May 3·edited May 3Liked by Johnny B. Truant

It's not easy to find a balance between silly and "adult". I've always been "a clown", mostly to "break the ice" and fight that introverted part of myself. Since I was a kid I was quick with the puns, knew how to make people laugh and never cared if people laughed with or at me: "If you can't handle being a target of a joke, you can't joke about most other things" (a bit is lost in translation from Croatian here).

Problems arose when I "grew up". When it's time to be "serious" and "intense" people that don't know me well get confused and misread the intent. Sometimes it's not taken seriously and sometimes it feels more intense then I intended because of it. Same with my children - I'm the goofy, fun parent and my wife is the "adult" one. When it's time for me to be serious and "do the parenting", my girls sometimes get lost in the transition.

It's important to find a job where you're surrounded by people that get you and where everybody is equally ready to be goofy and intense when needed. Hope you all are lucky in that department as I am (example - last year our Xmas tree in the office was an unwrapped set of xmas lights messily stuck to the wall with the painters tape and a spatula over it - Why? Why not?!).

Expand full comment
May 3Liked by Johnny B. Truant

I like the cut of your jib

Expand full comment
May 3Liked by Johnny B. Truant

I'm an INTENSE idiot sometimes but I can fix anything tech or mech related. I can't write worth shit tho, I have an intense case of "Typopox".

I'm glad you set this to "public", now I can make a fool of meself here instead of just emailing you..... VBG!!!

I've gotten the way of being open and foolish with strangers SINCE I stopped drinking... go figure. Never used to be that way before.

Staying at a hotel last week really brought it out in me. Joking and conversing openly with TOTAL strangers...

Expand full comment

Attempt #2 is a go! (I tried posting this earlier, but ran headlong into technical difficulties, so I e-mailed the comment to Johnny directly. He's asked me to try again, so here we go.)

Original comment:

Hi Johnny,

I go by the online handle of Jeccat in the wilds of the Internet, and I was super excited about subscribing to your blog. I'm very confused by the Substack interface, however, so I failed to be able to post the reply I wrote on the post itself. I wasn't sure which e-mail to use to send this, so I'm taking a shot. You've expressed many times that you like to hear from your readers, so I'm reaching out for the first time. I've read every ebook you've written that I could get for free via BookBub, because I'm quite poor and can't afford much, and pretty much loved all of your stories (except Unicorn Western, couldn't quite get into that one as much). One day, if my financial situation improves, I hope to buy all your books.

I read "In Defense of Silliness" when I found it in my inbox, and it resonated with me at a very deep level. I grew up in a deeply loving but very controlling family, so I know ALL about the pressure of outside judgement impacting individual reality. My parents had a very specific life plan for me. Whether or not I could follow the roadmap they've plotted was always secondary, which led to a lot of trauma I won't go into here. But suffice to say, when I went "off plan" by daring to fall victim to an unfortunate series of events that culminated in crossing over from being a "normal person" to member of the disabled and chronically ill community, that was absolutely not acceptable. My new reality was hard enough to have to adjust to - I had no choice about it, bad shit was going on in my body on a daily basis - but everyone around me were VERY LOUD at me about how I was a failure and a weirdo and probably faking it. I've had years of not being believed about my illness, to the point of almost dying, and when I finally got a proper diagnosis, my health was severely compromised and damaged from being untreated for so long. Even though I got the surgery that "cured" me, I'm now contending with a fresh and hellish set of expectations that I'm just dragging my feet on recovering back to 100% and getting back on that life plan. You know, the one where I'm the successful doctor/architect/CEO that my parents can brag about to their friends, not the weird, introverted daughter that just wants to play with art and stories and roleplaying games.

I went through a very painful healing phase of critically questioning my assumptions in the shattered remains of my original identity (which wasn't really mine), and digging deep to find out who I really am on the inside, authentically. I had to learn to separate out all the shouty voices, particularly the ones in my parents' voices that I'd internalised throughout childhood, and listen for, "what is it I want to DO, to live my life, my way?"

My conclusion is that I want to be silly and take chances and friend friends who get the real me, and like the real me. But it's not very safe or easy to do so, when you have no safety net of strong support networks to catch you if things go badly. But I'm so much more curious now, about the authentic selves hiding under all the "adulting" I see people do every day, all around me.

Expand full comment