George and I loved telling the story of how we got engaged and married. We talked about it once on our podcast (when it was The Dirty Bits) during an AMA:
On August 22, 2016, I found a white-ish $16 dress at Target and George put on a pair of slacks and a dress shirt. We listened to Bruno Mars’ “Marry You” on repeat as we drove to the Eugene, Oregon courthouse. We were married by a judge and we snagged a couple of employees to serve as witnesses and photographers.
It felt like we were the only two people in the world as we stared into each other’s eyes in between our peals of laughter and streams of joyful tears. Afterwards, we bought a cake from a little bakery near our house and went back to celebrate with Babbs. We cuddled and watched our favorite movies and shows. It was the most magical day of my life and one of the most spiritual experiences I’ve ever had.
I highly recommend eloping if you have the opportunity.
But why am I writing about this here? Where’s the funny part?
I’m not entirely sure.
It’s been a struggle to find the humor in things lately… which is a problem because it’s one of the few coping mechanisms that’s proven to be effective for me.
It was a different story before. You know, when it was just my world that was ending. But between covid-19, civil unrest, and a facist coup, now it feels like the actual world is ending.
I knew that I would get over my personal tragedy… but could I make it through a global one?
Last night, as I was drowning my sorrows in Hulu and baked goods, I realized that a dystopian existence is something we have to endure together as a society. And for many of us, endurance is made a lot easier with dark humor that both acknowledges and lightens our reality.
I call it The Deadpool Effect.
Our experiences shape us, they’re a part of us, but they don’t dictate who we become. Like how Wade Wilson could have let his trauma, pain, and loss defeat him but instead, he chose to deconstruct everything around him with sarcastic cynicism and no fucks given. He doesn’t fear death or consequences. He just keeps surviving- and making jokes.
There’s something in DBT called “opposite action.” It’s when you do the opposite of what your emotional instinct is telling you to do. For example, when I feel overwhelming sadness, my natural response (particularly as an introvert) is to isolate. So instead of isolating, I have to force myself to reach out to friends. When I’m anxious, instead of avoiding my fear, I have to repeatedly expose myself to the offending stimulus in order to achieve a level of desensitivity (I’m still trying to visit my husband’s grave without having to manage a panic attack).
I can’t help but wonder if Deadpool’s entire personality is based on taking the opposite action in response to a life surrounded by trauma. He doesn’t run from his reality. He accepts it, takes action, and improves his health with laughter.
So while I fully anticipated closing the blinds, diving under the covers, and crying over the aching loss of my best friend and soulmate, I instead have been doing the opposite. I’ve been hanging out with our little fur-baby, Babbs, and doing what George and I would have likely done to celebrate. Babbs and I went for a scenic drive, listened to one of our favorite playlists, stopped for breakfast, and went for a walk before it got too hot (George and I were a very simple couple, to say the least… we just liked hanging out together).
As it’s 90 degrees today, I know we would have likely spent the rest of the day inside with the a/c, watching Bob’s Burgers. It was our favorite show, our happy place. Consequently, we watched it a lot when he was sick. We used to say that I was the Bob to his Linda, and it was easy to imagine having a child together that resembled their hellion daughter, Louise Belcher.
I haven’t been able to watch the series since George passed away but today, I think I’ll take a lesson from Deadpool and just dive right in.
Now if only I could regenerate my limbs….