Laugh until you cry; cry until you laugh. This connection between two seemingly opposite acts oddly enough live and grow off one another. When life becomes to consume and drown you, laughter may be the only temporary fix. Laughing is sometimes the only thing you can do in order to not break down in tears, in anger. To admit that you are in pain, that you need help is simply too difficult to do when all you want to be seen as is strong, unbreakable. In this case: laughter, comedy, is a shield that people can put up in order to deflect concern from those who love them. This entire ideal is rooted in the concept of perfectionism; the idea that if you shed a tear then you are seen as weak or specifically in a man’s case, less masculine. However, I guarantee you that there will be a breaking point. The longer you hold in the sins, the imperfections, the pain the worse this breaking point will be. There is only so long someone can pretend that laughing away their problems is a realistic method of healing. To truly mend your heart, your soul you need to realize that the issues that bind you are not funny.
I have a family friend who is pee your pants, drop to the floor funny. An outsider, or even a close acquaintance would never know that behind all those jokes is extreme, buried, repressed, depression. He’s a comedian. It’s literally his job to make people laugh, to make people forget the problems that they face in their very own life. How is he going to come to terms with his rooted depression if his constant train of thought is how to make other people laugh? I feel that as if the human race would rather focus on others rather than themselves because in reality isn’t that just easier? It’s just another form of denial because to come to terms with the fact that you have the problem, that you are the one in pain is too much to admit to ourselves.
When I began to brainstorm for this article the first person that came to my mind was the magnificent Robin Williams. As a child I remember being immersed in Mrs. Doubtfire, it was a great movie to laugh at when you were down. Robin Williams was known as not just a brilliant actor, but a comedian. He knew how to make people of all backgrounds laugh, he knew how to make people forget about the problems that plagued their lives for just two hours. Meanwhile, inside he was slowly fading into oblivion. I knew he had substance abuse problems but I figured he’s sober, so he must be fine...right? Then he killed himself. I remember being heartbroken, yet incredibly confused. How could a man with a smile always on his face feel and act upon demons that I, and the public, never knew even existed? After he died I watched Good Will Hunting. I had never seen him in this sort of role before. In my eyes he had always been this funny man. I could almost hear the pain in his voice, see the distress in his eyes. I wanted to to put my arms through the TV screen and give him a hug. I don’t really know what I would say, maybe I wouldn’t say anything. Sometimes just having someone there is enough.
To the people who feel like they need to hide behind the mask of clown I say, reveal yourself. I know how tiring it is to pretend, to put on an act for the sake of everyone else. Well, screw everyone else. If you admitting your demons drives people away then they were never supposed to be in your life in the first place. No one wants to be around someone who is “perfect”, it’s boring. Embrace your imperfections, take ownership of your pain; then blossom into the beautiful butterfly that you are meant to be. Fly into the world darling.