There once was a boy who loved to laugh.
He was a hard working guy with a good job, an enviable social life, a healthy family, but everyone knew him for his mirthfulness. He laughed when he was happy. He laughed when he was sad. The stressful times were dealt with a chuckle, as patronising as they may be, and so were those anxious days. A good belly laugh was the boy’s ironical version of crying ‘wolf’. People expected to see this chirpy side every time he set foot in public.
However, while they enjoyed his gleeful company, they questioned his joy: ‘How can you always be so happy?’
Was he playing a trick and fooling the ones around him with his selfless laughter, or was he really that happy? How can a laugh that pure and inundated not come straight-from-the-heart? Was he being dishonest to himself with this fake joy? Or was he just masking a deep, inferior pain?
Witnessing his chuckle was the kind you see in silent black and white movies from the ’50s, where you don’t understand why a fall down the stairs is funny, but you still join for a giggle. You do it with a sense of mystery and awe.
Was the boy really this happy all the time, was the pressing question…
He laughed when he got booted out of his job. The dream job that had him going swiftly on that ideal career path. He thought, jobs are part of your life, they are not the entirety of your life.
He smiled when he found out his mum had stage II blood cancer, because that was the only way he would be able to survive the emotional pain. Plus, his mother hated seeing him cry; he had to be strong, for her.
He had a falling out with two of his best friends, but he still kept laughing. He realised that it’s never easy to part ways with someone whose played such an important part in the majority of your life, but isn’t that what ‘growing up’ is about? After all, you can’t be young and stupid all your life. Someone always grows up, and the other one always moves on.
But then there was a day when all he wanted to do was be cynical, miserable, grumpy, whiney and everything the world didn’t expect him to be. He just wanted to be vulnerable, honest, raw and mask-free in front of the world, so they could stop taking advantage of his joyous personality. That was the day when he was tired of being a polished media version of what the world wanted him to be. He just wanted to express himself authentically, without any inhibitions. It was the day when he didn’t want to reach the peak of his happiness, instead he just wanted to crawl in a little cocoon of sadness and weep. Weep like a baby.
But it never happened.
Because, sometimes you just have to keep smiling, however unauthentic and fake it may be, because that alter ego version of you is what ultimately defines you.
It’s what ultimately defined the boy. He became known as the boy who cried with laughter, and never cried tears.