I catch the sound of myself laughing and think, “Is that my laugh? Really? Does it always sound like that or have I fabricated this tone?” And I don’t know the answer. I can’t remember what it sounded like last time, if I am just laughing or producing the sound I consciously think of as “laugh.”
It’s not beyond me to create a habit. When I was little I saw someone stick their tongue out in concentration. I liked it. So I tried it too; every time I needed to concentrate I stuck my tongue out. Years later I found myself sticking my tongue out involuntarily. A quirk of my own creation. It isn’t far fetched to think I have created my laugh as well. Who knows.
My best friend since middle school is a firm believer in the power to change yourself. New hobbies, new habits, new ways of looking at the world. These things are within your control despite our tendencies to bemoan the trap of “who I really am.” Not that she is capricious or inconstant. We’ve been friends for close to two decades and I can still easily see the eleven-year-old she was. But each of us has a lot of possibilities available to us. Inertia traps us, our repetitive motions give us a false sense of security so we don’t have to face the vast field of “could be.”
Maybe this is my “real” laugh. Maybe I imitated a sound years ago and it stuck. Does it really matter? I still laugh at the same things and only laugh when I think something is actually funny. So I guess I’m saying I don’t think it does matter what the laugh sounds like. You can experiment with your ways of being in the world, you can decide things about and for yourself. At the core stay true to yourself, but superficially there is a lot of room to play around.