A Tumor in Your Humor

So there is the debate out there in the expat blog world regarding whether or not an advert on a carton of eggs is misogynistic. I’m not going to get into that – other than to say, no, it’s not – BUT this lead Sparky and I into a long discussion.

The basics – Everyone sees life through a variety of experiences that create our perspective. Yada Yada Yada. Okay. Given. But, we tend to see the world through the experiences that have wounded us the most or left us the most vulnerable. This is a function, I think, of evolution. For the most part, it works for us.

The problem comes in when our “X”-colored glasses color our every experience and where we force this view upon others via confrontation or in an aggressive manner when it isn’t really necessary. Sometimes people do this to “educate” others, but all it does is piss people off and push them away and sooner or later you end up with no social circle or friends who think as homogeneous as you do. In the end, your message gets lost in the delivery.

I am currently overweight. But this is a vast improvement. I’m Kylie skinny as compared to how I used to be. I have been horribly, severely fuck-up-your-health overweight. I was for a very long time. Being that heavy changed the way I see the world. My instinctual worldview comes through fat-colored glasses. Whenever I look at a chair or an elevator I wonder if I’ll fit or if I’ll be too heavy. When shopping I wonder if I’ll fit down isles and all that jazz. When I buy clothes I still look for the size I wore at my heaviest because I cannot see myself any other way instinctually. I have to work at it.

Sparky asked me on our first date why I was fat just as our dinner was delivered to our table. Yes, I found it rude, but not nearly as rude as I the behaviour I’ve dealt with in everyday life. I asked him why he was an asshole and the conversation continued. A few years ago, before I lost almost 200 pounds, Sparky took the time to see life through my fat colored glasses. I would point out the people staring at me, the guys at the gym making fun of me, the neighbors looking through my groceries as I walked up the stairs or the neighbor who asked me to sit on a different chair because she was worried I would break the one I was poised to use, in front of 15 people. Or when I lost the weight and at a community BBQ, the community wondered if I had a great deal of loose skin. OUT LOUD. To my husband because I stopped going to common events after the chair incident.

He had never noticed before, because whereas he was aware of my weight, I was more than just my weight. He saw me (that is not an avatar reference, nerd).

I rarely confronted or tried to educate anyone about it because frankly, they wouldn’t care and I would end up alienating people I might actually want to be friends with.

We all have our own set of glasses, a few pairs of those glasses actually. One of my pair are fat-colored. I travelled with a friend of mine who is dark skinned. He told me that we should just get through the passport control and wait for him on the other side because at every border crossing, his passport was examined with the utmost scrutiny. He was right. I saw life through dark skinned glasses for a short time.

My point is that even though we all have these glasses, we have the choice to take them off. We have the ability to see a cigar as a cigar and not an instrument of death or a sex toy or a symbol of power or age or all the other connotations. And we need to take those glasses off occasionally or we end up alone and depressed because no one wants to be forced to see through other glasses all the time. We need a break. We need commonality. And for god’s sake, isn’t it just so exhausting?

So come on people. Take off your glasses and enjoy what you see because there is no enjoyment behind them.

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11 thoughts on “A Tumor in Your Humor

  1. Was it not Freud who first remarked that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, in reply to an accusation he was committing symbolic fellatio?

    I often see the world through Freud-coloured glasses, which is why I crack such superb dirty jokes.

    I see the world through gay-coloured glasses, too. Sometimes, they do not give one a pleasant view of one’s fellow man or woman.

    Looking ONLY through gay-coloured glasses, one could see evil, where there is merely ignorance. One could see active hate, where there is simple fear.

    One might respond with resentment, when responding with love is a better, more productive idea.

    I know many gay men who make their lives miserable, because they cannot take off their gay-coloured glasses.

    On the other hand, gay-coloured glasses can sometimes give one a clearer picture. Straight people should try wearing them, from time to time.

    For example, gay-coloured glasses might reveal that many churches, which appear benign at first glance, are oppressive patriarchies led by sexual fruitcakes.

    I’m warming to your metaphor here, Jen, so bear with me…

    Glasses can help you see more clearly, but the risk of overcorrection is always there.

    What happens when glasses are too strong? They give you a headache. And you eventually close your eyes. That means you don’t see a whole lot of things you really ought to take notice of.

  2. What a very articulate post. I wish all of us (read: me) were brave enough to talk about what kind of lens we view life through (although some of this can probably be inferred through our blog posts.) Obviously, our “lenses” can be both a handicap AND a help in different situations as headbang8 was alluding too.

    I also find it interesting that my “lenses” have changed through my life. I had a red-head lens on for a long time (and I know you know this is actually much more significant than what people might think) but now, my hair is not even red anymore! I haven’t had any “carpet match the curtains?” jokes in years! You would think I would be glad about this but…

  3. Wow. I’m still catching up on the egg debate.

    Jen, you’ve said it so well, I won’t try to say much more because, well, I’d just be repeating you, and not at all as well as you did. I’m with you on the analysis of where the fuel for the debate is coming from.

  4. I realize that I am one of guilty parties that you are addressing here, and I really like your glasses metaphor. I think it works really well here.

    I don’t think anybody should be ashamed to admit to the glasses they wear — and I try to acknowledge the glasses that I wear and how they frame my world view. I also am willing to explain how I arrive at my perspectives to people who ask.

    Accordingly, I also think it’s fair game to ask people about the glasses they wear and ask them to explain how they arrived at the conclusions they’ve arrived at. That’s all I’ve done in the past week, and, to the best of my abilities to tell, I have not personally attacked anybody–although I may have asked uncomfortable questions about their perspectives.

    People need to be willing to think about the glasses they wear and acknowledge that the glasses may skew the world and that how they announce their perspectives will, as you observe, “piss people off and push them away and sooner or later you end up with no social circle or friends who think as homogeneous as you do.”

    I hope that I haven’t alienated anybody too much with how I’ve announced my views and questioned somebody else’s perspectives. I actively made a choice to engage here and I have more to say on the subject, but, I promise, not too much more. I want to explain to everybody why I chose to engage at this time, I think the reasons are pretty important.

  5. It’s funny, I read this right after reading way too much coverage of the CPAC convention going on in the U.S. right now. I call them “crazy glasses . . .”

    I sort of fell of the expat-blogger radar, maybe I need to find my way back!

    PS Thanks for the wine! It is yummy! The post card is on my pin-board in my office. We should chat next week. I have made a few work decisions that may lead me down a happier path.

  6. I am cracking up (no pun intended) that you addressed the infamous egg post. What a small world we are over here! I love your post, feel for you and totally “get it” for reasons I won’t belabor here. But in the end, I wanted to expand on the closing of your post. Yes, people need to lighten the hell up and take their glasses off occasionally or they will become the horribly uptight person who can only see things through them. I think there is a wonderful part of life folks are missing when they don’t take the time to see things a little fuzzy and veiled- perhaps ignoring some imperfections or tasteless parts- and just enjoy it. Maybe I see life a little too much in this “euphamistic” way- but I tell you, I bet I smile a hell of a lot more than the 24-7 glasses people.

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