gallows humor is one of my favorite survival tactics. it's funny, if you think about it: i don't like to be teased about little things (i.e., my insane clumsiness), but the big things lead me to be viciously, bitterly comedic. it's received differently, depending on my audience. it's one of the things the ex used to do well, actually. he understood the need for me to vent more than, really, anyone else in my life has.
i don't always judge my audience well. it's a flaw i have. i have sometimes gotten myself in trouble with making a dark, angry joke that wasn't received in the spirit in which it was intended. see also last night. we went out in the world, an attempt for me to slowly ease myself back into normality after my little... episode. but when you've sworn off alcohol to maintain your sanity, there's just not a lot to do past 1:00 in the morning. i mentioned to the man that, since there was nothing left that was permissible, we should just head back to the car. and then i made the joke. something small, based on something i thought he'd said the other night. a little lighthearted treatment of my self-imposed sobriety, a little gentle tease.
suffice it to say that the mark was missed. BADLY. he got angry, offended. i was absolutely stunned. i apologized, and we walked in silence. we then drove in silence all the way back home, and the longer i sat, the more confused and angry i got. what the hell is this about? i can't joke about my life? i waited until we got inside, then i chose a mature and reasoned response: "what just happened?" i was legitimately, completely lost as to how things devolved.
well, turns out that he and i have the exact opposite approaches to crisis-time humor. it also turns out that the little joke i thought he'd made - which i'd enjoyed, which took the edge off and made me feel a little lighter in some very dark moments - was me mishearing a serious affirmation of his belief in me. he takes his responsibility to me very, very seriously, and he does not find a drop of humor in anything that's happened. i would never joke about that. it's not funny. it's not right.
it's no longer just about me and my strategy. i have considerations. this is what it's like to totally let him in, to show him the worst of me: i have to be prepared for his reactions. i've seen this happen in other people's lives, and now it's happening in mine. so since it's too close to home, and it's too near the bone, i'm going to let the jokes go. they're just not funny anymore.
Letter 70: Be Louder
5 weeks ago