Epiphanies at Twenty: Laughter Is a Cover-Up

I was asked once how come I’m so happy. I was taken back by this question and wondered why it was thought that I was happy. I asked. What makes you think I’m happy? The response I got was that I was always laughing. Hmm. I thought about that. I do laugh a lot. Laughing is something I like to do. But that doesn’t mean I’m a happy person. I’m not a happy person. 

The truth is I use laughter as a sort of disguise for whatever negative feeling I have, whether it’s sadness or anger or loneliness. I laugh because it makes me feel better. If even for just a moment, laughter allows me to forget that I am sad, or that I’m frustrated, or that I miss my mother. I scroll down my Facebook feed, watch funny videos, and laugh my ass off. I watch dramas, and those take to me to an entirely different place, where I lose myself in the lives and minds of fictional characters. 

Laughter has begun to lose its touch though. I’ve come to realize that I’m using it intentionally, because I can’t be bothered to think about all the things I have to do and the people I have to deal with, because I can’t be bothered to think about all the responsibilities I’m acquiring as I grow older. While I’m watching that funny video on Facebook I’m still thinking. There’s a voice in my head reminding me that the real world is still there waiting for me, and that I will have to look at it again when I’m done laughing. The videos don’t even work anymore; they’re not that funny. My smile doesn’t last long after they’re over. 

I guess to someone observing me from a distance I appear to be a happy person. I smile and laugh a lot, I make other people laugh, and I always keep the mood light. I think I do this because I need to, because I need something different from my list of worries. When I’m around people outside of home I’m fine. I can be light and funny. Other than that I just mope really. Sometimes I try to write in my journal, but there are no words I know that can express whatever is going on with me. Today a friend asked me what was wrong. I told him there were too many things. Then I told him I would like to know. It would be good if I knew what was wrong with me. That way I could tell him.

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As the Grown Up

“But you as the older one should know better…”

I hated hearing this when I was younger. Like my feelings couldn’t get hurt because “you are the bigger one and she’s your little sister”. So what? I can’t get mad. I can’t hit her back? Why exactly should I allow her to mouth off to me and ignore me when I tell her to do something? I am the bigger one right? Yes, and I should take care of her and look out for her, but do nothing when she hurts me, which she does because she can and she always gets away with it.

*  *  *

Just now my father did something that I’m not finished thinking about yet. He and my younger sister do not have the best relationship in the world and hell has to freeze over before that child picks up the phone to call him. Well she called him. Just now he asked me when last I spoke to her, and told me that she left a voice-mail for him to call her back. I told him I didn’t know what it was about. He told me I should call her and ask what it is. … … … Well why doesn’t he call her back and find out? Wasn’t he the one who kept talking about how she never called him? I don’t want to be some kind of go-between for the two of them. And he’s the adult! What’s the deal? Just call the girl.

But then I remembered. He has feelings too. I can’t read his mind, so I don’t know specifically what they are, but he does have them, and they may have been hurt. Him being a grown up doesn’t mean he knows what to do about that.

*  *  *

As a grown up, there are things people should know and ways they should behave. But as people, there are things that go on inside of us, memories that we haven’t forgotten, feelings that have been hurt, dreams that have had to be discarded, hope that has been lost. All these things and more make us up and play a part in the decisions we make.

Grown up doesn’t mean perfect and it doesn’t mean full of knowledge and wisdom. Maybe more knowledge and wisdom than a younger person, but that doesn’t necessarily make it a lot. Grown up doesn’t mean one knows what to do. It doesn’t mean one has the answers.

*  *  *

I don’t even know what to call myself right now. I’m legally an adult but I depend on my parents. Though I’d love to be on my own because I just can’t be bothered, I don’t even think about that as something that will happen in the near future. No way. I’m not ready to abuse my health working to pay bills and buy food.

While I don’t consider myself a child, I’m not comfortable with the word “woman” in reference to myself. I don’t think I like the word “adult” either. “Grown up” also doesn’t fit.

When I was younger I wanted long life. Now I don’t want to grow anymore, and would very much like to go back a few years.

I don’t know when I will grow up. I hate that I have to.

I just wish we all realized that everyone has feelings, even those older than ourselves, and just the way that they can hurt us, we can hurt them.

Vomiting Feelings

I keep wanting to write. And I keep stopping myself. Because I’m afraid of sharing something too personal. Because I can’t put all my thoughts together and make them sound beautiful and breezy like what I read in books. Or other blog posts. I can’t make myself sound eloquent. I can’t put life into something I think is rather drab. I can’t expand my vocabulary and make it efficient enough to express what’s inside me properly.

So I don’t write. I let my tiny ideas rest somewhere after floating around behind my eyes. And I call them tiny because they’re almost always just one or two sentences, that when I try to expand into a full article, even a short one, almost always never make it. I abort these tiny babies and never let them see the light of day because I’m not capable of making them grow into something beautiful. Something good enough to read for pleasure.

I sing. I dance. I read – what I can. And I hope that these other activities can do for me what writing does. Take something away. Some of the bad. Some of the thing that makes me feel awful and heavy. Of course they don’t work, but writing doesn’t either so what the hell am I supposed to do? Fine. Don’t write blog posts for a while. Just free write. Use your journal to write whatever you want. At least then you don’t have to worry about presentation or sounding sensible or humourous, but you still get something out of you. It’s like puking. How can you make vomit look beautiful? You just have to do it.