What You Don't Know About the Class Clown

People come to me for laughs. There’s no doubt in my mind when I die, the eulogy and comments from my funeral will be, “That Heather sure was funny.” And yes, I am terribly funny on the outside, it’s true.

I used to be a quiet little girl. The fat girl in the corner who was told once on the kindergarten playground, “I am not playing with you at school because I don’t want other kids to know I am friends with you because you are so fat.” This was said by one of my only playmates outside of school. I can tell you her first and last name, but I won’t because she was five and surely didn’t know the power of her words.

Looking back now, I can feel so sad for myself. How did I get through that? Would I be able to get through that now as an adult? I just don’t know how I built up a survival wall during those early years. But somehow, I did. By seventh grade, I learned to make the joke first before I could become the butt of one. Self-deprecation became a means of survival for me and I was so good at it. So very, very good at it.

Now as a 40-year-old adult, I excel at the sport of degrading myself for the sake of humor. It’s almost like I brainwashed myself. I cannot take a compliment, because I truly don’t believe them. What once started as just weight issues has now turned into full self-esteem issues. I have zero confidence, I think I am inferior to just about everyone, but by God, I can still make people laugh. How did I get here?

I honestly cannot say I would change things, because my humor has made many people smile through some really tough times in their lives. It’s like that scene in “Steel Magnolias” where Claire says, “Here! Punch Ousier!” and everyone winds up laughing at the cemetery. The world needs people like me, people who make themselves forget their own sorrows and struggles. However, inside of me, the struggle doesn’t go away. To feel loved. To feel accepted. To feel worthy of anything.

Sometimes in life, we see people we feel we are kindred with. The minute I heard comedian Robin Williams struggled with depression, I knew he was one of my people. It is such a dichotomy to show the world one persona, but know the other one inside your own brain and heart.

So today, I ask you give some love to the funny people of the world. We need it.

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Thinkstock photo via nuanz.

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