Saturday, January 24, 2015

Don't You Have a Sense of Humor?

I was thinking about humor in the middle of the night. I woke up, and could not get back to sleep.

What makes something funny? How do we come to laugh about something?

My sense of humor has been offbeat for quite some time. Someone says. "Can I have your name?" and my response can be, "Don't you have your own?"

It can be a risky sense of humor; not everyone will get it, and jokes can - and will - and do - fall flat. I can also get some pretty great laughs, too.

What brought this up was a joke a person made the other day. When I felt and looked like crap, and had just come out of the shower, she sang, "Here she comes, Miss America."

Button pushed, a bit. When someone says something so far from the truth, maybe it can be perceived as funny. But if it hits a wound, a sensitive spot, not so much.

I realize that I sometimes say something so far from the "truth," I figure it can't be taken seriously. But sometimes the person still reacts.

Just like I did. I am sensitive when I feel like crap. I am sensitive when I feel like I look like crap; I have had a lot of issues with the way I have looked over the years. Miss America I would never be.

The little song felt - in that moment - like it was rubbing it in. It was not the intention, I know, but that is the way it felt.

In my wee-bit of research last night, I found out that when we think things are funny, we use our whole brain to get to that point, and an "acceptable" reaction. I have said for a while that chemo makes me much more right-brained. It feels like it impairs the left-side.

Maybe I do not have the same ability to appreciate jokes while on chemo, unless they are ones I make myself. But then again, if something hit a sensitive spot at any time, I seriously doubt I would appreciate it.

I used to think it OK/acceptable to make jokes because they were jokes, even if the edge of them wasn't so nice. I expected the person to recognize I did not say something to hurt. What I did not recognize was that I might have been unwittingly stirring up their own already placed wounds.

In this case, I think I explained a bit of how I felt, but I am not sure I went all the way there. I got asked didn't I have a sense of humor.

Funny how we do that. We see nothing wrong in what we did, can actually be pleased with ourselves, and when the other person doesn't react as we think they should, it us not about us, or our lack of awareness, or our insensitivity; it is about THEM.  

In turn, our reaction to them takes away any potential to see anything about where the other person might be. Instead the focus is on what they did not get about us.

My reaction had nothing to do with a sense of humor, or a lack of one, but it became the focus until I tried to explain why I felt as I did. I am not sure if the message was "received." One does not expect the kind of reaction I had to a JOKE. If you don't get it, you are still supposed to smile or laugh or at the very   least, leave it on the floor. You're not supposed to say anything to tell the joke telling person why you felt like you did because then it is like you are telling them they are not funny.

And if you think they're not funny - that is your problem. Many times, I think, issues are buried when we focus on the superficial things.  It becomes about anything but what is really at the core of what is bothering us. Plus, we hate arguments, upset, rocking the boat, so we stay away from our feelings and truth.

I am not sure how much is conscious in this regard. But the more I am willing to give credence to how I feel, the more conscious I am becoming about speaking up.

I knew I had come a distance, but it wasn't until this week that I realized just how far I had come. I am just now also realizing that these kinds of things can make us look at stuff that isn't exactly comfortable. Easier to argue over the value of a perceived joke or sense of humor than to face discomfort.

Facing stuff is never easy, so maybe it is rigged so there are times people try to help us out - even though we don't often think of it that way.

It would be easier to be pissed at that person that look at what she stirred up. It would also be easier to focus on her than how miserable I was feeling in that moment.

Some would say we should laugh, and be joyful, and smile, and go other places more pleasant. We are told we can make that choice. 

But maybe we are not always supposed to. Maybe there are times we are meant to be in our feelings and emotions. Maybe we are supposed to look, and not look away. Maybe we are supposed to be sad and cry, but instead cover it with anger and disbelief/disappointment.

It ain't easy, and...it certainly ain't no joke when we face the uncomfortable stuff. Well, maybe it is one, just one we do not get.

As usual, I am thinking out loud as I share these thoughts. I think there are lots of conversations that could be had around humor and jokes, but I think what this entry comes down to for me is that there is a whole lot more going on than we often will see, or realize, and it has nothing to do with whether we find each other funny, or not.

And, maybe, just maybe, if we could look to attempts at humor as a way of having us look - and see inner things - maybe we would find less outter conflict and strife.

For that matter, that might just be able to be said for most anything. Boy. Just how uncomfortable is that thought? Uncomfortable but, perhaps, helpful?

I know my situation and words often trigger stuff in other people. Many times responses have nothing to do with me -although  the other person certainly thinks it does.

As long as we are unwilling to feel what we feel, I suspect there may be those who will come along to give us an opportunity to deal with the stuff we have tried not to deal with.

I think I am grateful for it, although I am not always sure what to do with it. This being human thing really does leave me searching for answers sometimes. I really seem to often have many more questions than answers.

Is my speculation above "correct?" Who the heck knows? But, at this moment in time, I feel like it makes some sense to me. If it does for you, too, great. If not, then that is great, too. 

I really think we just gotta do what works for us more often, and with less guilt, than we are used to. Does that mean a lack of regard for others? I would like to think it rather a greater regard for ourselves.

The thing is that we have come to think that some aspects of who we are are bad, negative, unacceptable. I think we may be more at odds with our judgments than we are with each other. If we could be more accepting of all things, we might find ourselves a lot less triggered.

If I had not been taught to consider "unattractive" and "fat" as "bad" things, I would not be sensitive to what comes from others in those regards. If I had not been taught that no hair and eyebrows was sad, or looked like death/dying, maybe I wouldn't care about how my looks change with chemo.

Maybe we get to look at things to recognize them for what they are, but then, we get to change them. If you can't see what something truly is, how can you change it?

Maybe we settle too much into things because we aren't even clear about what we have settled into. Maybe we are like the frog in the pot of water who dies because he is unable to make a clear determination of his environment - like he would/could if he suddenly found himself in hot water.

Maybe our interactions are like buckets of ice, trying to help us become aware of the things we don't think about so we can decide if we really want them, or not.

I am beginning to think I am talking in circles. So let's just say "done" at this point. 

Ps please look at patreon.com/jolope, if you haven't already. Thank you.


  1. We all have days when we don't appreciate the sense of humour of others. AS you mentioned in your Post we have try and do what works best for us. Personally, I feel that when I am happy, I don't mind any kind of humour but when I am down - it's difficult to see any humour. Take care.

  2. I have a very dry sense of humour and sometimes people think I'm being rude, when actually I'm just 'trying' to be funny.