Self-Deprecating Humour is Funny and All, but You Are Breaking Your Own Heart.

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Recently I have put on a bit of weight. And by a bit, I mean a whopping 12 kgs. (27 pounds!) I have never really dealt with weight issues before, but as a pretty short gal, I seem to have ballooned in the last 2 years and am just getting wider, and wider. Most tragic of all, the weight seems to like hanging around my chin. Or shall I say chins?

A few weeks ago, I stepped on the scale for the first time in about a year and I genuinely thought the scale was broken. So I rushed to a second scale and alas, it was not.  I felt sad, and confused, and devastated. But instead of confronting why I had put on weight (3 years of extreme stress, anxiety, comfort eating, and despair) I shrugged it off and made some self-deprecating jokes….. Jokes that were f**king mean, but somehow made me feel like I didn’t have to deal with it.  Or perhaps made me weirdly think I was.

Yesterday I went to my besties birthday party and spent a good hour deciding what to wear. Old jeans no longer fit me, and I felt pretty hideous in everything else. But eventually, I settled on something that felt comfortable, even though I didn’t feel very good about myself.  Nevertheless, I ended up having a brilliant time at the birthday, except I couldn’t stop talking about my bloody weight gain to anyone and everyone who would listen.

I bumped into an ex-boyfriend and told him all about it, I saw old friends and mentioned it to them, and I even told a guy from Tinder about the extra 12 kg’s I am hauling along – and all were very kind and lovely. But, why did I do this? Was it some weird thought of if I mention it first and get the elephant out the room (literally), then it’s less awkward? Did I want to declare it so they knew I had it under control? I wasn’t mindlessly piling on the pounds?  Was there some power in me knowing about it? Would they feel less sorry for me? Was I now that funny fat chick as opposed to that sad soul who got a bit fat? I don’t know. But I am interested in why I felt this immense need to talk about it, justify it, and explain it.  As if I needed a reason, an excuse, or a story. As if I was only worthy if my weight gain was a result of medication, or stress, or sadness?

I am a feminist, I studied Gender Studies, and I follow many inspirational and fierce womxn who have embarked on journeys of self-love. They bravely fight against societies damaging and stringent confines and proudly fight against a culture where body shaming is the norm. These womxn astound me and I believe in everything that they stand for, and yet, I find it so hard to feel that same self-love for myself.  I find it so challenging to feel comfortable in my own skin when my physicality does not represent a desirable norm. A norm, in terms of weight, that I once happily and mindlessly embodied. But now I am no longer an embodiment of that, I am being so mean to myself. I hate body shaming culture, and yet I happily and cruelly shame myself?

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Self-love is brilliant and empowering, but it’s also extremely difficult. I am not quite sure how to shut out the negative voices, how to take up space. I find myself wanting to shrink away and I am finding it hard to embrace where I am right now.  So instead of practicing kindness and self-love, I keep making bad, mean, horrible jokes about how fat I am in an attempt to conceal how I really feel.  (I mean look at my freaking chins comment at the start of this post) And the truth is I feel lost, and a bit lonely, and scared.

Self-depreciating humour seems funny initially, but it’s actually socially and psychologically damaging. So why do we do it and what are the consequences?

Abbey vermeal writes; “There are many causes that I think this humor could be attributed to: as a defense mechanism–if I make fun of myself, then others can’t–as an attempt to speak on an actual concern or insecurity that is easier to admit if disguised as a joke.” 

It strangely allows us to voice that which haunts us, but it can cause long-term suffering and pain.

Jessamy Hibberd, a clinical psychologist shares;

‘These ‘harmless’ jabs mean you’re focussing on why you think you’re not doing well and accepting a negative commentary about yourself. In turn, this will have a negative impact on your mood, make it harder for you to gain confidence and build a realistic picture of your capabilities.’

So, I have decided to be kinder to myself and treat myself as I would a friend. When a friend picks up weight, I hardly, if ever notice, and it in no way diminishes my love or respect for them. So why am I not treating myself this way? To love and nurture the space I am in, and to allow myself to heal without the cruelty of my inner critic. I am hurting myself, and breaking my own heart. It’s time to love this vessel that allows me this precious life and to stop being so nasty to myself.

I am going to Thailand on Thursday and in the weeks building up to the trip I have been dreading the thought of showing my body, wearing my bikini, and exposing myself. But perhaps, this is the best thing to happen? A chance to put my goals into action. To enjoy myself no matter what the scale, or the mirror says. To truly love myself unconditionally. I know in my head that my value is not dependent on my physical appearance, but it’s hard to get that message to the heart. But I have to try, because I am breaking this little heart of mine, and it so desperately needs to be loved and held. By me. 

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If anyone has any self-love tips, I would absolutely love to hear them? 

 

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One thought on “Self-Deprecating Humour is Funny and All, but You Are Breaking Your Own Heart.

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  1. Brilliant…

    And a bit of wisdom from Khalil again.
    On Self-Knowledge
    Kahlil Gibran

    Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
    But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.
    You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
    You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

    And it is well you should.
    The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
    And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
    But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
    And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
    For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

    Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”
    Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”
    For the soul walks upon all paths.
    The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
    The soul unfolds itself like a lotus of countless petals.

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