Hi. My name’s Claire and I’m a snorter. I, on occasion, snort when I laugh. And even though it’s no new thing, I have never done it and not felt some degree of embarrassment. With my family and close friends, amongst whom I have a reputation for which they tease me mercilessly, I feel it the least, but I feel it nonetheless. It usually makes me whoop with shock ‘n shame that makes us all laugh even more. But there are certain places (like at work) where I feel deeply embarrassed about it and desperately wish I didn’t do it. The humiliation makes me want to stop laughing immediately and crawl into a hole. But of course I can’t because by that stage I’m not only beetroot-faced from both hysterics and humiliation, I’m also feeling nervous and sweaty-palmed because everyone is looking at me. And I’m a nervous laugher. So I end up laughing, and sometimes, snorting even more.
Yesterday at work I was listening to a podcast so belly-achingly funny that by the second, apparently rather loud, snort (yes, twice) of the afternoon I had to switch it off as I couldn’t see what I was doing through my tears of laughter. Besides, I couldn’t bear a third office-based snort.
As if those two embarrassing snorts in the office weren’t bad enough, I resisted my pledge to not listen to it on the tube and plugged myself in for my journey home. Bad, bad decision. I won’t go into too much detail now but I will say that because of Belinda and her Blinking these three things happened:
- I spat a little water on the gentleman opposite me in an unfortunately timed sipping-from-water-bottle-at-a-moment-of-pure-quick-witted-delight;
- I laughed so hard, convulsing behind my cupped hands that the kindly lady next to me asked if I was okay; and
- I snorted.
Not wanting to take my earphones out of my ears – for some reason they felt a bit like a shield – I just turned the podcast off and sat, hiding behind my hair and hands the rest of the way home.
It reminded me though that there was a time very recently that I snorted and after an initial moment of embarrassment, I was for the first time ever, grateful for my snort.
I had gone to yoga with a headache. I went to class with the intention of taking it easy and slow, and having a good stretch. But about half way through class a sharp, searing, stabbing pain shot into my head. I used to get these headaches regularly many years ago: they’d happen several times a week for a couple of months and then go away. They are very short but terrifying, like a red-hot knife slicing into the back of my head over and over; nothing like a migraine or any other headache I’ve had. I froze, and once it had gone I lay down, shivering. I had pins and needles everywhere and was feeling dizzy, tender and fearful. And then I cried. And cried. Quietly sobbing whilst everyone else did camel, rabbit and the rest. At the end of final Savasana someone came to check on me and then left to fetch me some coconut water. By the time she left the room I had reached that point of a good old sob where you are no longer crying but your breathing is emotional and you are occasionally sucking in a few uncoordinated and unexpected gasps.
And then, at one such uncoordinated and unexpected gasp, I snorted. I SNORTED!!!! Loud. I was so mortified to have snorted in the middle of My Big Sob and everyone else’s Savasana that I laughed and it calmed me immediately. Just like that, with one deeply embarrassing snort, the emotional attachment to the pain and fear simply evaporated.
Thanks to that pesky little snort, instead of feeling frustrated and fearful, I chortled at myself all the way home. Like a happy little pink-faced piglet.