Learning to Laugh

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When I was barely two-years-old, I waddled over to a pair of gloves hanging over the kitchen sink. Reaching out one chubby hand, I grasped a glove and shook it. "Nice to meet you," I said, straight-faced. A moment later, I erupted in giggles. However, as I grew up I found it difficult to laugh at just anything. "Smile," one friend would constantly say as I sat sulking. "It's scientifically proven to release endorphins."

I hated whenever she said this. I'm a teenager, I thought. I have the right to hate my parents and let the littlest things set me off. If a man walked into a bar, I wanted to know why. I was a really intense kid.

My attitude didn't change overnight. Slowly, I began to introduce myself to the genius of sketch comedy, hilarious authors and certain stand-up comedians. David Sedaris' book "Me Talk Pretty One Day" was the final straw -- it made me actually laugh out loud, which was thrillingly uncharacteristic. Nowadays, comedian Daniel Tosh and my sassy younger brother Gabe are only two on a long list of people who make me laugh.

I know many stressed out, ADD diagnosed, perfectionist teenagers who are caught up in the stress of hormones and finals and have found that the ones who prevail are the ones who know what really cracks them up.

Next month, I'll be tossing my cap in the air above Piedmont, California along with my fellow graduates. While I enjoy the perks of being a senior, I'll admit, I was freaking out for a while. And it's not because I'm spending next year abroad instead of the typical route to college -- that's awesome. I was worried about the lack of humor out in the mountainous regions of Peru and how I'd survive without Stephen Colbert.


Fortunately, I realized that a sense of humor isn't something that can be forced or borrowed. We can all carry it with us constantly once we learn what it truly is, and I'm bringing mine all the way to Machu Pichu.

With A Perspective, I'm Kazia Berman.