I know it might seem odd, considering how I don’t consider myself a “funny” guy, and how my writing style isn’t always what would be considered intentionally comedic, but nonetheless, the passing of Robin Williams (by apparent suicide) was one that got to me… because of how it struck a cord within myself and how I reached the point I’m at today.
I want to lead off with an article written by David Wong at cracked.com: http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/robin-williams-why-funny-people-kill-themselves/
For a tl;dr version; you see our “funniest” celebrities find their end in this sort of fashion for a reason. The funny guy is a mask to hide the parts of themselves they don’t want the public to see, it’s the wall they’ve constructed to keep the world from seeing the “real” them, and that “real” them is a very tormented person indeed.
This is a feeling I know. I had been down that road. I was a class clown through much of High School. I didn’t care if they were laughing with me or at me. As long as they were reacting to the exterior, they weren’t poking and prodding at the inner turmoil caused by the mental abuse from my father, and the physical (and at one point sexual) abuse of select peers.
Even now, my initial reaction to a new social situation is to throw on the funny guy mask and ham it up, though its not something I lean on anymore. I’ve learned it’s a face best used sparingly, to break the ice and not much else.
For that, I have the people who refused to let me use the mask during my twenty-something years, who didn’t let me wave off interactions with them with a joke and a smile. People who were patient and caring and helped me understand that the sort of people who would be repulsed by the “real me” aren’t the people that deserve the “funny guy” to begin with.
As a result, I might not be the life of the party anymore, but I’m a lot healthier of a person mentally. I can only credit being incredibly lucky, because I certainly didn’t do anything special to bring those people into my life.
At the same time, it also changed the reason I write. Up throughout my schooling, writing was my escape; and it reflected in my style with high fantasy and escapism. Now, my writing is exploring and showing my “real me”, the good and the bad, willingly revealing the dark places I’ve been in and showing the world the smooth finish and the warts.
Because I don’t want to hide behind walls anymore. I want people to see the whole tapestry, even if it isn’t always pretty.