In a man’s world, where I am told to smile more in order to be pretty, it can be very strange to be told not to laugh or not to make a fool out of myself.
I was raised on the premise of never taking myself, others, or the world very seriously – my father told me all about the side effects of not being able to discuss every topic under a humoristic light. So, it was easy for me to understand why I was named the class clown, which I took as a compliment.
When I went to college, the same happened and people saw my ability to make them laugh as something rare. Odd, even. Then I realized why – it’s difficult to associate humor with women. There are theories that state women aren’t that funny since they were never encouraged to make jokes growing up, as if it was something only reserved for boys.
As adults, men craved for the ability to conquer us and our job was limited to laughing or not.
How boring was that?
When I was looking for a Master degree, I had no idea what I wanted to pursue. I learned, however, that comedy was something that shouldn’t be taken so seriously – as a way of living, I mean. I should be a journalist because I studied for it. But journalism was something that I had fallen out of love with.
Finally, I found something to entertain myself with, without taking it as a joke. Two more years studying and, in between, doing a job I hated, while challenging myself with writing my own narratives with a twist – they had to be funny. And I, who was completely used to writing imaginative stories, couldn’t be funny when I had to make up a plot. I decided to give up until a friend of mine told me about a stand-up comedy workshop. I was terrified but, still, I did it.
The very thing that I was encouraged to be – funny – has become a burden, at times.
I must be funny. I must make them laugh. However, I have been conquering the fear of failing – it does not upset me anymore, it just reminds me of my condition of being a girl surrounded by thousands of other people.
If we didn’t think about the possibility of failure so much, the world would be nothing but freely ours.
Nevertheless, my fascination with humor continued to the point where I decided to write my thesis about it. This year, I read all about comedy and started questioning many things – is there freedom of speech if comedians cannot disturb or offend the audience? Can humor exist in a politically correct environment?
I was left with even more questions that maybe aren’t supposed to be answered, but rather discussed.
That is the beauty of having freedom of speech.
I learned that humor may serve as a powerful weapon, capable of difficult-measured results, so utopic at this particular time: to bring us closer, understanding that we are made of the exact same matter and, at the same time, to celebrate our differences through what can put our ego aside.
Ultimately, humor makes us forget that we are eventually going to die, as it is a common response to fear. We can choose to laugh at diseases. Sadness. Ourselves.
Do we even realize how powerful and liberating it is to have that choice?
Still, they insist on giving us medicines, completely unaware of the instantaneous power of a full table where more powerful, unarticulated sounds are produced. They must recognize that that energy leaves the room, only to find those who are capable of absorbing it – because the idea that we are strangers dies when a laugh spreads as a unifying embrace.