Sunday, April 17, 2011

Funny Bones

Despite being shy, I was always a very goofy kid.  When my bio mom was in a good mood, usually when she was high, she would tell me that I was born with an extra funny bone in each arm, although it wasn’t always meant as a compliment.  Despite being a very shy little girl I loved to make people laugh.  I would put on these elaborate comedy shows complete with costume changes and stage makeup for anyone who would watch them:  my foster parents, kids at school, my foster siblings, teachers, my case worker, anyone.  I would do impressions, tell jokes, do crazy interpretive dances; pretty much anything I could to get my audience to chuckle and usually I was pretty successful.  From a very early age I learned that humor makes everything easier.  Humor makes people laugh.  Laughing feels better than crying even if crying is what you really want to do.  Laughter can make the tears disappear for a little while.  If I couldn’t feel good, the next best thing was making others feel good.  And if you can make people feel good, they will like you and people usually stick around when they like you, for a little while at least.  

When I was in elementary school I dreamed of being a comedian and making people laugh for a living.  Of course I also dreamed I could be a “Diving Girl” like Sonora in “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken,” an old movie about a girl in the 1920’s who runs away from a foster home and joins the circus.  She would jump onto the bare back of a galloping horse and together they would jump off a high dive into a swimming pool below.  My dreams weren’t always very rational or well thought out.  Still, I always loved making other people feel good.  I loved making people laugh.  I even joined Improv comedy clubs in high school and my freshman year of college.  I was a pretty goofy kid and I’m still a pretty goofy person despite how dark, sad, and melodramatic my blog can be.  My doctor in the psych hospital thought I was hilarious.  Maybe that’s why I liked him so much.  

My humor has changed a lot over the years.  I’ve always had a pretty dark sense of humor, but it has gotten considerably darker as I got older.  I’m not sure why.  I’m still always cracking jokes or teasing people to be funny.  My humor often gets me into trouble.  I’ll tease the wrong person or I’ll crack a joke that someone doesn’t appreciate which in turn makes me feel awful  and  my social anxiety becomes unbearable to the point where I either want to run away or I take myself to the bathroom to cry for a moment.  I’m still a very shy person and anyone who knows me can vouch for that.  People scare me.  I question every move I make around new people and I’m usually pretty quiet when I first meet someone.  I used to be so scared of people that I wouldn’t answer my door if someone knocked on it.   Sometimes I would watch the person knocking on my door through the peephole being very quiet so they wouldn’t know I was there.  It always reminded me of watching feet walk by from under the door when I was locked in closets.  Even today my heart races when there is a knock on my door and I usually won't answer my phone unless I know the number that is calling me.  I am self-conscious about everything I do around people, but if I can make someone laugh, my anxiety drops considerably.  One of the reasons my little South African psychiatrist intimidates me so much is because I can’t make her laugh.  I can’t even get her to smile.  She doesn’t think I’m funny and I really don’t know how to handle that.   
  
I’m not sure where I’m going with any of this.  I’ve just been thinking a lot about who I am today.  I guess I have been missing who I used to be.  I miss the funny, successful, strong person I used to be.  I miss making people laugh without much effort.  Being with people right now is exhausting because trying to be funny is exhausting.  I guess my funny went away.  Maybe it’s hard for people to find dark humor funny when you’re obviously in a very dark place.  I know people are worried about me right now, my girlfriend especially.  She’s always asking me how I am, if I took my meds, if I want to find a new therapist.  Seeing her freak out about me doesn’t feel too good.  It makes me feel like I have to put on a happy face to make her feel better.  It’s all a bit too much for me.   I don’t really know how to deal with their worries because I have felt so lost for so long.  I’m just more honest about it now.  I write about it now.  I post my inner secrets and neurosis in a public blog for everyone to see because I’m tired of pretending to be the funny girl who survived the middle east, my mother, foster care, my foster father, 42 placements, and everything else without a scratch.  I didn’t survive.  I’m more than scratched; I’m covered in deep infected scabbed over wounds that won’t heal.  My funny bone is broken.  I’m having a hard time just being.    I totally get it.  I really do.  Who wants to hang around some loser that used to make them laugh but is nothing but a downer today?  Not me, but unfortunately I am stuck with me.   No matter how funny I’ve tried to be, I’ve always been very good at driving people away.  I could teach a class on it, so I’m sure I’m extra good at it right now.  I’m in my twenties and I still have NO idea who I am, who I want to be, or what I’m going to do with my life. 

How do I become likable again?  Was I ever likable?  Maybe I’ve never been funny and it has all been in my head.  Maybe that’s who I am.  I’m the obnoxious girl who thinks she’s funny.  How do I get my funny bone back or grow one if I never had one in the first place?  How do I make people stick around?  How do I make people want me?  How do I make people like me?  How do I make me like me?