Your Favorite of All Your Selves
Updated: Mar 17, 2022
First of all, I have to admit that it wasn't even objectively funny. It certainly wasn't meant to be funny.
That said: I saw this random post offering a free fridge in a Facebook group and started laughing, like really losing it laughing.
I don't totally know why. Probably because of the way "the door falls off too" is kind of positioned in the same place, marketing-wise, as an additional feature? But then I just kept laughing.
I currently live on a rainforest retreat center in Costa Rica, where all my colleagues are local. My friend Catheríne, who doesn't speak English, was sitting next to me when this happened, legitimately curious about what was so funny about an ad for a fridge. (Now that I think about it, I really hope she didn't think I was making fun of poor people and their janky appliances, because I come from broken fridge people. I once lived in a punk house that had a broken fridge in the middle of the driveway, for five months straight, that had never even been inside the house, because someone had thought it was a good idea to bring a broken fridge home and then, mid-driveway, abruptly changed their mind.) I tried to explain and did that thing where I was laughing too hard to finish the sentence. And also, when the sentence was out, it didn't make enough sense to be that funny. Like, you see, it's a... a... it's a... a broken...fridge. And the... and the door... the door falls off.
I was crying. I was lurching off the chair. I've seen a ton of funny shit on the internet, but this, this guy right here, this was the massive supernova of all funny shit I had seen on the internet.
Then it became funny that it wasn't that funny, which made it funnier. And at the same time, it probably had nothing to do with anything but joy. This joy that has recently come back, or been rebuilt, or is maybe new since the pandemic came along, yanked me out of an otherwise beautiful situation full of unsolvable problems, and gave me what I needed instead of what I wanted, which eventually ended up being way more of what I wanted, I'm not sure. (It's a long story. Anyway, I'm in Costa Rica now.)
There's kind of no such thing as a self. I like that saying, that we're the sum of the five people we spend the most time around, so we have to choose carefully who we spend time with. Eleven years ago, I very intentionally chose to leave my life with the driveway refrigerator punks behind so that I could spend almost all my time with a new partner who made dreams a reality, and at the time there was so much other love that it wasn't so important to me that I never laughed so hard that I couldn't talk while I was with him.
I was aware of it from the beginning, but it didn't feel like such a bad compromise back then. I had been laughing really hard for years with a bunch of anarchists who didn't accomplish very much, and I was kind of over the whole scene.
Sometimes, when it's freezing, I can't imagine that being too hot could ever be a problem. And then later, when it's sweltering hot, being too cold doesn't feel that serious.
There is no one "self." We are all so capable of being so many things. And yet, there is ones own favorite version of oneself. My favorite version of myself laughs shamelessly hard, about ridiculous, absurd things, until I'm tearing up and maybe drooling.
A huge part of why I'm friends with Catheríne, despite the fact that she has to repeat, explain, and teach me vocabulary words in order for half of her jokes to make sense to me, is that we laugh so hard together. And I just can't compromise that laughter away anymore, ever again, no matter how appealing the trade-off is.
This is who I like to be.
This is one of my favorite things to do in sessions: to find the hidden agreements that we've all made, long ago, to give up a joy or a truth in exchange for comfort, or acceptance, or survival.
Those agreements were always originally meant to protect us, and they are always, without fail, a pain in the ass to keep around.
In the body, an injury like an ankle sprain will temporarily cause a limp, which makes complete sense at a time when that ankle needs to be protected. The opposite hip will typically seize up a bit, the gait will make up a new pattern of keeping the weight on the other foot, and the spine will bend a bit so that the hips can be crooked but the eyes can stay level - which is super important to bipeds like us, or else we'll feel like the world has gone diagonal and we're going to fall over all the time. None of that is a problem while your ankle is an inflamed, torn-up mess. It's actually really smart - it gets you through.
The problem is when your ankle heals, but the body is too cautious, or too stiff, to let go of all that compensation. Your ankle is fine now, but your hip is still seized up, your spine is still bent, your other foot is overworked, and your eyes are convinced that if it all doesn't stay that way, you're going to tip over.
Yeah, so... same with feelings. Same with not expressing yourself. Same with being terrified of making anyone mad. Same with feeling like it's rude or childish to laugh as hard as you feel inspired to laugh. Same with not taking a walk after dark, ever, even when you now live thousands of miles away from wherever it is that whatever happened. Same with breaking out in a cold sweat in the Costco parking lot because of the IEDs that don't even exist.
This is the sad mistake my subconscious made: believing that getting nothing done had anything to do with laughing, or that accomplishment had anything to do with feeling compromised.
Oh, poor little monkey mind - correlation is not causation. That's a basic rule of science.
The subconscious is not very scientific.
I can still accomplish plenty while laughing. Or - more precisely, I can still accomplish plenty while being the version of myself that often laughs so hard that I double over and gasp for air, although, yeah, I'm not getting very much done during that exact moment. But overall, I can. Maybe more, actually.
This is the kind of thing I want to help people find the way to. This feels amazing. This feels like the place where all the true talents begin and grow. You deserve to be who you most like to be, especially when that's all the things you've never been able to be at once before.
Anika M. Zabohne is an intuitive counselor, energetic healer, cranio-sacral therapist, massage therapist, and giant fan of stand-up comedy. Her practice is currently based in Costa Rica, where she's doing some Eat Pray Love kinda stuff, and offers sessions online via allmannerofmagic.com. She thinks this article on a cake recipe-related internet meltdown is the second-funniest thing she's seen lately besides the fridge, but in the kind of way where other people also agree it's hilarious.