Sunday, 4 September 2011

The Big C, Part V: Laugh with Me, Dammit!

My sister turned to me the other night and said "Leah, not everyone has the same "fuck you cancer" attitude as you". It got me thinking about whether or not I am too glib when it comes to speaking out about cancer. I sometimes know I go too far, but really, I like to push the envelope, and see exactly how far, and how hard I can push before someone or something pushes back. I remember that about a year ago, I was looking at the LIVESTRONG facebook page, and the question was posed as to whether or not there was room for humor when speaking about cancer. This question was posed in light of the release of the show The Big C starring Laura Linney (which in my personal opinion is a FANTASTIC show!). What I discovered was actually quite shocking to me. There were so many people who were angrily posting about how humor should not be linked with cancer, and some of the posts were quite vitriolic. I can understand being angry at cancer. I can understand hating something that strikes almost anyone and takes away loved ones. I can understand how they might not be very receptive to humor. But until you have been through it, you really don't have a clue about what it's actually like, and what goes through a patients head or how they actually feel. Yes it's nice for people to be on your side, and to be angry for you, and I know that many of my friends, and especially my family were angry and upset for me, and I appreciate that more than they will ever know, but anger only goes so far. So, to them I say this: by making cancer this huge serious thing, you are letting it win. You give cancer strength with your fear and your anger. In my opinion, making fun of cancer, and belittling it takes away it's power. It's like the Boggart's from Harry Potter (yes, I am a Harry Potter nerd). You kill it with laughter. You kill it with positivity. Getting angry and wallowing in self pity is counter productive to getting better. So I say, sure I might be a little glib when it comes to talking about cancer, and yes, people might often be unsure as to whether my jokes are funny or inappropriate, but I can say in all honesty, that I think without the jokes that I make, I would not have gotten by as well as I did. At the risk of sounding completely corny, it's just so important to stay positive. So yes, yes there is room for humor when talking about cancer, and you can bet your bottom dollar that I am going to keep my "Fuck you cancer attitude", and if I'm laughing at it and making fun of my fake boobs, then it's completely fine for you to laugh with me. I prefer it actually. I would rather you try and make me laugh, or laugh at something really slightly inappropriate that I've said, than be serious. At the end of the day, being serious is overrated and takes up way too much energy and time.


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