Laughter and Tears

I ran across a post the other day on Tumblr.

Yes, I still scroll endlessly through that website, even after all the rules and everything else have been imposed. I can’t help it. I get bored. It helps fill the time that should be filled with editing my next manuscript (*cough* Create a Life to Love, available June 2019 from Bold Strokes Books *cough*).

Anyway. I digress.

The post said this:

tumblr post

The reason I’m bringing this up is because it resonates with me so very much. I cannot even begin to tell you how many people I fear I’ve offended because I was only trying to be funny. I cannot tell you the amount of times I’ve probably pushed someone away because I was trying way too hard to “be there for them.” And again, I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve said, “Oh, my goodness, me, too!” and launched into a story about how whatever is happening with the person I’m talking to has also happened to me and here are all the freaking details.

I think a lot of times, though, it’s important for these things to be pointed out. In particular, I want to focus on that first line: “I Was Trying To Be Funny But It Came Out As Really Mean…”

It was difficult growing up in rural Colorado as a young lady, questioning everything, everyone, and also trying to find my place in the world. I hate to say I had it hard, because honestly, I didn’t. My parents were amazing. But they moved me from outside of Chicago to a wide spot in the road, so I had a lot to learn about different types of people.  Needless to say, I spent my “formative years” very sheltered. There wasn’t much to do except hang out with friends, stay up late watching Saturday Night Live, and cruise main street. To pass the time, we’d joke around a lot with each other. Humor was all we had. My friends and I called each other names, made fun of other people, tried to not get big-time bullied while also being small-time bullies. We’d play pranks on each other. We’d find ways to embarrass each other in front of the boys. It was great fun, right?

No. It was not! Holy cow, NO.

I will never get over the first time a boy made me cry because he was trying to be funny. Specifically, he called me Thunder Thighs. The nickname TT stuck for years. Yay. I will never forget that horrific feeling that not only was I not good enough, but now I had this nickname that did absolutely nothing for my self-esteem.

It’s so sad to me that I took that horrible feeling that I have carried around with me for a very long, long, looooong, long, looooooong time and have more than likely transferred it to others…all because I thought I was being “funny.”

It’s amazing how our words can cut deep, even when that is not the intention.

I am actively trying to remember the difference between being funny and being mean. Because it’s a fine line and one that I think needs to have a spotlight on it at all times. In the current state of the world, it’s so important to remember that laughter can be very healing. It can turn someone’s day completely around. Hell, it can turn that person’s year around.

So, I want to try harder to make sure that I turn someone’s year around in a good way. I want to make people laugh. And I want to make sure to remember that line between being funny and being mean. I think it’s a good thing for everyone to remember.

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2 comments

  1. Oh man, speaking is hard. It’s only hindsight that let me see how quiet I was in high school, and I think that’s the only reason I didn’t insult the majority of the population. With me it’s not so much that my humor was meanspirited but more so that I couldn’t read a lot of social cues or notice what situations called for, as well as being an immigrant with some spillover from my culture, so often times I was serious and had the minority opinion regardless of who I was talking to. I do find myself choosing words carefully, especially over the last few years, and it’s great. It’s so enjoyable when someone relaxes when they see you using genderless pronouns and inclusive language in everyday conversations and they see that you’re an ally.

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