Friday, July 19, 2013

Laughter As A Way Of Life

I used to be afraid. I felt rage and indignation, mixed with regret and despair.  I felt so out of touch, and I was worried that I would never feel at ease.

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night. I feel so much useless energy coursing through me. I feel anxious, and feel so many thoughts rushing through my mind simultaneously that I hardly know which way is which.

I am constantly reminded of my insecurities. Usually, I suppress these feelings, for lack of a better way to cope. I felt like I had to choose between suppression - ignoring the feelings entirely, or depression - blaming myself, or anger - venting at situations over which I had no control.

I didn't know that there was another option.

I'm trying. Sometimes I still feel like I'm in denial. My laughter is not a way to separate myself from my feelings - it is a knowing acknowledgement of the absurdity of my life - but is not a hollow, hopeless, or self-defeating absurdity. This is an affirmation.

I have tried, hard, to find another place - a better place - to go, mentally. I end up so often in my thoughts, that I need some kind of refuge. I have tried to appreciate things in my life for the way they are.

So I laugh. And why do I laugh, and what do I find funny?

I giggle about what I don't know - what I once didn't know but have now learned - what other people deeply feel to be true but don't actually know - about patterns others miss that I understand - when I finally learn something that it seems like other people understand easily.

One of my closest friends recently told me that I am one of the most optimistic people she knows. This shocked me. I have never thought of myself as an optimistic person. Now, I am trying to be more like the version of myself that she has apparently seen.

I'm not saying that I am changing to satisfy other people. I'm doing as much as I can to be true to myself, it's just that there are things about myself that I don't like. Besides, the idea of being "true to myself" has always seemed somewhat contradictory and problematic for me, both in theory and practice.

Theoretically, how can I be true to myself when I barely know what I want? Aren't I just privileging the things I already know? What's the fun in that? I want to keep expanding my horizons - I don't know where I will be in the future, and how I can be true to what I do not yet know?

Practically, I've always felt insecure about some of the ways I act. I feel very uncomfortable in many different situations, and yet I can be extremely engaging and gregarious with very close friends and when I'm talking about my passions. Still, I'm clumsy about how I express myself - I interrupt other people too much, and too often find myself waiting to speak again instead of listening to what people are saying. I'm genuinely trying not to be inconsiderate - I really am - I just find it so difficult to relate to people sometimes, that when I feel like I have something valuable to contribute, it's hard for me to hold this is a way that insecurity feeds upon itself.

I'm constantly struggling to live up to my own expectations of who I can be, of what I can do, and what I can accomplish. I put a lot of pressure on myself. All this laughter is a way for me to deflate the tension.

Sometimes, I just look in the mirror, and I start laughing. Then, like the world's unsexiest vampire, I disappear for a little while.

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