Blog / 2016 / Self-deprecating Humor

June 23, 2016

We were high school sophomores when the epidemic hit. And it was the girls who were most changed. We were sixteen and so sweet, but suddenly all we could talk about was how we weren’t that pretty, not very smart.

Self-deprecating humor. I remember clearly having it explained to me, and I remember thinking that humor isn’t humorous if it needs to be explained.

So I resisted. I started saying how awesome I was, and I took a special pleasure in emphasizing how gorgeous my friends and I were. I thought the self-aggrandizing was about as funny as the self-deprecation, but my compliment campaign wasn’t meant to be humorous. It was a knee-jerk rebellious response. The important thing was to avoid conforming to this latest fad.

Looking back, I recognize that this lack of real reasoning is what ruined me. It’s why the takedown was so effective.

a roaring bear
Gwenn Seemel
Broken Heart
2014
acrylic on unmounted canvas
12 x 12 inches
(Prints and pretty things with this image are in my Redbubble shop.)

One of my friends—one of my beautiful intelligent friends who was always going on about how ugly and stupid she was—told me that she was bothered by how full of myself I was. I was stunned. I tried to explain my logic, but the words didn’t make much sense, and my friend had little patience for me. She was certain that I believed what I was saying, and she was convinced that my self-love was wrong.

I was devastated. I felt misunderstood, but I also knew that she was at least partly right: I really did think we were fantastic.

At the time, I didn’t understand the full meaning of our conversation, but years later it clicked. My friend had guessed that I believed everything I was saying because she believed all the hurtful things she was saying about herself. Self-deprecating humor wasn’t funny for her either.


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