Content note: this piece makes mention of domestic violence and death.
I want to revisit the concept of life not being that serious.
I wrote this piece shortly after something serious happened in my life that brought up a lot of trauma and pain. I spent several long nights alone in the dark with this serious thing. The pain I felt was paired—new and fresh while also dredging up old childhood hurt.
It was serious and sad and dark, and at the same time, life went on. My friend’s dog continued to do ridiculous things for attention. I found laughter in unexpected places, like at work or with my French teacher. People kept sending me silly memes.
I thought about other difficult times in my life when, out of nowhere, something silly happened. Or something strange. Or something absurd. Right there, in the darkest of places, when a splash of light appeared. A gift from the gods, the universe, whatever your preferred term. A reminder that not everything is so deadly serious, a sign that maybe I would get through it.
I remember lying brokenhearted on the bathroom floor crying my eyes out while simultaneously aware of how silly I looked, like a toddler having a temper tantrum in the checkout line of a grocery store. We never really grow up, do we? I was so sad I could barely stand but was also having an out-of-body experience where I could see myself from an outsider’s perspective, and I looked totally ridiculous.
I remember being at my grandmother’s side facing the rawness and relentlessness of her death, the loss happening slowly before my eyes. It was ruthless, and yet I said goodbye to her surrounded by friends and family, our shared memories, and moments of lightness and laughter. Remember when Nanny and Poppa used to …?
I remember using a hat and a change of clothes to hide from his rampage in the lobby of a hotel. Perched on one of the couches, I watched him scream and throw his keycard at an employee. I tried to use the hat to cover my face while I sat there shaking with fear, feeling like a detective in a cheesy mystery movie, my “disguise” working because of his lack of awareness more than anything.
These moments with touches of humour, silliness, or absurdity are what I’m talking about when I say that life isn’t that serious: because even when it’s incredibly fucking serious, there are these little reminders that it also isn’t somehow. These moments have helped me survive the seriousness. Allowing the light to touch these dark places has helped to guide me out.
Also, when I get too serious about myself and my life, I swear that the gods start laughing at me. I believe they throw up roadblocks, ridiculous situations, and funny moments to mess with me and remind me that life can be serious, yes, but not that serious, that life is often also absurd.