Monday, April 30, 2018

Thank You But I'm Actually Terrible

I think the most hilarious joke in the world is me.

By that, I mean that my humor is very self-deprecating. I like to make jokes at my expense as a way of connecting with others. If I talk about my struggles with relationships, or depression, than I’m opening up the door for others to relate to and laugh at their own struggles. It becomes a conversation! It removes the stigma! By openly dealing with my issues I hope to help others deal as well.  

I do not like to make fun of other people for laughs. It makes me SO uncomfortable. I once saw Tracy Morgan perform and he picked a young guy out in the crowd and explained to him, in great detail, what his parents (who were sitting on either side of him) do behind closed doors. It involved a glass table and shitting. I was very new to comedy, and I knew that was something I never wanted to do when I started to perform. It was also something I never wanted to witness. WHY WOULD THAT TURN ANYONE ON?

The definition of self-deprecating cracks me up. It means “modest about, or critical of oneself, especially humorously so.” You can’t tell based on that definition whether it’s good or bad. I don’t know either, but I do know that there’s a difference between self-deprecating humor and undermining oneself. And I’m fucking tired of undermining myself.

I will not change my sense of humor. I think it’s fun to make jokes about my life because I don’t like to take everything so seriously. Most of the jokes that I make are actually just jokes.

When I say things like, “My first serious boyfriend was blind, which really helped me feel more confident in my appearance.” I don’t actually believe that all I could get was a blind guy because I was too ugly to date anyone else. I mean, he was (/is) blind, but not blind enough that he couldn’t see me.   

Carrie Fisher wrote in her book Wishful Drinking, “If it wasn’t funny, then it’d be true. And that’s unacceptable.” That is exactly how I feel. My life has been weird and wonderful, happy and sad, terrible and great. I can’t imagine dealing with it any other way than by laughing at it.

I laughed through having whooping cough when I was 17 and literally coughing until I vomited all over my high school. I laughed through losing my virginity in my early 20’s and having five friends tag along to CVS with me for Plan B. I laughed through depression, loss, heartbreak and pain because it’s the only way I knew how. I mean, in case you guys didn’t know, I have a dog! But he’s dead.

For me, this only becomes a problem when I start to underappreciate myself. For instance, I recently ran into someone in the bathroom at work. She said, “I like your jacket!” and my immediate response was, “It’s fake!”

Like, what? Why did I need to say that? And WHY couldn’t I have said “vegan” since that’d sound so much cooler? But I had to discredit her compliment on my style by telling her how unworthy I was.  

The craziest part is that I love my style! I like how I put myself together each day. I like the carefully curated uniform I’ve got going on. I put effort into it and I enjoy that aspect of myself. What’s the point in discrediting it?

I do this with everything. I’m so afraid of confronting the idea that I actually have great qualities worthy of respect and admiration.  I’ll receive good feedback on my job performance and I respond with, “Yeah, well, I barely know what I’m doing.” Someone compliments my legs and I say, “My ankles break all the time and you haven’t seen my thighs.” Someone thanks me for helping them out, and I say “I have nothing else going on.”

For the record, I think I’m awesome at my job, I love my legs and helping other people and being there for my friends is a top priority of mine.  It’s not that I don’t feel confident, it’s that I have a hard time expressing it or agreeing with someone’s positive impression of me. In my attempt to not come off like an asshole, I somehow end up being more of an asshole and making the other person feel super uncomfortable. It’s like I’m saying, “I HATE MYSELF AND YOU SHOULD TOO. IDIOT.”

I am cringing just thinking about the awkward responses I get when I say something weird back. The conversation keeps going with MORE praise, they just pity me. The conversation would end completely, and without judgment, if I just said, “Thank you.” Nobody is going to respond with, “You’re right, your thighs ARE gross!” or walk away thinking, “Man, I really wish she told me MORE about her weak bones!”

The truth is… I actually kind of like myself. Self-deprecating humor and all. But I need to start feeling more confident in my confidence. Liking yourself and appreciating your attributes is a good thing. Thanking people for their compliments or feedback is respectful, especially since they went out of their way to give it to you. I’m a constant feedback giver, so I need to be a better receiver.

At the end of the day, I am still going to be a bag of trash who stress eats chicken fingers... but I can do that while wearing a kick-ass pleather jacket and pulling off a pair of heeled Madewell boots like no other.

And, hey, thank you for acknowledging me.

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