I've been scared to post about this, because people, especially on this forum are understandably vehemently against this concept. And I know why. I've been scared to do this for a while, and I certainly would not advocate that everyone try this.However, hear me out on this: I've found it helpful to make jokes about what happened to me. Not about others, no way. That's their story. But when I find a way to laugh about my past, it genuinely helps me deal with it.
As I've said, I've been terrified to share this. I'm worried I'll get shunned, or that people might even stop believing that my story is true (people with hard pasts aren't ever supposed to laugh or be happy, or so people think). But I'm tired right now, and my inhibitions are smaller than usual, so here goes.
A few months ago, my boyfriend introduced me to Christopher Titus' standup. I was absolutely blown away by how brilliant it was: suddenly, his past- which would be horrifying to the average person and would get DCF in his house faster than an ant on a piece of food on the floor- was funny! It was hilarious! And in a way, it seemed to help him.
Humor has always been valuable to me. I'm a very sarcastic person, and laughter has always helped me deal with nerves- whenever I've done singing performances, I've always cracked a couple of jokes when I've first gotten to the microphone. Not only does it relax the audience, but it relaxes me- suddenly, this event, where I have to sing in front of a lot of people and might strum a wrong note or forget the words seems like less of a big deal.
In the same way, I have learned from Titus to in a way laugh in the face of the scary things in my past. I have learned something similar from John Cheese, a writer on Cracked.com, who routinely talks about the very difficult life events he has faced: child abuse, poverty, divorce, alcoholism. He is one of those writers that is honest, throws out harsh truths and tough emotions, making you cry and be angry, while making you laugh until your stomach hurts.
As he puts it, "This may just be my own warped sense of humor, but I’ve always been a fan of dark comedy. I think that every good comedian I’ve ever seen has something deeply wrong with him in some form or another. They don’t all put it out there in the limelight, but it’s there, torturing them when everyone else has left the room. Mocking them from the closet when the lights go out. The majority of us have that to varying degrees, but it’s not something we’re all comfortable talking about...It’s so dark when you look at it from that perspective, but damn if I don’t find it funny, regardless."
Much like Cheese, when I was a kid, I did not know that what was happening to me was wrong. I knew I hated it, but I thought it was something adults did, even though I was too scared to talk about it. When the harsh reality hit me just a couple of years ago, I did not know how to make sense of it in my head. So, this thing that happened...it's not normal? It's not my fault, even when my perpetrators used to say that it was?
Tragedy is a concept to describe something so outlandish, so ridiculous, so incomprehensible, that we cannot explain and never know quite how to deal with it. What is the other concept that definition describes? Oh, right, comedy. By laughing and coming up with jokes about what happened to me, I can truly establish to myself that I will not find meaning or reason behind it. That trying to figure out why it happened, or how it could happen is like trying to understand a Monty Python sketch- something so crazy and sick that it defies explanation.
When I joke about my abuse, it's also a way for me to approach this horrible thing that eats me up and makes me feel awful about myself and not have to cry about it. I can think about it, talk about it, and not have to be scared of it. And when I am scared of it, I feel as though it has power over me. By laughing and coming up with one liners, it is as though I am saying to everything has happened. "Yeah, I'm in control now. You think you have control over me? Think again, I'm actually laughing at you, that's how not in control of me you are!"
As you've guessed from my user name, I'm a huge fan of Harry Potter, and when I think about the concept I'm writing about here, I think about the fact that what finishes a Boggart is laughter. The way Neville gets rid of the Boggart in the third book, which has assumed the form of professor Snape, someone who terrifies him (as he should- NO SPOILERS) is by laughing in his face. And that is what I do by laughing about my abuse: I paint it as something ridiculous, dress it in my grandmother's clothes, if you will. Then, I am not scared of it as much.
I really hope that I do not lose my friends on here or get kicked out of Pandy's for this. I do need this place, I need the support when I am in a bad place. I hope I don't offend anyone with this post, and if I do, I will take it right down. It'll disappear- POOF! I just wanted to share a way that I deal with the stress, fear, and sadness that I experience. It may not work for other people, but it sure works for me.
EDIT: Wow, I'm so happy at the response. I guess I was a little too paranoid when I wrote this last night.