I am what most people call “the funny friend.” I can take a joke and more often than not I am the one cracking them, whether at my friends, or more usually, at myself. Self-deprecating humor is my dark specialty, a delicacy that if used correctly makes one humble and grounded. If used too much, it can come off as compliment fishy or simply just as self-hatred.
On this trip, I think I have laughed more than the past month, possibly the whole last semester. I am joking around with the funny sounding new language, the strange happenings on the foreign streets and with my exhausted friends at the sleep-deprived things we say.
Laughter, for me, is the most cathartic thing, especially in a new place with new people. Jokes are how I make friendships and humor is how I relate to others, transcending cultural boarders and regional differences.
Because of my usual open mouthed smile and louder-than-expected laugh, I know I can be taken not as seriously. And this is the one downfall to my favorite pastime. On this trip, I am one of the youngest people. I have not taken most journalism classes and I have not been on co-op or taken a class with our fearless leader, Carlene. Already, I feel as if I am though of as lesser, so throw in the childish giggle that doesn’t have to fight too hard to escape my lips, and I am easily labeled the “funny friend” over the “smart journalist.”
Some of this is my fault. As hard as I work to make myself better, my self-deprecating jokes are the most common in my repertoire and slip out more than I may like them to deep down. In a late-night conversation over blogging and drinks, the topic of these darker thoughts came up and one by one, everyone in the 85 degree apartment admitted to being way harder on themselves than need be. I am still not sure if that was worrying or comforting or both. Regardless, I am making a few vows on this trip, and if you are reading this and see me slip up, give me a gentle reminder.
- I promise to never stop laughing and making jokes to make others laugh around me. It is not a weakness or sign of immaturity, it is wholeheartedly me.
- I will not choose between being the “funny friend” or the “smart journalist.” I will be both to the best of my abilities.
- I will try my hardest to make less jokes at my own expense and try to see the value in my mistakes rather than point them out in a negative joking way. I won’t give them up entirely (because what’s the fun in that) but taking a moment before tearing myself down in the name of humor may be a healthy thing for me.
- Remind others to take a step back from themselves sometimes and have a laugh. We are all amazing journalists and in a stressful and larger-than-life environment such as this, a little laughter goes a long way.
“Good humor is a tonic for mind and body. It is the best antidote for anxiety and depression. It is a business asset. It attracts and keeps friends. It lightens human burdens. It is the direct route to serenity and contentment.”- Grenville Kleiser, an American author of positive thinking books.