It’s a Funny Thing

I’m not an easy person to be close with. There are a few quirks you have to get used to, and I’m sure I’m frustrating more times than not.


But there are moments when I can be semi-humorous and/or introspective, and it’s been my experience that people don’t always want introspection—they want to be entertained.

I’m no exception to this rule.

While getting introspective and “deep” can be helpful, sometimes I think that writing about it all the time ends up sounding like I’m just dwelling on things.

So instead of publishing posts that make me sound like a drag, I often try to find the funny and share the posts that make me sound like a weirdo. Humor is a great distraction from things and most people like to laugh—me included—because who wouldn’t want to be happy?

But here’s where I let you in on a secret.

Sometimes when I’m at my (relative) funniest, that’s when I’m at my lowest, and each tweet, update or post is simply me grasping at sanity straws. I might be snarky, but chances are I’d rather be in bed with covers over my head pretending the day isn’t happening.

Don’t get me wrong—sometimes I’m genuinely happy with things and I’m naturally a sarcastic smartass. On those days when I’m able to write, creating something—anything—makes me happy, ridiculously happy, mostly because I feel productive and useful for at least a few minutes in time.

Then there are times I epically fail, and instead of trying to search for a laugh, I go and search for the covers. Unfortunately, those days happen much more often than I’d like to admit.

But while there is often real suffering, there is also self-created suffering. While there is often real happiness, there is also self-created happiness.

I forget this when I’m not only without a funny blog post, status update or quick quip to read or write, but also without the desire to care either way—about that, or really, anything. These are the times when I get stressed, as I simply want to be funny and LAUGH DAMMIT! Why is being happy so hard?

But as Thich Nhat Hanh once said much more eloquently than me, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

True, Thich my man, true.

It’s rather unrealistic to think you can be happy 100 percent of the time. That would be weird and unnatural, like how people’s faces vibrate when they try and hold in a yawn. (Just let it go, people.) And even though many of us have good lives and good opportunities, normal life isn’t easy for anyone—even those without depression.

But we can try to create small moments when things seem most bleak. We can remember that behind everyone’s smile, there might be some pain. Behind everyone’s laugh, there might be self-doubt. Behind every dark moment there has to be light, even if it’s buried under eight pounds of crap.

Where there’s humor, there’s hope.

It’s funny how those things work out.

Like the blog? Buy the book.

This post was kind of written in response to a company called The b Positive Project, a T-shirt company that has become more of a “positive movement” of sorts.  As their site states, “We know that everyone encounters tough times, but we believe that, in those moments, everyone also has the choice to ‘b Positive.’”


They have a really cool story and they reached out to me to share something, I was honored, so you have this. Oh! And even though they offered to send me a shirt, I haven’t been compensated in any way. I just think they’re cool. But I do love T-shirts, so there’s that, too.   

If anyone else wants to send me a T-shirt, I’ll totally write you a post.  

36 responses to “It’s a Funny Thing

  1. I think it would be fun to hang out and see, after like five minutes, who could out weird the other. Internally, we’re a lot alike. It’s an odd skill to always find the awkwardly funny in everything.

    I’m glad you have in all in one place, here.

  2. Humor is a mask for a lot of things, especially depression. I should know. In fact, I’ve been low lately, so it’s time for a funny post. Luckily, I have an extra hour today to work that in.

  3. I do think there is something to be said for just putting a smile on your face and doing the “fake it until you make it” thing. It by no means fixes thing but sometimes it’s just about getting out of your own head and choosing to be different. I have to do that once in a while. At times, it can be enough to pull me out of a mini funk. Other times, I just need to curl up on the couch and watch episodes of Conan on Tivo.

    • Yup. I think “fake it til you make it” works in minor situations, but I also know when the depression hits, not much helps. I don’t even have the energy to fake it. 😉 But trying to find the funny–my own or someone elses–often gives me that spark. Introspection is great, but there’s a fine line between that and dwelling, as you know. Bring on Conan!

  4. I like Jennifer’s “fake it until you make it” quote…it’s true!

  5. I’m totally in a this-forced-smile-better-bring-some-effing-joy phase, an it’s actually working! I’m always surprised when that happens.

    • I know. Sometimes people look at you like you’re insane, but people often look at me that way anyway. Why not smile and show off my OCD addiction to brushing my cavity-free teeth, right?

  6. I like that you quote Thich Nhat Hanh in this post. 🙂 I definitely feel you on this. Whenever I feel actually depressed I put on my Arrested Development DVDs and I think it literally alters your brain function, even if temporarily. Gotta work with what you got.

  7. I was just reading an article in Time magazine about the making of the Spielberg movie “Lincoln.” Apparently he was a hard guy to figure out and the lady doing the biography research was a little frustrated because almost everyone had a different opinion of him. One thing the did all agree on was this: he was funny. (I was like, Whaaa? Lincoln was funny?) According to the biographer, he said, “I laugh so I don’t cry.”

  8. “So instead of publishing posts that make me sound like a drag, I often try to find the funny and share the posts that make me sound like a weirdo.”

    Me too, Abby. Me too.

    “when I’m able to write, creating something—anything—makes me happy, ridiculously happy, mostly because I feel productive and useful for at least a few minutes in time.”

