I'm always amazed when people tell me I'm funny. I'm not sure if it's because no one has ever taken me seriously, or if I just have a funny way of putting things, but people tell me I'm funny, especially when I get going on a rant about something.
Growing up it was the same way. I was the cheerful one, the funny one, the one who was always smiling. Looking back, I'm pretty sure it was a defense mechanism against the anguish my brother insisted on bringing into the house. I was the peacemaker, or tried to be. My sense of humor grew out of a place of fear, I had to learn to laugh at the bumps in the road.
I guess I've always used some form of humor or another to smooth over those uncomfortable moments. I don't like conflict, I don't like sticking to my point just because I believe I'm right. Does that make me weak spined? Possibly.
I'll tell you one thing, being the one who looks for the humor in everything hasn't made my life easier. In fact, as I get older, and I have thoughts of a more serious nature, and I'd like my opinion to matter, I'm finding that those who know me best have no time for the serious side of me. My mother actually told me that my brother was convinced I was clinically depressed because I didn't laugh enough at the most recent family gathering. Apparently, if I'm not laughing like a moron, I'm depressed.
Dance monkey, dance!
Everyone has that in their family. We all have that role to play. Are you the well behaved child? The black sheep? The cute one? The pretty one?
As we grow up, it's not easy or fun living up to that image we created for ourselves when we were kids, is it?
As I look at my cousins, especially my girl cousins, (We grew up close, more like sisters than cousins) I see the labels. Shelly is the smart one. Lisa is the artsy one. Kristin in the pretty one. Laura is the stubborn, but musical one. And me, I'm the funny one. Now, our talents and interests weave in and out of each category: Shelly is also stubborn and pretty. Lisa is smart. Kristin is musical. Laura is pretty, and sweet. I'm smart and musical and now, with "dream in Color' coming out, artsy. But if you ask any of our elders who is what, those one word labels will come down on us like a crushing weight.
I'm so glad I'm not considered the pretty one. Kristin is still young, she's barely 30, and she's held up well after child birth. But Ican hear the elders clicking their tounges in the coming years, "Oh Kristin, she was always such a pretty child."
At least there are no such expectations there! LOL!
STill, it's a pain in my rear to have to be FUNNY all the time.
My aunt scolded me the other day for expressing an opinion about something that was too sarcastic and not funny at all.
Ummmm, Auntie? I wasn't trying to be funny. I was expressing an opinion about health care.
Well, dance monkey, dance. Auntie called my mother and asked if I was okay, or if I was "depressed."
Ya know, how funny can I be if everyone thinks I'm depressed? hmmmmmmmm?
I won't lie. There are days it's not bad being the funny one. It's rare that anyone thinks I'm the smart one, or that I have a thought of any weight. Some days that's fine. It's easier to pretend to be stupid. (Could be why so many of my relatives are surprised I sold a book. "It's a novel...a full length novel? No pictures? Really?")
The holidays are coming up, which means I'll get to see my relatives again, en masse. I'll have to be "on." I'll have to be the dumb one who happens to have amazing comedic timing. If I don't, it'll mean several phone calls to my mother and from my mother.
Dance monkey dance!