This past weekend I saw The Big Sick. If you haven’t already you should go see this movie. It’s based on a true story about a couple navigating the first year of their relationship and dealing with cultural differences and oh yeah, the hilarity that ensues when you’re dating someone and that person falls into a coma. Yes, it’s a comedy.
Comedian Kumail Nanjian co-wrote the script and based it on the first year of his relationship with his wife, Emily V. Gordon. Spoiler alert, since Emily co-wrote the script, I can tell you that she lives. This movie had many heartfelt moments, but more so I found myself laughing.
A large part of this story was about a young woman facing a medical crisis and the ordeal her loved ones go through. How is this a comedy? Because it’s okay to laugh. Illness, challenging moments, relationship issues, these are all a part of life. Are there certain emotions we aren’t allowed to experience when we face tough times? We are human and we need to feel something, and I (most days) choose laughter.
I have faced some challenging moments in my life and I can only think of a few days where I never laughed, and probably because I was sedated. Even during my darkest times, I try to find the humor in any situation. I can see how people react when I crack a sick joke. There’s that brief hesitation, they know what I said is funny but is it okay to laugh? Yes! I don’t speak for all sick people, but I’m saying it’s okay to laugh.
There’s a difference in laughing at us and laughing with us. Remember the time I had a one night stand with a surgeon and then a few weeks later ended up in the hospital with a broken vagina (vaginal fistula) needing surgery at the hospital he works at? I’m not Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, I’m not going to stand in the marsh and brood about it. How lame. I’m going to fucking laugh about it because otherwise, I would have lost my damn mind by now.
Last year a new tv show popped up on my radar and I instantly fell in love. Speechless, starring Minnie Driver and a fantastic supporting cast, is about a family with a child with special-needs and the challenges they face. It’s a comedy and a damn good one. Thankfully ABC picked up the show for a second season. I hate getting attached to a new show that gets the axe way too soon.
What I love about Speechless, among other things, is that it doesn’t just focus on the illness. In this case, one of their kids suffers from Cerebral Palsy. It’s about the entire family and what they go through with a special needs kid. Again, like The Big Sick and in life, there are heartfelt moments among all the jokes.
When you have a chronic illness your family adjusts to your special needs. Life doesn’t stop, it continues, just with a few changes. Your family finds a way. Why must I wallow in all the bad moments of my life? The world can be a depressing place, why make it worse?
Laugh at yourself. Laugh at your illness. Laugh at the weird moments. Laugh at the tough moments. Laugh at the worst moments because those are the best laughs.