When I was a little girl, I was very quiet. Honestly-if you asked anyone from my family they would talk about how quiet I was. But I lived in a very loud, overbearing home with people who all had something more important or demanding or interesting to say than I ever did. I was not the “squeaky wheel” demanding attention. I was usually found in a corner with my best friend, a collie named Lady, surrounded by notebooks and crayons writing stories, all while holding a knock-off Barbie doll.

So while everyone else was talking and arguing and being loud and disruptive, vying for attention, I was often told to be quiet if I did try to talk.

In fact I would get “shushed” for laughing.

To this day I tend to cover my mouth when I do laugh because, well, old habits die hard.

Why do I mention this?

Because I “shushed” myself today.

I did! In my own home! Where I live with just me and my dog!

I made myself be quiet!

Because as I said…old habits…

And what was I doing while I was laughing, and covering my mouth at the sound, and shutting myself up?

I was spinning in my chair.

Yes. You read that correctly.

I was sitting in my office and just had a wild moment of childish exuberance! The window was open. The sun was streaming in. I had a moment of giddyness! So I pushed my chair back from the desk and pushed myself off and spun my chair around! It was fun! And I did it again and again! After the 4th time, I realized that a good spin could turn me around 16 times till I slowed down. It was the 6th turn that made me realize I should defiantly NOT close my eyes while spinning. It was the start of the 8th turn when I slapped both hands over my mouth because I actually let out a true belly laugh! I actually looked around ready to be reprimanded before I caught myself.

The only people looking were a rather befuddled Lulu, my stuffed monkey and Executive Assistant Mr. Skittles and my Mr. Spock bear whose paw plays the Star Trek theme song when you press it. None of these beings were judging me, though Mr. Skittles did seem to look at me a little cock-eyed. (But that may have only been because Lulu was chewing on his head the other day. I don’t think he has recovered from that indignity.)

But the problem is the fact…I “shushed” myself.

One would think at this point in my life I would be over the weirdness of my childhood.

One would think so, but one would be wrong.

I still have little ticks and quirks that are carryovers from growing up in that old house on 6th avenue.

I still sweep towards the back door in the kitchen, because according to my Mama you did that to sweep out the bad thoughts as well as the dirt. I always move ladybugs back outside if I find one in the house after I count their spots and I always wish them a safe trip because if you do that, the number of spots is the number of months of blessings you will have.  I never move from one home to another with any unused flour packed because that would mean bringing bad energy from the old kitchen into your new kitchen and your biscuits will turn out flat and tasteless. I always leave one box unpacked when I move from one place to another so as not to jinx the new home. I never walk over anyone laying on the floor because that would cut their life line if you did. Trust me-honestly-I do not walk over Lulu! I walk around her! (But, when Mama wasn’t looking, I used to walk over my siblings when they were laying all over the floor. Bad Pammy!)

And….I still put a hand over my mouth when I laugh because I was told I was too loud and it was not lady like and no one likes a girl who “guffaws.”

Why would someone say that to a child?

I was just finding my own corner of joy in that house.

But the fact I still carry that quirk with me today is just…nuts.

Life is such a gift! We all have enough rough patches to get through on a daily basis! We need to stop berating ourselves for childish misdeeds and perceived bad behavior.

I laugh out loud when I am spinning in my chair. I cry at commercials for animal rescue groups. I wish on stars by saying that little poem “I wish I may, I wish I might”. I am gleefully awe-struck by fireworks. I love to stand in the rain, especially if it’s warm and I am barefoot. I find peace in a gentle snowfall during the night. I think Santa and the Easter Bunny are friends and hang out on their off seasons. And I truly believe that my Baby Girl Lulu understands every word I say to her but just randomly chooses what she will and will not acknowledge.

But mostly, I need to remember that it is completely OK to be myself. Especially when I am alone! I need to stop listening to that voice in my head that has a hint of a southern accent telling me what not to do. That voice stopped speaking a long time ago. I need to stop listening to its fading echo.

And those old habits need to be turned into new, better, exciting habits!

My wish for all of you, my lovelies, is to find something to laugh about. And truly do laugh! With joy and abandon and guffaws! Don’t hide your smile! Don’t hide who you are! Don’t listen to those old voices in your head.

Each of us deserves a new voice! Our own voice telling us how wonderful and loved and amazing we are! THAT is the echo I want each of you to listen to!

And I also highly recommend taking your chair for a few spins!

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