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Do I Need to Stop Calling Myself Trash: A Conversation About Self-Deprecating Humor

I'm not sure when #Trashcesca was born on the internet, but I adopted the "garbage" label pretty soon after I'd started to see it pop up more and more on social media. To me, it was a funny way to call myself out for the shitty things that I do or make light of something silly that I did or said to no doubt embarrass myself. I didn't think much of it, to be honest. It pretty much consistently made everyone laugh (and still does), which is great for my ego because I most likely think that I'm much funnier than I actually am. 

Don't get me wrong though, I'm funny. I know I'm funny. I might not be the most confident about my nose, the extra bit of skin underneath my chin, the way my thighs seem to seemingly change sizes every three weeks, my five foot six stature, I'm not going keep going because that's just unnecessary negativity for someone who is like, 85% of the way there on her "self-love" journey or whatever vile garbage I want to call it. I am, however, pretty damn confident in my sense of humor. 

Through trial and error, I've found that self-deprecating humor tends to drum up the most laughs and much like the fake noise meters at sporting events, I am powered by laughter and caffeine. Mostly caffeine, but also a huge chunk of laughter. I think I adopted this necessity to be funny at a pretty young age, partially because my family is hilarious and I wanted to keep up, and also because I couldn't really rely on my looks or family's money for popularity or anything, so my way of compensating for being an ugly little gremlin child in clearance clothing on dress down days was to be clever, sarcastic, and just downright funny.

It took time, of course, but I'd like to think I've gotten a pretty solid comedic routine down in my life. I've made myself the butt of most of my jokes and it didn't–and still doesn't–bother me at all. I beat everyone to the punch, not that the jokes I make are anything someone would say to me anyway. To me, it just seemed easier to make myself the punchline just in case. And also because I'm like probably lowkey narcissistic. Have you read this blog? It's all about me.

I digress, I didn't think much of my self-deprecating humor at all. Some people (hi Monica!) have called me out for it, but I usually just brush it off and assure them that I'm joking and don't take it to heart. 

Then I was watching Queer Eye and I had a moment of mild panic during an episode of the third season. Karamo was lecturing one of the heroes about self-deprecating humor and it made me wonder (oh my god, am I Carrie Bradshaw? Kill me now...), would Karamo want me to stop calling myself trash?

While I would love for Karamo to lecture me in person about what I could subconsciously be doing to myself, I don't have the privilege of knowing him personally. So, I took to Instagram and posted a story that was more so just me rambling about whether or not Karamo would approve of my sense of humor in which I'm the butt of all of my jokes. I didn't really expect any responses, but two of my pals responded, which sparked me to finally write this post. I will admit, a couple of months ago I wrote this blog post idea down but didn't really think much of it. And then I was watching Queer Eye and through the immense amount of tears, I figured it was time to dive a bit deeper into this self-inflicted and literal trash talk. 

One of my friends Natasha brought up a good point that I'm going to no doubt butcher because I lost my screenshot of our conversation about it so MY APOLOGIES NATASHA IF YOU'RE READING THIS AND WITNESSING THIS AWFUL RUN ON SENTENCE I SWEAR I WENT TO SCHOOL FOR WRITING of whether self-deprecating humor is strictly for comedic effect or whether it can be taken to heart. I suppose this is something that's personal to whoever is utilize the ever-so-popular self-deprecating humor. In the time of the internet and memes, I feel like self-deprecation is not only incredibly popular but is almost encouraged. I mean, I didn't invent "trash" myself, I picked it up from the internet. Not that I'm like, blaming the internet or anything. I love the internet. I wrote a whole blog post about my love for the internet. 

Natasha made a point that Karamo would want me to speak to myself the way that I speak to other people. I'm not going to call someone else trash. That's not cool nor is it my place. It's hypocritical of me to say this, but I firmly believe this too, but I suppose to a different degree. Years and years ago, I saw something that said if you wouldn't say negative comments about a friend's body to said friend, then why would you say these things about yourself to yourself? Since then, I've been working hard on this part of myself and not tearing myself down for the way that I look because to some degree, I can't really change that nor do I really want to.

But when it comes to this Trashcesca thing, well, I kind of forget this advice exists.

My friend and fellow blogger Theresa also shot me a message in response to my stories, which made me think more about why I say the things that I say. The more you say something about yourself, the more you can start believing it. I also subscribe by this notion, so again, I'm being hypocritical here. 

I only know myself, kind of. I don't know the inside of anyone else's head or how people handle their own thoughts and feelings. In saying that, I can only try to provide insight about myself from my own brain. I really don't hate myself, like, at all. Even still, a lot of my sense of humor is based in self-deprecation. I think there's a facet to my sense of humor where I'd rather target any negativity if it has to exist and just gather it all up and dump it on myself. I can take it. I know who I am as a person and it feels pretty cool to like myself 95% of the time when it used to be like, 20% of the time like, five years ago. I notice negativity everywhere around me. Maybe I'm more attuned to it, or maybe New York City is just one big melting pot of self-hatred. Who knows. 

Maybe part of me just like to take one for the team and deflect the negativity and point it right back at myself since it doesn't touch me. Or at least, it doesn't feel like it's touching me. As I said early, I like that I'm funny, but is my humor not good for me? Even if I feel confident and "cool" (subjective word, but let's just go with it), am I just subconsciously fucking myself over and setting myself back?

I guess I need to revisit the question: do I have to stop calling myself trash? I'm going to be honest and say I don't know. I know, this whole blog post rambling about self-deprecating humor and my only conclusion is "I don't know?" 

Super helpful. 

But it's true. I don't know if my sense of humor is lowkey destroying who I've become from the inside out. Or maybe for me, it's just not that deep. How I handle my self-deprecating jokes isn't the same way that Hammy Vanderbilt from down the street does. Ironically, this post was all about my sense of humor and wasn't really all that funny at all. In truth, I'm just a little confused on where to go from here. I've been sitting on these thoughts and notes for a few weeks now and literally just made a joke about me being trash on Instagram Stories like, uh, ten minutes ago. So.

This is another conclusion-less blog post, but I wanted to hold myself accountable here and like, discuss this. Shoutout to Karamo for actually making me think about these things and the way I talk to myself. You the real MVP, my dude.

Sweater: Target
Jeans: Levi's
Sneakers: The Nou Project (these were gifted to me)
Bag: Zara
Sunglasses: Forever21

Photos by Emily Polner


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