Not ‘the crowd is laughing at the comedian on stage and we’re all here for the show’ kind of laugh where your uncontrolled expression of enjoyment is lost in the sea of other’s laughing and letting you know that it’s okay to join in.
No. I’m talking about being embarrassed when you’re caught up in your own little world, on your phone or in a book, and something tickles you just right and you can’t stop it from happening. Then you look around. You’re on the train and people are staring, some are snickering. You sink lower in your seat and try to go back to that place of being invisible and drawing no attention from the outside world, and focus again on your personal enjoyment. But it’s hard and you hold back from liking a joke too much so you don’t make another sound.
Why is that embarrassing?
But the two people talking loudly and obnoxiously about some personal drama two seats behind you don’t seem bothered that they’re airing their dirty laundry in public?
Are we as a majority, afraid of an individual’s emotions or is the individual afraid of being singled out by the majority and being judged?
I don’t know.
I feel uncomfortable watching anime online when at the library. Every time, I wish that I had the internet at home so I could view what I liked and when I liked and be able to respond in a way that didn’t mean I had to bite my fist or do a quick scan of the shelves to make sure no-one could see me lose my shit. Then I remember that I don’t like the internet being connected to my computer because it’s a really bad distraction when I have a manuscript to finish.
So I try not to draw attention to myself, or I at least try to obtain “my office” in the local history room with its amazing air conditioning and door that can be closed.
Even what we’re laughing at is a source of embarrassment. To many, the fact I watch anime makes me weird. If it’s a parody, it’s weird. Watching something where there is injury or the viewers can mock, that looks too be the most acceptable form of entertainment for the majority.
Online, we’re encouraged to express ourselves and laugh out loud. Damned quotes, they’re so inspirational it’s hard not to think that maybe it’s alright to show some sort of emotion in public.
Maybe, as individuals, we’re lacking in confidence. If we were each so sure of ourselves that it didn’t bother us that we drew attention to ourselves for laughing, or feared that another person would mock us for our laugh, then it wouldn’t matter anymore.
Do we dress for ourselves?
Do we shave for ourselves?
Do we smile for ourselves?
If that’s a yes for all three, then you’re probably the type to laugh and enjoy yourself no matter where you are. If that’s a half yes (like I am), or a full no for all three, that’s something we need to deal with and find our confidence to laugh in public.