I guess this qualifies as one of those #ThrowbackThursday things I keep seeing floating around social media, but it’s not like me to be on time anyway so… what the hell.
Between the ages of twelve and thirteen I discovered being funny made switching schools easier. To lessen the awkwardness of being ‘the new girl’ I became a bit of a practical joker, someone who always had a ready smile and a jokey reply – even my school reports reflect it with one teacher describing me as “effervescent”. The detentions I earned were outnumbered by the friends I made.
Humour bridges language and culture, and speaks directly to the soul. Sadly wit is no indication of happiness, as we’re all currently too aware. I found this poem I wrote back then that could have applied to the comic luminary we lost earlier this week.
To carry on when you’re sad and tired.
To keep them laughing as you try to hide
the grief that’s spilling out inside.
Straight ahead, up-front, in full view.
Anxious, depressed, it’s all you can do
to stop them seeing any clue.
To bear torture and pain with incredible duration.
To laugh and smile before the nation.
You’ve got to go on, it’s your occupation.
But when things are good then it’s okay,
you’ll laugh and smile anyway,
and their applause just makes your day.
It’s clunky and basic, and lots of people mercilessly deride their early attempts at poetry – often undertaken at a time when hormones were more in control of the pen than sensibility – but I’m grateful for its insight into the creative mind of a younger self who must’ve always recognised not only the interplay between humor and depression, but on some level, the value of spilling her thoughts onto the page. I’m a world away now from that twelve-year-old girl, but essentially still the same.
“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”