Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm funny, but looks aren't everything

Simple joys have a simple voice,
It says why not go ahead?
--Simple Joys (done by Ben Vereen), Pippin

Today kicks off Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group.  It’s a little loving web support for writers to share their hopes, their fears, and their neuroses with other stark raving lunatics creative souls.  Many thanks to Alex for putting this together with the grace and style we've all become accustomed to!  So get comfortable, put on some show tunes, and show me your jazz hands.  Because everyone’s a star today. 
I am not a classic beauty.  
My face is all angles and lines, and we’re talking more Picasso than Porizkova.
I am not photogenic.  I’ve never been the girl in spring break photos with big doe eyes and blinding Chiclet white teeth.
I’m the girl who shows her uvula in pictures; the one that ruined your class photo with a well-timed gesture.  You’re welcome.
I’m the funny one.  Although at times I’ve been referred to as “strange,” “spaz,” and the ever popular, “dork.”  Talent is so subjective.
Around age seven, I realized I was failing as a princess.  Pink’s never been my color.  That’s when I discovered Lucille Ball, and playing the jester seemed like a more viable plan, tiaras optional.  I’ve spent my life following the irreverent girls, the ones who laughed too loud and too often, even at their own jokes.  Olivia Newton John may have rocked her poodle skirt in Grease but I worshipped Rizzo’s smartass charm.  Sally Field exuded quiet strength in Steel Magnolias but I wanted to be in your face like Shirley MacLaine. 
Everything I write has humor in it.  Making someone laugh is a high for me; my shot of tequila without the risk of waking up naked in a hall closet.  To me, life is only worth living if you’re laughing.  Maybe this stems from my career in health care.  Humans are sensitive and easily broken creatures.  I’ve learned that if you can’t find the joy in a bleak situation you’ll drown in sadness.  
But there’s a serious side to my happy jester act, a truth that hides not so far under the surface.  Humor is my way of dealing with insecurity, a way to mock the darkness before it can swallow me.  My greatest fear is no one laughing, and then the joke’s on me.
But when someone finds me amusing, has their outlook brightened for even a moment by something I did or said?
Affirmation.  Absolution.  Acceptance.  I banish the sober face of doubt for another day.
Humor is my insecurity blanket.  So please, laugh with me.  I want to bring you a smile, hell, I’ll even settle for a exasperated eyeroll.  I’m easy like that.
  “I’m not funny.  What I am is brave.”  --Lucille Ball.


  1. Thanks for sharing your insecurities and for making me laugh :D

  2. Well you made me laugh :-)

    Something you wrote really resonated with me. I've spent my whole life putting myself down before someone else could. It was such a habit that I didn't notice when I stopped moving in the circles where people would do that. I'm learning, but it's a work in progress :-)

  3. This is funny and I can't stop laughing over the Chicklet white teeth!

  4. Hi Julie
    I would find you far more interesting to be around than the doe eyed chicklet teeth ring leader! Fun, laughter, wit and humour are always in vogue and will outlive the chickets, when the dentures emerge. Thank you for visiting my blog and your kind words.

    Helen xx

  5. You make me laugh most of the time and the other times, you're just interesting. I'm so glad Lydia pointed you out. =o)

    Heh, Steel Magnolias. I love that movie. Thinking about it now, I would like it if I were the Olympia Dukakis type, but I'm probably more like Dolly Parton - with a splash of Shirley McClaine. LOL

  6. HI Julie. I am so grateful for these blog hops because I find people like you. I so related to this post. I loved Rizzo in Grease. And Shirley MacLaine in Steel Magnolias. Because they said and did things I could never say or do. Until now. So happy to "meet" you.

  7. I laughed, too. Just found your blog through the blog hop. Humour is a great gift - I have to rely on sarcasm, which isn't so great :-)

  8. Insightful Julie. I enjoy the humor in your writing, and appreciate that you are self deprecating.

    And my dad enjoyed watching "I Love Lucy" reruns (something my brother and did as kids).

