Today’s topic is the ability to laugh at yourself. All sorts of self-mockery, from the healthy sense of making oneself the butt of a joke to the full-blown self-deprecating jokes. The final stroke was given when one day on my way back home from the shot (I was a dummy in a series called Terravision) I bumped into Maritsa Petrinos’ ’gram and admitted that it’s a delightful change for me after a lot of slightly similar artists on this field.
Let me explain that: there is a large body of works, that cumulates around the topic of self-mockery, reflectiveness, and being openly imperfect.
This is a good tendency because no one is perfect and life without any sense of humor is just a shadow of itself. And here comes the trap. The ability to laugh at yourself is vital, or if not literally vital – a lot of people can survive without a lick of self- or at all any sort of humor -, then crucial. That is the main sign of being a mature person with a healthy amount of self-awareness. But if it turns in sharper and sharper wit, then self-deprecation, it does more harm than good.
It has something to do with love. Love, itself, what lingers all around, including the often-misunderstood and misinterpreted self-love. Let’s start it at Adam and Eve: acceptance is all over the media. Acceptance is not yielding for your imperfections, but acknowledging them without judging them, and then put them to place – is it something to work with, or is it a totally innocent sign of diversity? So if we take the most divisive „fat-acceptance”: if you are heavier than the average (what is average anyway?) or the BMI calculated by the dietetics, do a little brainstorming instead of adopting prefabricated ideas:
- does it disturb you? I mean you, not the interiorized voices of the others. Do you feel that something is not okay?
- does it have health consequences? Is that a big burden to carry? Does it block you? Have you experienced any symptoms?
- there is a distinction between being overweight and obese for good reason. That’s not word magic or tiptoeing: being overweight can be sustainable longer - you can do sports, your hormones are more or less balanced. You are heavier, of course, but it won’t really block you. But obesity… …is a complex disease! It’s linked to imbalances, shorts, and overs at the wrong places, it blocks you from doing what you want, it makes you vulnerable. Two totally different ways of being heavy. The first one is that you can accept and embrace – the second one would be a deadly embrace, don’t try it at home.
- if it turns out that you are not okay with being heavy, or your heaviness got beyond measure, you gotta do something more than telling yourself that everything is fine and yield to your ’fate’. It is easy to say, hard to be in it, so I stop arguments posed like I was your knows-it-all auntie and move on to my topic.
The latter train of thought can be applied to all imperfections, even if they cannot directly harm your health. Not all imperfections are to be corrected, but we have to have an eye for the harmful ones, which are not funny and not good elements for an identity, but correctable.
Also, self-wit can help people to talk about their depression or other unusual conditions and not stuck in trying to be funny to be validated (Sarah Andersen's older comics evoked this feeling in me, but as I looked her up, it did not hit that hard) or boiling silently, like the many generations before you.
These thoughts help me through the tempests of rumination and destructive feelings of being a pile of flaws. May it help others too.