The Absurd and Amazing Adventures of Cafe Girl: Laughter

August 7, 2009


I've been reading old posts from the past three months and even I have to admit, my posts have been rather macabre. If these posts were the only things to go by, you'd think I was sitting in a semi-dark apartment all these months crying my eyes out and only dragging my half-dead body to and from work.

Alright, some days, it is like this.

But on the other hand, some days look very normal. I go to work, go to bible studies, watch movies, play poker, cook meals, bake cookies, go running. I think the only difference is that I don't laugh as often as I did anymore. For a person that used to laugh all the time, it has been a loss. And it's been noticed -- not just by my friends, but by co-workers and acquaintances.

The reason for this development very simple -- I've come to realize the difference between laughter and joy. Joyful people certainly laugh, but people who laugh are not necessarily joyful. This time of depression has forced an honesty in me to emerge. The struggle to have feelings of any kind rise up has given me a hyper awareness of what my feelings really mean. I've started to wonder, "If this isn't funny, or joyous, or enjoyable... why am I laughing again?"

I'm laughing because I'm nervous, or afraid. I'm laughing to try and make someone else feel better about something they've done or said. I'm laughing because I'm cynical and mocking the situation. I'm laughing because I want to show what a trooper I am, no matter what happens. I'm laughing because it hurts too much to cry. None of these reasons are particularly emotionally honest. I fully admit, I use laughter to mask the other feelings that are going on. Darker, more painful feelings that I deem as shameful to show the world.

It's a sobering thought. One of the many sobering thoughts I've had in this season.

I'm often frustrated because I feel that this depression has robbed me of being who I am. I look at myself in the mirror and wonder -- who is this girl, so sad and so cerebral, so quick to weep, so slow to laugh, ever so slightly hesitant? This doesn't seem to be the me of old. No matter how horrible things have been, I've always been able to laugh.

And yet, in this season, I'm seeing something new about me emerge. It's an emotional honesty that I believe has been budding for many years, but now has started to flower. Laughter, or the lack thereof, has been the first sign of peeling off the mask that hides the "bad stuff." If things are horrible, they're horrible. I don't have to laugh to reassure everyone that I'm still ok.

I don't have to laugh to reassure myself I'm still ok.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I liked this post.
Way to see light in the midst of your darkness....while laughter is precious, it is just like any other gift. When used incorrectly, it doesn't bring the full joy it can.

Way to savor those laughs.

Rooting for you in Chicago.
Big hug from a distance.