Joker

So tonight/last night I did my usual Friday night thing: The Fort, a college youth group. The only different thing this week was we met an hour earlier to play Frisbee in the park before hand, which was awesome. Aside from that, we had a pretty normal night. But in the normalness, I actually felt slightly abnormal. I don’t like to assume what other people think of me, but I’m pretty sure there’s a consensus somewhere that I’m a pretty funny person. I like making people laugh, and I’m usually pretty dang good at it, but a big part of my comedic style is sarcasm and insult and wit. Tonight I was pretty satisfied with my “performance,” but it came to a point that it usually ends up in, which is with one person calling me mean. Normally I brush it off as not a wholehearted statement, and she just says it as a reaction. But tonight was a little different.

Tonight she made the comment that normally a relationship has to be formed before she’s comfortable with the kind of comments I give her (and that she kinda gives me). I said that she’s mean to me too, and she said it was defense, to which I said that she’s actually mean to everybody. She said she wasn’t mean to one person, but that’s really not the point of the story here. What’s significant is that I felt she actually meant it this time, and I started considering the words that have been said to me in the past. I always worry that I overstep my boundaries. But I feel this pressure to be that “class clown” in every group circle I’m in. If I’m not making people laugh, them I’m not fulfilling my role as an entertainer. Another part of it is plainly my personality. To people I’m not comfortable with or don’t know, I’m pretty quiet and respectful and intellectual. When I’m around my friends and people I know and am comfortable with, I feel like I can be myself. I don’t hold things back and I say what comes to my mind. I’m goofy and I try to make people laugh. I’m loud, dramatic, I crack jokes all the time, and I might even be obnoxious sometimes. But that’s generally who I am, and I think that my friends have come to accept that in me and hopefully love me for it. But at the same time, it leads me to think that I’m not wanted around because I’m “overbearing” or “incapable” of anything more serious.

I don’t want to be a one-trick-pony. Yes, humor is a big part of who I am and I’m glad that I can make people laugh, but I don’t want that to be mistaken for immaturity, because when the situation calls for it, I can be quiet and thoughtful and carry a deep conversation. I can be insightful and offer something of value to an intellectual and personal conversation. I don’t want that side of me to be forgotten or lost underneath a mountain of sass and sarcasm. I am both of those, and I want them both to be valued.

I’m under constant tension from my own thoughts as a result of two somewhat conflicting personalities both fighting to be expressed. I don’t know where I belong in a group. I like to think that others appreciate me and value both sides of me, but I always tell myself that I’m too much and I’m never really taken seriously. I’m a joker and I make people laugh, but like in a deck of cards, the joker is rarely considered part of the deck. 52 cards +2 jokers. It doesn’t matter if you lose those cards, and they’re never really taken seriously enough to be included into a game. And then I come across as mean? My humor legitimately hurts feelings, even though I’m only going for a witty or sarcastic remark? That rends me. I make those comments because I love the people I’m around and I’m comfortable with them. It’s one way I show affection for people, and it breaks my heart to think that I hurt people trying to make them laugh, or that they’re offended by me being myself. I don’t want to hurt people, especially by being myself and going for a laugh. I don’t know what to do. Do I stay true to my nature? Am I the problem, or are they the problem? I just don’t know.

Like I said, I’ve always assumed the role of joker, the class clown, the comedian, the Chandler Bing. I don’t like the thought of that being inadequate or undesirable, of me being inadequate or undesirable. But maybe that’s just how it is. Maybe I’m destined to not be close to many people. Whatever it may be, I’ll still be the same old hilarious dude I may or may not be.

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