‘You’ve got to build up the experiences and then have enough regrets to make songs about them.’ – Florence Welch
Things that are embarrassing, frustrating, or hurtful in the moment can make funny stories later on.
A couple of years ago, I was at a student pub – completely sober – and I tripped and fell down. I realized I had tripped over someone’s foot. That someone was kneeling and giving a massage to another person who was sitting in a chair. He was tending to her shoulders and back in what seemed like a friendly gesture of kindness, and I happened to trip over him. I ended up sitting with them and talking, and I befriended the girl to whom he gave the massage.
At the time, I berated myself for tripping and connected my fall with my cerebral palsy, but I realize now that anyone could have tripped in that situation. Anyone – disabled or sober or able-bodied or drunk – could have fallen over someone else’s leg if he were positioned in such a way to give another person a massage. I can laugh at the circumstance now and I can use it to understand that everyone falls or trips or tumbles from time to time, but – at the time – I was really embarrassed. I didn’t cry or get visibly mad about it. I was frustrated more with myself than anyone else, and I knew that other people had probably seen me fall down. At the time – though I tried to shake off the frustration – I didn’t think it was as funny as I now find it.
I told the story tonight to a friend of mine and we both laughed. We thought the whole thing was bizarrely ridiculously funny. It feels good to be able to laugh about it now instead of using it to berate myself for being disabled. I’ve learned from living in England that one of the best ways to deal with difficult situations is to find the humor in them and laugh.