One of my favorite things about myself is my sense of humor. Not to be braggy, but I’m one of the funniest people I’ve ever met.
Nothing makes me want to smother a cigar under my heel and strut off like Kate Moss down the runway more than laying out a funny one-liner that makes people throw their head back laughing.
I’ve always taken great pride in being able to laugh things off, even in times of sadness and stress.
Even during the cycles of depression I’ve experienced in my life, humor was there, although, admittedly, it wasn’t as accessible to me as it is when I’m out of the funk.
When my father-in-law passed away 15 years ago, one of the ways our family dealt with the deep sadness of his unexpected death was through humor, like laughing hysterically at me groveling with the funeral director to get a military flyover at his grave site. 🤷
I’ve always been at my zone of genius, especially when it comes to self-deprecating humor - poking fun at myself to get a few laughs.
Not in a run-myself-down kind of a way.
More like just being able to say out loud any of my weaknesses, and then sort-of make a funny out of it.
I recently finished reading Jen Sincero’s You’re A Badass (<—that’s an affiliate link) - which I highly recommend you read, by the way - and one of the points she stresses is that if self-deprecating humor is your thing, you need to cut it out.
What she explains makes a lot of sense.
If you’re making yourself the butt of the joke on a consistent basis, you’re essentially telling yourself over and over and over that, well… you’re the butt of the joke.
I thought about what Jen said and it made me realize that it’s become a habit for me to do this, and - even though I know I’m only jabbing at myself in good humor - part of me has started taking the other part of me literally.
And started believing what I’ve said as truth.
I decided after reading You Are A Badass, I was going to stop the self-deprecating humor. I would just carve that part of my schtick out of my writing altogether.
There’s so much more for me to say! I’m an intelligent woman! I have other material!
Here’s what happened:
It’s as if my brain is sitting on a bar stool in a dark interrogation room, with a single lightbulb hanging down from the ceiling, illuminating it in all its emptiness.
I’ve hit the biggest wall of writer’s block I think I have ever experienced. Removing self-deprecating humor has been kind-of a devastating move, where my blog is concerned.
Is it possible that I have nothing to write about if I’m not putting myself at the ass end of a self-inflicted jab?
Growing up, I remember my mom* telling me to never use negative self-talk because our words become tapes that we play over and over in our brains.
Then we start believing these words.
Even if they are lies.
And even if they seem harmless or “just jokes,” way deep down, the heart of our brain believes the words we’re repeating.
It’s interesting how these behaviors start so small that they’re imperceptible at first, and then when someone calls your attention to them, you realize they are there and that they’ve become habits.
And these habits are so ingrained, you almost don’t know how to be yourself without them.
*I swear that woman is the most brilliant non-practicing (and non-classically trained) psychologist in the world. She just gets it. The brain, I mean. The brain and behavior and all that psychology and sociology stuff. She could have been Brené Brown before Brené Brown was Brené Brown.