A Laugh that Wrecked Me

May 4, 2020

Another court date. Another outcome of consequences for my ex-husband. Another win for me on paper, but really, another harsh reality that the law is complicated and time-consuming. I left the courtroom with the ruling and decision in my favor, but with the knowledge and competency to know it would be a very long time before anything changed, if ever.  

As I walked out of the courtroom with tears of frustration, feeling defeated and lacking hope, I was met with an unexpected laugh. A laugh that wrecked me. Walking to the exit doors, my ex-husband’s mother stepped in front of me, and chuckled. 

The kind of chuckle that sends chills down your spine. The kind of laugh that shows hate, disrespect and heart full of fury. The kind of snicker that has one purpose, to cause pain. The kind of action intended to make the recipient feel powerless. 

I held my breath in confusion and disgust. I walked away, trying to get closer to fresh air and further away from the spite spewing from this bitter woman’s soul. I was angry and repulsed, but I refused to lower myself to her level. I would not give her a response or reaction.

I walked out of the courthouse with dignity and poise. I walked out with a verdict in my favor, the law on my side, and character I was proud of. She walked out with none of those things. 

I may have never seen the rewards of that verdict, but I did recognize and acknowledge a strength inside of my soul that felt different than before. I was a woman who refused to reciprocate the disrespect, rage, and anger shown to her. There was power in refusing to lower my standards. 

That day, a laugh wrecked my emotion and ego, but it did not wreck my character or hope. People who are hurting and ashamed tell you by regrettable and disgraceful actions. That snicker was really just hidden jealousy and pain.

That unexpected and unappreciated laugh still pops up in my mind from time to time. That little act of disrespect was a lesson on compassion, character, and decency.

I am proud of the person I am when faced with adversity and ill-mannered individuals. Had I have given in to the poke of instigation, I wouldn’t be able to stand here today with pride.

When faced with discourteous souls and impolite hearts, how do you show up? How do you react? How do you respond?

The best way to disarm someone who disrespects you, is to live a happy life. You retaliate with joy and kindness. If you do, you win, always. 

I am happy, truly happy, and now I’m the one laughing. Laughing for all the right reasons, and all the right truths. I hope you find yourself laughing too. 

xox, Chels

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Chelsea Ohlemiller

Chelsea Ohlemiller

A thirty-something wife, mother and educator who has Indiana roots and a passionate spirit. Chelsea is a sappy romantic, coffee junkie, book collector, and person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s sarcastic, full of jokes, full of tears, and enjoys writing most when life gets messy or complicated. In 2017, Chelsea's mother passed away. Through her grief journey, she decided to take her mother’s advice and share her writing with the world. One day she gained the courage to honor her mother's wishes and write. It turned out to be one of the best decisions she's ever made.

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