I was working form home one Friday and I made myself a microwave Lean Cuisine lasagna for lunch. It was very tiny. One might say: teeny tiny.
Upon looking at this teeny tiny lasagna, an image (or daydream sequence?) suddenly came to mind.
What if I were to tell Jimmy’s family that I was going to make a homemade lasagna for the first time ever for an upcoming family function? They make fun of me for not knowing how to work an oven, so this would be big news, and it would be this whole production. I’d start a rumor about how my amateur lasagna was even better than his sister’s, how we were going to invite everyone to come stand around the oven for the big reveal, how it turns out I’m a spectacular cook, I just hadn’t really tried yet. We’d tell them about how I started preparing to make this lasagna weeks in advance, studying recipes, gathering the best ingredients, doing trial runs only to start all over and do them again. Then, the day would arrive. We’d have the entire family standing in the kitchen, gathered around the oven. I’d put on my brand new oversized pink oven mitts. I’d waltz over to the oven with a prideful smile beaming across my face. I’d open it slowly to build suspense, reach in, and carefully pull out: a teeny tiny Lean Cuisine lasagna.
So, again, this was a super random, and completely unprovoked, daydream-type sequence that came to me as I was eating a Lean Cuisine lasagna. Jimmy came into the kitchen to find me laughing hysterically. I could not stop. I literally had cracked myself up, to the point where I was having trouble breathing and tears were streaming down my face.
I’m not really sure why the teeny tiny lasagna was SO amusing, but, this is actually one of the results I’ve gotten from the work. I cry a lot easier in front of other people (often in public) — but I laugh a lot easier, too. Something takes hold and laughter just bubbles out involuntarily. That may sound like a really small thing (or like something that is or should be normal), but for me it’s kind of huge. I think sometimes when we talk about “vulnerability,” we think of people sharing things that are really difficult for them. But sharing and showing joy is pretty vulnerable, too — at least it feels that way to me, in large part because of the household I grew up in (laughing and showing joy or excitement was seen as being or looking silly in my family, and being or looking silly was a very bad thing).
So, I share this story here both to just share the thought that it brought to mind, and also to memorialize it for myself. I want more moments like this — of joy, silliness, and easy laughter — and less moments of stress and overwhelm. I declare creating that for myself this summer.