Obviously, when my parents got divorced, I was broken. It hurt really bad. I think I listened and cried to the same Coldplay songs on repeat for six months straight as I drove my Subaru to school every morning in California. No matter what way you spun it, it sucked. Really, really bad.
Being the youngest of four, all of my brothers had left for college as I was a junior in high school, and I was alone, with the divorce only exasperating that feeling. I’ve always been a humorous person, and comedy is my coping mechanism.
I love making people laugh, and humor was the one thing I could always count on to make me feel better. For a while, trust me, the divorce didn’t feel like anything I could joke about. My whole world felt like it was crashing down on me.
Around six months after my parent’s separation, we were at dinner with some family friends. I was in particularly high spirits considering everything that been going on in my personal life and was just happy to be around people that offered a distraction.
When my mother was in the bathroom, our friends took the advantage of her absence to ask me how I was feeling about the separation and doing emotionally. Naturally, I tried to keep things light and cracked a few jokes about what it was like dealing with my parents during the divorce.
My mom came back into the room, and they were laughing as I continued cracking jokes about the trauma of dealing with the divorce. My mother was clearly upset with me.
She pulled me aside and said, “Stop making jokes about the divorce. It’s clearly making everyone really uncomfortable.”
First of all, read the room wrong much? They were all cracking up! Second of all, it’s just my way of dealing with my trauma, and little did she know this was just the beginning.
Humor has been my primary coping mechanism for the majority of my life. I have always found it the best way to carry on, even with a heavy heart. However, I am often faced with criticism by people telling me it’s inappropriate to joke around about such touchy subjects.
Maybe so, but the difference is, I’m not joking about them in general or insulting people, but rather joking about my own experiences through self-deprecating humor.
My problem is that I take life way too seriously. By the time I was seven, I was stressing about what college I was going to get into and crying every night about my body.
Therefore, as I got older, it became really important to laugh, especially when I was struggling more than usual.
I’ve used comedy and humor to get through everything from sexual assault and abuse, eating disorders, anxiety, familial issues, and much much more. And even though these were heavy subjects, both helped me heal nonetheless.
Utilizing humor as a coping mechanism can feel extremely controversial amongst society, but I find that as long as you aren’t insulting anyone, and are solely speaking in your lane and out of your personal experiences with your trauma, and most importantly, as long as it’s helping you heal, that’s all that matters.
Humor is just as important of a coping mechanism as any others are, and it’s time we start recognizing them for that matter.
There’s a reason that the saying goes, “laughter is the best medicine.”
Trust me; it has gotten me through some of my darkest times. That’s all that matters.
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