Hi, I’m Caitlin and I’m not that funny.
Many people would disagree. Hell, you don’t get “funniest” and “class clown” as your 8th and 12th grade superlatives if you aren’t funny, entertaining, and moderately quick witted.
I know this may sound arrogant or whatever you want to call it, but this is how I see myself. People can tell you something about yourself over and over again, but that’s all it is, what is important is how you perceive yourself. I take what people say to my to heart – far too often. Especially if I respect and care about you. At the end of the day, I wish I thought I was funny.
I guess in theory I am funny – as far as the definition goes. I’m always more than willing to be the butt of someones joke, do something, no matter how dumb it is, to get someone to smile, I say a lot of ridiculous things. For the most part, people enjoy me. I’ve been told countless times how funny I am. Yet, here I sit. Unwilling to admit it.
Flash forward to December 2017.
I’m an out woman to my best friends and closest family. I’ve gone on a few dates with women. I’m not “fully” out, but if anyone were to ask me it wasn’t something I planned to hide. I just didn’t feel the need to publicly broadcast it.
I’m at my friend “Leah”‘s house. I wanted to go out to a bar with her and tell her about me because she doesn’t know, but I want her to know. She’s the type of friend who would accept me know matter what, like I legit feel I could murder someone and her opinion of me wouldn’t change. I’ve known her since I was about 10 and she’s just always been one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Knowing her is both an honor and a privilege.
It’s snowing pretty bad out and she lives close to me so we decide I’ll come over and have a few drinks there. I think that that’s fine. Except her mom, who LOVES me decides to hang out with us all night.
In my friend group, we’re all pretty close with our parents. We talk about things with/in front of our parents that a lot of people may not. For clarity on that, one time I said to my friend Jess (in front of my mom), “I’d rather be fingered by Edward Scissorhands than go on a date with him.” Laughter ensued.
Finally after 3 rum and cokes, I decide to out myself to Leah and her mom. They’re both supportive as hell, which I expect (I’ll be honest Leah’s mom is pretty religious so I was low key concerned, but she’s also a pretty forward thinking lady).
Leah and her mom both think I’m hilarious. In fact, most people in my life do. I have about 4 people in my life that I’m actually serious with. Everyone else gets the comedic “asshole” version of me. Even on serious topics, I just glaze over them – giving just enough information to keep me in the conversation, but not enough for questions or letting anyone get to invasive.
As we talk about me, because this is pretty big news to them, I become increasingly more uncomfortable, I’m cracking more and more jokes. Leah’s mom must have had enough and wanted the nitty gritty and calls me on it. I’ll never forget it.
“Caitlin why do you always use humor as a defense mechanism?”
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Mostly because it was true, but also because no one has ever called me on it. I think most people just don’t recognize it. Others probably just enjoy the fun I bring and don’t want to discuss it or won’t force me to. I need people to force me to.
I defend myself with humor without even thinking a lot of the time. What’s weird is that I genuinely think I am being open and honest with people. I legitimately think people know shit about me. Then someone asks a question that I find personal or too deep and I twist it into a joke. I sit here, oblivious to myself.
I’m not sure if it’s because I try to block out all the bad shit. Or like Tiffany Haddish said (I’m paraphrasing), “You can either let the pain of the past hurt you or laugh at it.” I guess the difference is she actually talks about the pain in a comedic way, whereas I avoid it with jokes.
Maybe I’m afraid of giving people too much of me out of fear that these people will judge me or leave me and I’m left with nothing. I know people talk about what we say to each other with other people. I don’t want the deepest parts of me shared with anyone other than who I’m sharing it with. I don’t know how I developed these deep, paralyzing trust issues.
I do feel like if asked, I will tell. Maybe not to the extent people want, but eventually I’ll get there. We all have our flaws. It’s important to find people who are willing to work with the flaws you present.
In the podcast, “Guys We Fucked,” Corrine stated something along the lines of how we are all adults now and we all have baggage. We aren’t these little high school romances and friends where the world hasn’t hurt us yet. Every relationship we get into, romantic or platonic, you have to accept there will be baggage. We have to learn what kind of baggage we can work with and can keep in our lives. The baggage she can work with is drug addicts or alcoholics. That is just some peoples cross to bear and she feels she can accept those people in her life, help them, without compromising herself. She however simply can NOT deal with people with family issues and mama’s boys. It annoys her and doesn’t want to be around people with those problems.
That being said, I suppose the people I surround myself with must be able to accept my baggage. The baggage that I want to tell people things, but I really need to trust you. The baggage of trust issues. I need to know you aren’t going to tell anyone. Even if you say you won’t, I need to truly believe it. I need people who will ask, but not pry. Continue to ask and continue to not pry. Eventually, I will let it all out. It’s just not easy for me. Shit, I stayed in the closet for 26 years because I was afraid of being that vulnerable, but here I am. FUCKING OUT and not giving a shit.
A lot of people just assume I’m this constantly happy person who doesn’t have a lot of bad things in her life. I think I’m happy most of the time. At least I try to be. However, talking about feelings and emotions makes me uncomfortable. It could be because every time I’ve tried in the past, it’s ruined a friendship or relationship, so I just let others express their feelings and I accept it without rebuttal. I also hate the fact that once you say something you can’t take it back. It’s out there. Then with feelings and emotions everything is so “high” that maybe things aren’t phrased appropriately. That’s why I like and prefer writing when it comes to more serious shit. Mainly because I don’t have to see or talk about it, but people can know what’s going on. Also, because I can edit it. Reword things. Have time to reflect on what I said. Respond – not react.
If I care about you, you’ll hear my voice. I can promise you that. As long as you’re willing to stick around. Which is my biggest fear. Loss of people.