I can get very serious very fast. This is no body’s fault but my own – although growing up when I did (which, to be fair to me, isn’t entirely my fault) gets to be called a contributing factor.
For a long time, I only had to bother with being myself, but as I neared Real Live Adulthood, it was clear I was subject to being stuffed in categories. Fun put me in the ‘ditzy’ column. The creative and playful was ‘naive.’ The wit? That was just annoying. Not many liked a witty woman back then. If I had something to say, it was swiftly brushed away with the you’re opinionated broom.
Everyone seemed to agree that if you expected to be taken seriously, you were required to be serious.
Eventually, I accepted that’s how it worked. So I followed procedures. When I felt myself being dismissed, I unleashed the humorless part of my brain. When someone was flaunting made up knowledge or – more often – their intellectual superiority (please. Meet a law student. At a party.), seriousness marched right out of me. The serious, mixed with some simmering anger – oh, THAT was a cocktail.
I wish I’d known enough to know how made up it all was and how much damage it could do. Nothing is more paralyzing to me than taking myself seriously.
I won’t ever stop being serious. It’s obligatory in grownups. And I don’t think we’d know if someone cared and considered something important if we didn’t talk in the most serious tones of voice. Besides, it would be too much work to get it all out of me.
Still. I’m much better now, thank you for asking. I’ve recovered a lot of my twinkly stuff and re-arranged my interior so I can reach it easily. It still doesn’t quite trust me, so I have to talk to it gently and give it treats and generally indulge it, but it’s there. And every single time that I choose to use it instead of seriousness, the work gets better, the ideas come more easily, the answers appear.
The painting is an illustration of that moment when we pause to find our sense of humor.