Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Why yu suh miserable?

Published:Tuesday | September 9, 2014 | 12:00 AM

I was in New Kingston last week and was people-watching (yes, mi faas like that). A man with the biggest smile walked past a lady and said, "Wow, yuh sweet eeeeee!" and the woman, with the fury of hell, quickly retorted, "Gwey, bwoy! Yuh eva taste me?" I laughed hard, and when the laughter subsided, I wondered, "Why are people so angry"?

There are only two emotions I seem to be able to experience strongly: happiness and love.

For as long as I've known myself, it's just always been that way. I'm not incapable of feeling other emotions, just never extremely. Sadness is never prolonged, anger is always restrained, I never worry, and my fright is reserved for reptiles, never people. In the one life that I have to live, I have no place for negative emotions. I laugh every chance I get.

(And now for the shameless plug) I just finished a really fun run of Oliver Mair's Laff It Off, a satirical review of life and characters in Jamaica. The sweetest sound was being backstage or onstage and just hearing people laugh. Bellyful, no-care-in-the-world, dis-joke-sweet, eye-water laughter. The kind of laugh that makes you laugh weeks after when you remember it. It felt so good to, for two hours, allow people to forget their troubles and just laugh.

Lots of people have made me laugh like that, and I love oonu for it. Shebada did in Clash, Oliver Samuels does every time I just look at him, Elva does, my cousin Javier does when his belly is full, Dave does it all the time ... and my fellow Jamaicans do it every single day.

infectious laughter

There's a madman just outside where JBC used to be on South Odeon, and all he does is laugh. He sits there every day just pointing at people and laughing. Psychosis aside, he has the right idea. The time you take huffing and puffing and being mad at the world, you (and perhaps the people in his head) are fuelling this man's insatiable and infectious laughter. The laughter even makes him look kind of cute. Happy is the new black. There's something about happy that makes everybody more attractive. Bless his happy heart.

I just discovered that there's even something called 'laughter yoga'. Laughter yoga (Hasyayoga) is a practice involving prolonged voluntary laughter. It is based on the belief that voluntary laughter provides the same physiological and psychological benefits as spontaneous laughter. Laughter yoga is done in groups, with eye contact and playfulness between participants. Forced laughter soon turns into real and contagious laughter. Just for the joke, I want to participate in one of these sessions. The sheer lunacy of the idea alone is making me chuckle as I type.

Sometimes we take life too seriously. I'm not suggesting we all become giddy-headed jesters laughing without reason; but wi too cross, man. Angry and miserable people; really think about it. You're often lonely, too, aren't you? Why? Because you're no fun to be around. Not only do you depress yourself, but you affect the mood of those around you.

no room for unhappiness

A huge fault in me (that I have no impetus to work on) is that I have a difficulty understanding unhappy people. I easily get annoyed by anything and anyone who intrudes on my happiness: complainers, conspiracy theorists, the perpetually depressed, the emotionally weak. I avoid them, and I publicly admit the insensitivity of that. I'll pray for atonement.

As an aside, I'm also really annoyed by people who smile more in pictures than they do in real life. You know the kind who muster that painful fake smile just so they can look 'happy' for the Facebook photo, and as soon as the flash is gone, they're back to their sour self. Lighten up! Let the smile linger, nuh? Geez!

Why waste time and energy on pessimistic passions? Just live and be happy. Do things, go places, enjoy people. The world and those who live in it are beautiful and they want to give you reasons to laugh. Let them.

I am Patria-Kaye, and I will forever do three things: live, love ... and laugh.

Patria-Kaye Aarons is a television presenter and confectioner. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and findpatria@yahoo.com, or tweet @findpatria.

Patria-Kaye Aarons