i / am / funny

When you’re 10 years old, you really don’t know who you are beyond your favorite pop-tart flavor (Frosted S’mores, anyone?).

As I approached adolescence, I realized I needed a “persona.” Maybe it’s because I read too many books or watched too much Scooby Doo, which made me think that everyone fell into basic labels in life (The Pretty Fashionista, aka Daphne, or the Smart Nerd, aka Velma).

Every year, we took my great grandmother to Crossway so she could collect a new array of Christian Fiction novels. As she made camp in the Amish Romance section, I found myself gravitating towards the Young Adult & Teen section. I wasn’t a rebellious child, so the idea of picking up a book for an audience I was not a part of gave me that impish delight I rarely felt.

It was there that I discovered Jenny B. Jones. The first novel in her “Charmed Life” series was on sale for $9.99 and I willingly gave over my precious allowance money.

I ate that book up, then finished the next two. I was captivated Jenny’s wit and humor, and the way I would stay up at night way too late reading the same story over and over again.

And I decided then and there: I wanted to be like Jenny.

I wanted to be funny.

I started out by using phrases from the book, learning the timing of jokes. I really learned by failure: people did not laugh at first.

But I wanted to make people laugh. I wanted something I say to have the power to bring joy to others, to coax a physical reaction.

One day, on a bus ride to a nursing home after Sunday School, I was giggling. One of my childhood bullies reared around, gave me a glare, and told me, “Stop. Laughing.”

I’m not sure what I did after that; if I said no, or if I was quiet.

But what I do remember is the promise I made to myself:

that I’d laugh however loud and however much I wanted for the rest of my life.

Not every 10 year old sits down and decides what kind of a person they want to be someday. But I’m glad that my journey began with humor. One of my high-school friends, J, told me that he wanted to be funny because he knows what true, deep, dark sadness is and doesn’t want anyone else to have to go through that.

After my own battle with depression, I 100% agree. Depression isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy. So I continue what 10-year-old me started: the search to make one more person smile every day and have one more reason to laugh.

Published by Amanda Brown

INFP who names inanimate objects, loves to laugh, and is a proud old soul. You can often find her planning out her next crazy project, hugging books, or telling stories about her day that *may* be a little exaggerated.

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