The best trait I got from my mother is a lively sense of humor, though I am luckier than she, in that I have the ability to laugh at myself for my many faux pas. My mom, however, when caught saying or doing something stupid, would get mad at the other person for noticing and say “Oh shut up!” I do have to admit though, that the rest of the family thought her reaction was pretty funny…which made her even madder; which made it funnier still! We gave as good as we got, I guess, in this arena at least.
Now me, when I say something brilliantly obtuse, or just plain dumb? Well, I have the reaction that I hope others will have: I shake my head and think “Oh dear, did I REALLY just say that?” Sometimes I even blush prettily as I do so…endearing, right? (okay, endearing I hope!)and, all the while I’m looking for herbs and spices to make my own damn foot taste just a wee bit better. The “herbs and spices” are, of course, bits and snippets of self-deprecating humor.
It’s a good reaction to have, this. It diffuses the tension, my quick-witted comebacks at the unintended jokes I have just laid bare make me sound, and feel a little less moronic. And a smile and a laugh are good additions to any day.
This is a learned reaction for me, one of the tools I’ve picked up along the way. Some say it’s a Gemini trait. Could be, could be, but I wasn’t always like this. Nope, as a kid I was the one hiding in my closet crying and muttering “They’ll be sorry when I’m dead!” Melodramatic and maudlin, yes, and altogether silly, but it does give me a whole different viewpoint as to what “Coming out of the closet.” means.
To me, coming out of the closet happened when I learned to not take myself quite so seriously, to replace moroseness with laughter, to refuse to be maudlin. (or, at the very least, to laugh at myself when I catch myself being maudlin!) Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m still sensitive as all get out, my skin far too thin, I still get hurt, I still hole up and cry (though without the “they’ll be sorry when I’m dead” line.) and I find myself reacting instead of acting far too often. But I try to be conscious of all this, so I can continue to grow, continue to change, not get stuck in unconscious behaviors that foster unhappiness. And, I try to be as tolerant of my own foibles as I am of others’. Not always successful, I’m still pretty hard on myself, I expect ME to be perfect…but, my foot’s in the door in this regard, instead of in my mouth, so maybe I’ll learn to be a bit easier on myself sometime in the near—or not so near (* sigh *!!!) —future.