I don't find myself funny. I have been told people enjoy my humor, but honestly? Every time I hit publish, I second guess myself and have to walk away from the computer so that I don't delete what I wrote. They say that humor is a defense mechanism; a way to keep what cuts you in two from finishing the job. It is how I bind the wound and staunch the flow.
Life delivers the kill-bite, and laughing it off is my way of sidestepping the throat-ripping Pit Bull of Pissdom. That last bit didn't sound right. The Boxer of Bitchy Life? How about the Afghan of Autism? Ok, that is all kinds of ridiculous. See how good I am at distracting myself from the frustration at hand?
Some of my best friends are very funny. In fact, I have a hard time relating to anyone that doesn't find life funny. I mean, really, what is life but a comedy of errors? If I see the pathos in the product, and you can't appreciate it? We probably aren't going to stay friends. I don't mean that you have to laugh at my jokes all the time, because, face it, I'm not that funny. But if you don't see at least a bit of humor in the Situation we call life (as opposed to the guy in New Jersey) then you pretty much cannot relate to me, and to most of the people I know. Also, if you laugh with me, I am more apt to buy you drinks. Ask my friends if you don't believe me.
Sometimes humor covers up anger. And of course, anger is always a secondary emotion. Because underneath, just like the layers of an onion, is more: hurt is often what lies beneath for me. It hurts to raise children with autism. No, really, it does. I am not being flippant. It sucks, much of the time. And though I don't get mad at my children, I am often mad at God. Because, face it, through his Infinite Jesting, he has placed me as the mother of these children. I mean, he has to be laughing, right? How else do you explain:
- I like quiet. I crave quiet. Screaming, though I do it sometimes, really upsets me…puts me on high alert. Enough of it puts me on edge and makes me snippy. Especially if there is nothing I can do about it. JBean is the Child of Sound and Thunder. LOUD is her middle name. Try to tell her to lower her volume? Her brow furrows and a storm passes across her face and I get, "NO NO NO NO I AM NOT YELLING MAMA! YOU are YELLING! I'M TRYING, MAMA! I'M TRYING! [yes I know, you are very trying] That last bit? I don't say out loud. I just think it. Real hard. "I AM NOT YELLING! YOU'RE NOT LISTENING TO ME! STOP TALKING OVER ME STOP TALKING OVER ME…" ad nauseum.
- I enjoy my own company, and am happiest sitting by myself, reading or writing or even watching tv. I have a youngest child who must sit thisclose to me every single second of every day. There are reprieves, but they are few and far between. She cannot do school work on her own, she needs me to walk her through it. Getting dressed is often too hard for her, there are too many choices. And she cannot leave me alone long enough to let me write this post. It is beyond annoying.
- I don't like to be touched. I, of course, don't live in a bubble, so therefore I prep myself to deal with the inevitable hugs, squeezes, touches and lap-sittings that come with having a sensory-seeking kid. I am not touch-avoidant, as much as begin to feel overwhelmed by the onslaught of her screaming fits and want to retreat for safety. Of course, right after a blow up is when she needs to be held. That is absolutely the worst time for me.
Expectations are everything. I expected, when I had children, to have a child I could dress up and take out. I expected she would enjoy going places and chatter excitedly about it. And I have that. But I also have a child who has to do her homework in a certain order. She needs to have her socks on *just right.* Dressing in the morning is like attending a meeting at Camp David… it has to look good, feel good and be neither too hot or too cold; it cannot be too short or too tight. And it has to reflect the way she is feeling. We have tried the week-long organizers, but she didn't want to wear what she sets aside at the time. Insisting caused such a shit storm that it just wasn't worth it. The crayons need to be sharp enough. Make sure to give her plenty of notice if you want to walk out the door to get somewhere on time. Chances are, if you don't, she will come unglued, and then you aren't going anywhere.
So, to combat all of this? I laugh. A lot. And make others laugh, too. I see the humor in the unfunny. Honestly, there are few things I cannot find the humor in. Death? Check. Dismemberment? Check. Autism? Anger? Augh? Check. Check. Check. It is absolutely a matter of survival.
They say, "Laugh, and the world laughs with you." And here you are.
"Cry and you cry alone." And that's why I choose humor.
T, who is laughing, right now, on the inside