  9. Hey, any gal not afraid to show her uvula gets my vote for funny writer.

  10. I admire people who can write humor--the real deal kind of humor, not the cheesy ones--because it requires skill and talent to make people laugh. So hats off to you, my dear!

  11. This is absolutely wonderful - really. From one fellow joke-ster to another - you've hit the nail on the head. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up - I said, 'Lucille Ball'. Now, I feel like I sort of know you after your Lucy

    I had stopped back after your wonderful comment on my challenge entry (I really enjoyed your entry as well) but got side-tracked with this new post. Glad I did. Hope to see you again ~ Nadja

  12. Completely identify with this post. I use humor the same way. I used to work in law enforcement and, let me tell you, without a sense of humor that job will eat you alive from the inside out. Humor is also a better coping mechanism than a lot of other destructive things. So, yeah, good post. :)

  13. Siv--well, mission accomplished, then!

    Sarah--I'm the same way--it's a difficult reflex to break. I think we're trained that being proud of your accomplishments equates vanity.

    Christy--I hated those girls with the perfect teeth. But not as much as I hate the dentist.

    Helen--very true. Someday when I'm fabulously wealthy I'll buy veneers.

    B.E.--I'm so happy you stuck around. I love Dolly too, I have crazy movie love for 9 to 5 despite its cheesiness

    Karen--those are the ladies I admire--the ones who say what they feel and only regret what they do, not what they didn't do

    Annalisa--I'm a huge fan of sarcasm, it's just harder to interpret sometimes if the person is kidding or not. With me, you can be certain I usually am

    Slamdunk--I love Lucy was on every day in the afternoons. She was my idol.

    Copyboy--that's one of my favorite body parts. Because just a few letter changes and whoa, it's something completely different

    cherie--thanks lady! But I have my moments of cheese more often than not, too!

    Nadja--Thanks--glad to meet someone with the same mindset. Appreciate having you come by!

    L.G.--I really think that certain careers just beg for humor--and law enforcement is one of them. There's horrible stuff out there, and keeping your sanity with the spark of joy is difficult unless you make it a priority.

  14. I was definitely laughing with you. I love humor--it is such a gift. People with a wonderful sense of humor have saved me over and over again. I'm not sure they know how much they help others. I bet that's true of you, as well. Thanks, also, for that wonderful Lucille Ball quote.

  15. And you do humor so well! I laughed all the way through that. As Cynthia said, it's a gift, and that's what makes you a beautiful person.

  16. Awww...I think you probably don't give yourself enough credit! Though I was often the girl screaming or making faces in pictures, so I guess I can't tell you to stop. :P

  17. I love that you just don't know what to expect on your blog. Always a great moment. I am so blessed to have found you. =)

  18. ...well written, Julie. Provoked a giggle during an otherwise tedious evening ;)


  19. If laughter was a gift, you just gave me a basket full of chuckles and a snort. Thanks!

  20. Cynthia--I have to agree--there have been days when one little funny thing or a comment from a friend have completely changed my outlook. I hope that I could do that for someone else--that would be success for me.

    Alex--thanks for the support! I think I should be singing "I feel pretty, oh so pretty. . ."

    Alleged--A woman after my own heart!

    E.--gotta keep you on your toes! I feel the same about you, especially your post today. I completely know how you feel.

    Elliot--Yes! Success is mine! I'm thrilled I could liven up your night.

    Shockgrubz--Thank you so much for stopping by! I'll give you refills on those chuckles anytime.

  21. I love the Lucille Ball quote. She was one hilarious dame and I'm sure you are too after reading your story for the campaign. Go you! The world needs more humour and humour sells.


  22. This speaks to me SO MUCH.

    I've always been the "funny guy" - my blog is all humor all the time - but my writing is serious and dark. But people don't expect that of me, and they don't expect for me to be serious or have deep thoughts because I am funny.

    I really enjoyed your blog, it made me laugh and it made me go YES RIGHT THERE YES and it made me nod quietly in recognition. You're awesome. Gonna follow.

  23. well, you made me laugh with this post so goal accomplished!

  24. I was always the shy awkward one. I love to laugh, so will laugh with you. :) It's good we can all meet and cheer each other on.

