Something that I am noticing more and more lately is that as a society we are fast in danger of loosing our fun factor, our ability to laugh. There is this wonderful group of people, ‘The ‘professionally offended’ , they are the people who once upon a time no one would invite to dinner parties or social gatherings, but who have now found their audience through the medium of social media and are wreaking revenge for all of the missed opportunities they had over the years to spoil our fun.
And the saddest thing of all is, they appear to be winning.
Meerkats to Mental Illness.
I have a very quick-witted and dry sense of humour and that is the kind humour I enjoy the most as it is a combination of humour and intelligence and I like the sport of it, I like bouncing off people. Most of my friends have the same sense of humour, and I have been lucky enough in the past to have ex partners who have either had the same sense of humour as me or just been happy to indulge me, laugh at me or just roll their eyes at me, and its been fabulous!.
‘Banter’, is another amazing way to express humour, the ability to have banter is one of the best things in the world!, it is just such a fun thing to engage in, of course the fundamental rule of being able to engage in banter is you need to not take things too seriously, including yourself, and I don’t mind admitting that I am extremely good at it. I just love the relentless nature, the quick wit and fun of it all, most people who banter are not easily offended either, and those are also my favorite kind of people to be around.
I also have a bit of a silly sense of humour too and I get that from my mum, and just as I am about to write this I can feel myself starting to laugh, she laughs at the Meerkat advertisements on TV every day, without fail, even if it is the same one every day, she laughs, every time, just as hard, and what makes it even funnier is if I am there she will try to contain it to a snigger or a smirk , but I know what she’s doing and that just makes it even funnier and so we both end up laughing. I used to think those adverts were ridiculous but now I laugh at them even when she is not there because it makes me laugh thinking of her laughing at them. It’s a good feeling, and that is what laughter is. It is a good feeling and who doesn’t need more of the good suff in their lives especially when its free!.
Of course laughing at Meerkats isn’t really controversial, however laughing at terminal illness, sexuality, disability, race, gender most definitely can be and woe betide those who try in the current climate.
This is something that I battle with myself every time I write a blog post about mental illness, will my sense of humour and ability to laugh at myself and the situation I am in translate well to others?, and a lot of the time I have thought , best not, just incase, and I have played it safe. It does sadden me a little because I then feel like I am not giving a true representation of myself by not including as much of my humour as I would like, but of course humour you may be able to have with someone face to face does not always translate well into written word, so perhaps with this, it’s best approached with caution, I don’t want to destroy a career before I have even made one!.
I wanted to include something in my last blog post that I wrote on suicide, but I didn’t for the reason I just explained, but having now given some context behind it I will share it with you as I think it highlights how laughing in what are seen to be bad situations isn’t always a bad thing.
It was a moment that my mum and I had just before Christmas. I am lucky enough to have been able to, albeit tentatively and awkwardly at times, tell her openly about how I have been feeling and we were having a conversation in which I was speaking quite candidly about the fact that I just felt like I really wasnt going to be able to go on with life, but I didn’t want to ruin Christmas for everyone (yes I know!), and in the midst of this conversation we started talking about Christmas lunch, and my mum said to me “well do let me know wont you because I need to know whether to bother getting a nut roast for the dinner” ……. and with that we both just burst out laughing, as soon as we started laughing the awkwardness and pressure was taken out of the situation, certainly for me, the awkward cloud that had been hanging over us just lifted, I immediately felt more comfortable, and I am sure that she did too even though we have never actually discussed it.
A very serious and very upsetting subject for us both was immediately made much easier by being able to laugh about it. It didn’t take away from the serious nature of what we had been talking about, if anything , it made me feel more relaxed and comfortable about sharing feelings like that in the future, it broke down the taboo nature of what we were discussing and made the proposition of perhaps needing to talk about this again, not such a scary one.
Just because you are offended doesn’t mean you are right.
– Ricky Gervais
It is a choice to be offended. What will you choose?.
In my opinion there is nothing worse than someone being offended on your behalf. I had a ‘discussion’ with someone on social media the other day, who had taken it upon himself to say that “people with mental illness only laugh along with jokes about mental illness because they feel awkward and uncomfortable, they don’t really find them funny” and that “he knows what he is talking about because of his own experience” .
As much as I do try to limit my interaction on social media I did take issue with this statement, and did point out that he certainly wasnt speaking on my behalf as a person with a mental illness, nor should he really be speaking on behalf of every other person with a mental illness based on his own personal experience. I am not offended by jokes and I am certainly not offended by jokes about mental illness or suicide for that matter, and I would be mortified if someone felt they couldn’t say for example … “if he doesn’t shut up in a minute I am going to kill myself”, just because it is something I have had a personal experience with doesnt make it everyone else’s issue and this is what we shouldnt lose sight of.
It almost feels at the moment like we are having our right to be able to decide, not just on what we find funny or offensive , but what we think, taken away from us. Our individuality, whilst on the one hand is being thrust upon us as something to be celebrated, on the other hand it feels like there are conditions that come along with it, there are rules as to what we should think and how we should speak , the language we use, the subjects we can joke about.
We are being almost conditioned , mostly by social media and the new ‘woke’ set , that we can all express our individuality as long as its done in a certain way and ir doesn’t deviate from this ‘new normal’. The whole situation is becoming such a political correctness minefield that before long everyone will be too exhausted and confused to find anything funny anymore, and that is certainly not a world I would envy anyone growing up in.
Laughing is brilliant.
Some of my friends ‘laugh’ , some of them ‘laurrrf’. Laughing is brilliant and you shouldn’t let anyone take that away from you.
Lets not censor each other, and lets not impose our personal feelings onto others, agree to disagree, or ignore, concentrate on ourselves and don’t get consumed with trying to change our humour because it might not fit in with what everyone on social media is telling you that day.
Life is short and it is full of twists and turns, ups and downs and I say this from experience, laughter can be the best medicine and laughter in a difficult situation can sometimes help to alleviate the pain of a situation.
There was a period of around four days last month where I could not stop crying, my grandad was terribly ill and along with everything else I was dealing with I just felt so desperately sad that I just couldn’t hold a normal conversation without crying. The whole thing got so ridiculous in the end by the third or fourth day I was laughing and crying simultaneously because I could no longer explain why I was crying!!.
The dreadful day when I was leaving my home and I had to do so in a hurry, I fell in the mud carrying a handful of my best dresses. The whole situation was so painfully upsetting that all I had left in me at that point was laughter.
I have so many instances when I could have fallen apart in the past year and laughter has saved me.
Its a choice to laugh or be offended. What will you choose?.
With love and lots of laughter.