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The humour in the darkness

Uncategorized Apr 27, 2020

Yesterday, one of my closest and dearest friends panicked and cried as the result of my dry, expressionless, monotone humour.
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We moved through it together, it was cleared up and we still love each other.
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But, it reminded me of the many times this has happened throughout my life.
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When I was working in Early Childhood Ed, young students on placement would come through my workplace and sometimes, they'd be warned about my outrageous personality and sense of humour.
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"She'll look like and sound like she's serious, but she's 100% joking" others would warn.
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It wasn't until years later that one of the girls who became a full time employee told me she was going home and crying each afternoon.
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I cannot tell you how that felt.
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I took myself on the journey of being her, returning home each day feeling so low and it haunted me.
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Still does, to this day, even though we became great friends and I apologised almost daily in the following years.
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Humour for me is many things.
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Specifically, it's a tool.
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A coping mechanism.
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My husband knows me. He knows that I often use humour to say the things I feel I can't say and then I walk off, having made a 'joke' and actually dropped a bombshell.
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Whenever I have been terrified or nervous throughout my life, I have laughed, sometimes hysterically.
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Uncontrollably.
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Getting a brush stuck in my best friends hair as teenagers and having to cut it out with scissors while she sobbed, being in excruciating labour with my first child, someone I love being diagnosed with a terminal illness.
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I laugh.
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I use humour to cope.
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I use humour to manage hard times.
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I use laughter to move forward.
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And it becomes difficult for those who know me to discern between the humour that is actually humour, and the humour that is a coping tool.
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And I cannot be called out on it or questioned, or asked if I'm okay because that is a demand and I really don't cope with it.
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I NEED quirkiness, silliness, laughter, craziness, zaniness, like I need air to breathe.
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But I do want people to know and believe that underneath the humour is me.
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Compassionate, empathetic, me.
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I care, I do care.
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I never want to hurt others, but it happens when I'm coping.
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And the remorse is horrendous.
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When another person cries or is hurt as the result of something I've said or done, it feels so dark.
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I instantly turn on myself.
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I internalise many thoughts and feelings I then need to work through to feel even worthy of having friends.
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I often fall back into "What's wrong with me?!" thinking.
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Please know, that when your loved one uses brutal humour, even though in the moment we may not show remorse, we 100% internalise huge feelings around hurting you, and it's difficult to share those.
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I am always sorry. Deeply sorry.
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Kristy Forbes
inTune Pathways

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