  25. i try to make people laugh too, esp. when i'm nervous. i love it when they do.

  26. I knew I liked you. This piece really resonated for me. Keep it going with the smart-ass irreverence. It's a bold way to be and what I strive for too.


  27. What a beautiful post, Julie!
    And you are beautiful inside and out.
    And I love your humor. I love to laugh, too. :)

  28. Denise--She was a class act. The world needs all the humor it can get!

    Rejected--I completely understand what you mean about expectations of "the funny guy." People come to you for a lift when they're down, and I think they don't know what to do when suddenly the serious comes out--you're supposed to be impervious to doubt--laugh, damn you! I'm happy what I said resonated with you--look forward to laughing with you--but I promise I won't be bummed when the dark comes, too.

    Falen--Yes, another satisfied customer. Happy vibes!

    MPax--After reading your blog, you do not come off as shy! Here's to being each other's cheerleaders.

    Michelle--it's a wonderful feeling, for sure. Laughter always breaks the ice.

    Robyn--maybe we can make up jackets, like the Pink Ladies had in Grease!

  29. Kelly--One of the things that made me join your blog was actually your picture with the huge smile--you always look like you're having a blast. So happy to have you as a bloggy bud.

  30. What a great post! I was so like the Shirley Maclaine character and wanted to be like Sally Fields in Steel Magnolias. Now, I'm somewhere in between.

    I'm not photogenic either and I always get nervous when it is time to take a picture.

    Thanks for sharing your insecurities. Love your attitude.

  31. Hello there. *waves* I'm new here, a fellow Campaigner, and your newest follower.

    While I'm not participating in Alex's blogfest (though he is a friend of mine and we've done many blogfests together in the past...I'm just really busy right now), but this post actually makes me sad.
    The reason is, I took a good look at your avatar photo (at full size) and I think you are very pretty. Gorgeous long blonde hair, thin, pretty face. True, I can't see your teeth, but I've never seen an ugly smile. They don't exist.
    I do, however, LOVE humor. I'm all about laughter and finding the humor in even the bad situations. :D
    And, I do understand the mission of the blog-fest is insecurity. And I DO understand feeling insecure about looks (among all sorts of other things). This society of ours def bases SO MUCH importance on beauty.
    And, you know, I'm guilty of it in many ways. I mean, I love shopping for pretty clothes and make-up and hair products. Me and Sephora are BFFs.
    And, true story, I do lovessss me some Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper and other pretty dudes.

    But, I also find beauty and attractiveness in the interesting and those who are different and not 'perfect' or classically pretty.
    And, I think most people do.

    I think, the trick to happiness is to love ourselves and others. And, I think you are lovely. Please don't waste one more second feeling insecure about your looks. I promise you millions of woman would give up everything in a hot nan-second to look like you.

    That said, I love Weezie/Weezer, she's my favorite character in Steel Magnolias, by far. :)

    Have a fab weekend!

  32. Nothing beats humor. :)

    Great post--and I love the quote at the end!!

  33. I'll never forget when my tough, cowboy grandpa Rusty was dying after 7 years of fighting cancer. He looked up to see me, my mom, my aunt and my grandma staring gloomily down on him from his bed. He gazed back then shouted, "You look like a buncha vultures waiting for me to die." We all laughed. He was himself until the end.

    Julie I so enjoy reading your words. Keep 'em comin'. And Vaya Con Dios, m'darlin'

  34. Isis--Somewhere there is an alternative universe with the pictures of me like I thought I looked as opposed to this universe where I have ones with one eye closed or spinach between my teeth.

