him smile.
He never would, until one day, out of nowhere, it happened! He smiled and I went to pay and he clicked the turnstyle and let me through.
I remember he let me ride for free from that day on. I was too young to make the connection between kindness and currency back then and as a teenager my anger caught up with me and I learned about sarcasm and began to use this power in a bad way.
It hurt others but mostly it hurt me. It was like a depleting life force.
There is something so powerful now about the fact that I use my ability as a life-giving force. I have control over it. I don't just react out fear and hurt others with it.
I remember sitting with an Italian chef who spoke only a tiny bit of English, and telling him stories about growing up and he was laughing uncontrollably.
I was fascinated with the fact that the connection was deeper than words — it was an energy.
The only way I can describe it is that I used to do it for attention, make people laugh I mean, but now I do it to make people feel good. I want people to feel better. I want them to stop worrying. I want them to turn that frown upside down.
I do it as life-affirming and life-giving. I have a child's heart and a grown woman's self-restraint.