    I totally get that. And that’s a GREAT feeling.

  9. This is why I love your writing. Honesty. Sending you a hug and a sloppy wet kiss way up on the cheek…

  10. I hear you. I definitely use humor when I’m upset about stuff (like if there’s anything funny in my hurricane sandy post. bleh).

  11. I love the funny and am most comfortable on that side of writing, but agree it’s impossible to be there always. You do a nice job of balancing the two without being a downer. It just reads as true and real.

  12. Where there is humour, there is hope… damn true!

    I would out-weird and out-neurotic you in s 30 seconds flat. You are welcome!

  13. Catherine Johnson

    I totally relate on the being funny thing, it’s almost like a reaction to your joke could cheer you up. I don’t know how it happens. Maybe it’s an introvert thing. Have you read The Quiet Book by Susan Cain?

  14. Your writing is always full of such compassion and truth, Abby.

    I’m glad that you speak out, that you don’t hide, and that you’re honest.

    You have a beautiful soul.

  15. It’s so simple and yet so complicated to think that we can create our own happiness. Mindset is everything, and I know from personal experience that focusing on the positive and finding humor, even in the small things, goes a long way. But I also think there’s something to be said for allowing yourself to be a mess, occasionally. You can’t be all roses and unicorns all the time; sometimes you just have to be real and allow yourself to feel hurt, pain, etc. and sit in bed under your covers and drink root beer. It’s about balance, I guess, and finding a “happy” medium (hah, see what I did there?) between being positive and being genuine. You’re beautiful either way, Abby!

  16. I am so with you on this. Sometimes when I am being really witty and funny with friends, it’s when I just want to be home alone and that’s my coping mechanism…to just make fun of everything and everyone.

    But sometimes I’m really happy when I’m being funny too. I am slowly but surely realizing I need to be alone a little more. I need to re-hermit.

  17. My husband has suggested that my difficulty in maintaining happiness is because I am simply used to be unhappy. I don’t know how not to be unhappy so it makes being happy that much harder. HE’S AN ASS.

    I try my best (doesn’t always work, but I try!) to remember that everyone has shit they’re dealing with and that a person’s sarcasm, snark, and/or humor may be a cover. I don’t call him/her on it, but I certainly try to remember that it may just be a mask. My mask right now is permanently affixed to my face. I don’t see it coming off anytime soon. I’m usually funniest when I’m not trying to be (like a toddler). It is a balancing act, no doubt, especially when people may be used to the funny, used to the positivity (when inside I’m screaming). Thank you for your honesty (and know my comment on TKW’s blog was a joke. I don’t think your mom hated you at all).

  18. My humor generally elevates when I’m down. It’s the awkward humor, like cracking jokes at a funeral, that helps me relieve some of the stress and deal with things. It may not be for everyone, but it works for me.

  19. So true: while there’s always light in the darkness, there’s always darkness in the light – we just don’t like to talk about it as much;)

  20. kelleysbreakroom

    I remember reading once that many comedians suffer depression. Kind of an interesting cycle, right? I totally agree that one can’t be happy all the time. It is just not normal. Loved your words in this post, as usual!

  21. “Sometimes when I’m at my (relative) funniest, that’s when I’m at my lowest, and each tweet, update or post is simply me grasping at sanity straws. I might be snarky, but chances are I’d rather be in bed with covers over my head pretending the day isn’t happening.”

    Sigh. I read this a few days and have meaning to get back to comment. I think you may have seriously effed me up with these two sentences. Unless I can block this post from my head, I am going to feel guilty every time I laugh at your funny posts or tweets. If this isn’t the definition of paradox I don’t know what is. By the way, was it okay to laugh about dead rabbits? I feel like I shouldn’t have laughed. But I did.

    “Where there’s humor, there’s hope.”

    You do end on a positive note so I guess I forgive you. I want to send you a shirt now though. Seriously. Size please.

    • Oh no! It’s a good thing! I like trying to be funny because, well, that’s just how I am. Trust me. It’s not always dark, but those days when it is, humor helps me dig out. Sometimes. Sometimes it’s just Parks & Rec reruns or blog reading or baseball. Sigh…I miss baseball. Anyway, keep laughing. Even at dead rabbits.

  22. Hey, speaking of dead things and funerals can you do a post on funerals for avocados that are brown inside when you cut into them. Nothing makes me sadder. I’ll send you a shirt . . .

  23. I think we, as bloggers, feel/think those things on a day to day bases.
    Remember that the funny and bright writers of years past, where NOT sunshine and roses 24/7. 😉

  24. I recently heard on a John Tesh radio show health segment that if you’re feeling down, the very act of just raising the corners of your lips into a smile will start the production of endorphins. I thought that was kind of a cool thing. There’s much pressure to be happy in society. I say like the proverbial orgasm, sometimes you just have to fake it till you make it. Happiness isn’t this huge blanket that get thrown over one’s life. It’s moments that are then strung together like a necklace of pearls and the string itself is contentment. I figure if I strive to be content the pearls of happiness will take care of themselves. Now humor — that’s kind of like an erection. It either happens or it doesn’t. 😉

  25. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. 🙂

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