I Won "Worst Laugh"


In 8th grade, I had a light-up bracelet and I had crushes on boys who were a year younger than me and I braided my hair with ribbons intertwined into the braids and I made a really weird sound when I laughed. Up to that point, one of my proudest moments was winning the award for "worst laugh." Even as I type this, I'm squinting with disgust at that version of myself, as I know many of us do when we remember our young, foolish days.

But, you know, I really made sense to myself back then. Weirdness, friendliness and cheerleading somehow became my cocktail for positive attention - making people laugh or smile, having them know me for something - whatever. The more people that laughed at how "weird" I was, the more I embraced that identity.

I don't really know how the laugh thing happened. I think I laughed weird by accident this one time and a boy I liked thought the sound I made was funny, so I kept doing it for the next 5-20 years.

I grew up with overly out-there parents (you can Google them), so I guess it makes sense that as I bumbled around trying to figure out who I was, I latched onto "weird." But, now, as I stare THIRTY in the face, I do a cringey sort of half-smile as I remember when I thought my "weirdness" was unique or necessary.

The older I get, the more I see that everyone is super weird, and we're all just trying to do the best we can, or doing whatever level of trying we've made peace with.

I know I've lived most the years I've been given with God completely outside of my identity. But, here, at twenty-nine, as I notice my eyelid skin isn't what it once was, I want more and more to be known as a woman who loved Jesus, rather than a girl who wrote funny stories or had a weird laugh to make a boy like her.

I know that the almost-thirty version of me has it's own light up bracelets and affected quirks and even now, in this season where I'm so raw and hyper-aware, a part of me still wants to find my identity in worthless things.

C.S. Lewis said, "β€œIt would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I don't want Jesus to be someone I admire from a distance. I don't want Him to be my sounding board or a side-gig for my identity. I want Him to take me over. At 22, I tattooed 2 Corinthians 5:17, written in my mom's handwriting, onto my wrist because I wanted my identity to be the "cool Christian girl with tattoos." Now, I just want that verse to be true of my heart - "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come."