The Art of Self-Deprecation
July 6, 2022
Cristina Crescenzo (she/her/hers), Low Entropy Volunteer Writer
I will openly admit that there have been countless times where individuals have shrunk my self-worth down to the size of a marble, and I compare it to a marble because despite its size, I think it still has a little durability left. I am also not afraid to admit that some of the people that have contributed to chipping away at my spirit are the people I love most, and whether they meant to or not, they forced me to adopt a dangerous self-preservation tactic. I have trained myself to make jokes at my own expense because I didn’t want people doing it behind my back and I thought if I self-afflicted the wounds it would hurt less. Furthermore, my own self-deprecation has become a comedic tool I use in my daily life because I found out it was one of the only ways I could get people to pay attention to me and get the small consolation prize that is the sound of their laughter.
However, I have learned that the return is not worth the cost, because if I keep this up, every crushing blow will damage the one thing that I still believe in, and that is my heart. I don’t profess to be the most selfless person that has graced planet Earth, but I believe in myself enough to think that my kindness has impacted enough people for me to keep persevering. That is not to say that learning to laugh at yourself and your flaws is a totally unhealthy practice, but it should be done in moderation and not used to get others to like you. This is important for me to mention because in my experience, if done too often, it can cause the opposite effect. Instead of giving you thicker skin, it leaves you more vulnerable to harm, loosening the lid on your emotions so they bubble up to the surface and you lose control in very inopportune moments.
Another drawback to the art of self-deprecation is that people could eventually lose respect for you and not take you seriously. In case you didn’t know, human beings can be very fickle creatures. One second they can be laughing with you, and the next they are laughing at you and brushing off every word you speak. I am surprised that I only learned this past year that the silence that comes after the joke stops being funny can make a person feel trapped inside the deepest depths of loneliness, and the mocking retorts that follow can cause irrevocable pain. Therefore, I now know that being the center of attention at a dinner party and the high that can come from it never lasts.
It has gotten to the point where I feel invisible in a room filled with people, and all the sounds that were once pleasurable, like the sound of someone laughing, now cause my ears to burn and leave me hollow. Thus, I want to try and make a conscious effort to stop, because if I continue to trample all over myself, it makes the world think they can do it too; even family can leave footprints all over your back. On the whole, I just hope whoever reads this learns that they should tread lightly when they decide to make themselves the punch line.
My name is Cristina Crescenzo and I am an aspiring writer and full time student just hoping to make an impact in someone’s life through the written word, and I think Low Entropy is the perfect place to start!
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