I Use Humor To Cover Up What A Mess I Have Become

Girl with a sense of humor
Unsplash / Jelleke Vanooteghem

I am two seconds away from a mental breakdown. But instead of telling other people what has been bothering me, instead of listing out the bullshit that the universe has thrown at me during the past few months to gain sympathy or some sort of relief, I act like I am okay.

I don’t mumble that I am fine in a way that clearly shows that the opposite is true. I put on a better act than that. I smile. I laugh. I tell stories about the fun times I have had with friends on drunken weekends (leaving out the parts about crying in bathrooms and bedrooms and passenger seats of cars). I post pictures to Instagram that show me living my best life, smiling at the camera, looking like I have it all together, like I am not slowly ripping apart at the seams.

I don’t hide my pain. I make jokes about my pain. I talk about the divorce my parents are going through and the trips to the doctor and my sad excuse for a social life as if the stories belong on a sitcom. As if they are funny to me.

After all, if I laugh about how I have no friends and no family and no future, then people won’t pity me. They might not even realize that I am telling the truth.

When I make dark, sarcastic jokes about how I want to slit my wrists and how I want to jump in front of a truck and how I want to just die already, they are mostly jokes. But sometimes I mean it. Sometimes it scares me how much I mean it.

But instead of telling anyone that the stress is eating me alive and I’m not sure how much longer I can take it, I laugh about it all. I make jokes about my anxiety. Jokes about my drinking. Jokes about everything that causes me pain because it is too hard for me to look someone else in the eyes and tell them about the horrible things in my life with a straight face.

If I told them the truth without making a joke out of it, then I would lose my title as the funny friend. The laid-back friend. The friend who doesn’t give a fuck. It would turn me into someone new, someone I don’t want to become. The friend who is secretly crying out for help. The friend who everyone feels bad for. The friend who everyone tiptoes around to keep from breaking.

I have to laugh about everything that happens to me, because what is the alternative? I have spent enough nights crying in my bed. I have spent enough nights whining about how it isn’t fair. None of that helps.

When the world throws another curveball at me, when it gives me yet another thing to stress about, I don’t let the tears fall anymore. I just laugh. Because I expect it. Because of course that would happen to me. Because my life has turned into one big joke. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Holly is the author of Severe(d): A Creepy Poetry Collection.

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