The noise that comes from my youngest sister when she is in that deep bottomless belly laugh has been dubbed “The Pterodactyl”. While the rest of us are doubled over wiping tears from our eyes, she is often on the floor doing her best to keep the sound from escaping her lips; gasping for air, making a strange noise that we think must sound like that prehistoric creature. Hence, the pterodactyl. When she finally is unable to contain it, I see the most beautiful piece of vulnerability I know. At that very moment she allows her family to see her most authentic self, her vulnerable self.
We struggle to remain “put together” desperately trying to be the “cool kid” all the while losing the merit in letting go. Often times our fear of vulnerability gets in the way of being able to be silly, awkward or doing the pterodactyl. This in turn leaves us feeling the rub of not honoring the things we value and the release we need.
There are times people think laughing in therapy is a bit unconventional. Can we really laugh when there is this much pain? Can we really laugh at my giant mistake over the past week? Can I really laugh with a stranger? Laughing, dancing, and singing are all ways to have self-care, to have meaningful connection with those we love and an opportunity to be brave and vulnerable. We need to take the leap into this realm. It helps us heal. It helps us get through. It helps start the next day fearless.
Here is to the coolest uncool person I know; my littlest sister.
Do the pterodactyl. Dance in your kitchen. Sing at the top of your lungs with your windows rolled down.