    Lola--Ah, but the avatar hides my horns and supernumerary nipples, so it's not an accurate depiction. All kidding aside, I didn't mean to give the impression that this was a post about being insecure about my looks, although judging by the amount of antioxidant potions and lotions on my bathroom counter, maybe I should consider that. When I think of classic beauty, I think of something quiet and restrained, symmetric and perfectly put-together. I am none of those things, and I'm quite okay with that. We are judged so often by the superficial, and I believe people put so much pressure on themselves to get to that classic ideal. One of the myriad of reasons I love to write is because it's completely about the word and the interaction and really nothing about if I'm purple or rectangular or wearing Spongebob pajamas for the fifth day in a row. Beauty really lies in the things you create; the things that bring you joy. My insecurity lies in what if the thing that I love to do--the thing that i feel makes me beautiful--stops working? Humor is my coping mechanism for many of the disappointments, fears, insecurities that I have in life. It's my identity, and to lose it is more devastating than some crow's feet. Those just give me more character. ;)

    Eagle--Lucille Ball was a lady I really loved--I want to be brave like her.

    Shannon--I would have loved your grandpa. People like that are the ones that never stop living even after we're done in this place--they leave their spirit behind in the people who loved them. My sister and I talk about dying sometimes (yes, I realize how morbid that is) but we both want a big party at the end. I want them to play "Spirit in the Sky" as loud as possible and wear costumes (Halloween is my fave holiday). I want to be remembered laughing.

  35. I love that quote from Lucille Ball! I'm with you Julie - I love to make people laugh. I feel more secure hiding behind my humor as well. I think we make the world a brighter place with it.

  36. Sounds wonderful, to be able to write with humour. It doesn't come easily for me.
    Naked in a hall closet, hmmm? :-)

    New follower!

  37. Julie - This post is sincere and beautiful :) I feel like I know you better. I love the quote and it sounds like you may have a story to go along with that tequila thought.

  38. You're gorgeous darling, and if you don't believe me, then tooooooooo bad. Even so, you're beauty isn't that important. The most beautiful women lose that, and what's left? Intelligence and humor is far more important.

  39. "Your beauty" not "you're" and "are" not "is."
    I'm not a dumb brunette, I swear. ;P

  40. You made me laugh and you have a great blog. ;)

  41. Oops! I forgot to add that I nominated you for one of my picks for a blog award!

  42. Life without humor would be dull. Writer without humor would only be duller. I'm still chucking to myself thinking about your post. Great job, keep us amuzed, Julie!

  43. 'I’m the girl who shows her uvula in pictures; the one that ruined your class photo with a well-timed gesture. You’re welcome.'

    Jules, this made me laugh.

    I love your posts, your energy, the inimitable 'Julesness' that shines through in everything I read by you. I laugh with you all the time, my dear. Keep 'em comin.' Thoroughly enjoyed reading this, as per usual.

  44. As I read more and more of your posts I am amazed at our similarities. Bless you for being a kindred soul!

  45. Jennie--I agree--the world needs the funny girls.

    Deniz--first and last time I ever did shots of tequila.

    Angie--thank you so much! There is most definitely a story. It involves the cinematic classic Point Break and way too much time on my hands.

    Lydia--I'm going to buy you that shirt from the Bloggess--the one that says "when your wrong, your wrong." You've been my inspiration for total beauty package since I met you.

    Alynza--thank you so much for the award, I'm thrilled! Happy to make your bloggy acquaintance and look forward to getting to know you!

    Angela--So happy to have amused! I worship your avatar--such an amazing laugh!

    Suze--I hope you know how much that means to me. I feel a little bit of sunshine on my face every time I think about you.

    Kelwarrior--thank you so much! Great minds think alike, after all!

  46. Girl, this is probably why I like you so much..humor to hide the insecurities. And you are very pretty. I don't know what the heck you're talking about. As far as strangeness goes: welcome to the world of visionaries, special people, eccentric to the core. We're the stuff that makes the world rock. Everything else is a bore. :)

  47. I'm so glad the Write Campaign brought me to your blog! I'm doing Alex's Insecure Writers Group blog hop too=) Without either of those, I don't know that I would have come across your blog and been able to enjoy the humor you bring to everyone. You're not in my group, but you're one of the few extras that I followed just because I loved the way you wrote and the humor in it. And as Alex and Cynthia said earlier, your humor makes you beautiful!

  48. Boy can I relate to this post - especially this part -
    Humor is my way of dealing with insecurity, a way to mock the darkness before it can swallow me.


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