If only we were on video conference. But it was just a phone call so I couldn’t see their faces when I said, “let’s do an issue on humor.” And, as usual, the editorial board of Our Truths-Nuestras Verdades took my idea and made it better. I am so proud to announce the latest issue of Exhale’s bilingual abortion zine: The Humor Issue.
You can download the pdf here.
I like to think I’m funny. I imagine that if I was brave enough (OK, and well talented-enough), I would have gone down the sketch comedy road and followed in the footsteps of my hero Molly Shannon. Maybe I could have been the Kim to her Kath. But, alas I found another path and it happens to be a really serious one: supporting women around their abortion experiences.
This work has taught me many things, one of which is how uniquely people respond to shared circumstances. And for some people, including me, we respond to our situations with humor. We want to find something to laugh about and we use humor to make it all OK, at least for the moment. This isn’t just true for abortion. I remember how humor became the bellweather of our national healing process after 9/11. When Letterman could make a joke and the rest of could laugh guilt-free, we know we were on our way.
Humor does not have to take away the seriousness of an issue or diminish the deep feelings people can have around it. Humor is an important part of our lives and one more tool that we can use to support our own well-being. I knew that humor must be a part of some women’s abortion experiences and I wanted to find out more. So, we did.
Some interesting things happened along the way. When I told colleagues about our next topic, the most common response was “abortions not funny” or they sent material that was about making fun of one political side or the other. It was not easy to find out how to cover this issue in a way that wasn’t about poking fun or hurting feelings. As usual, women’s voices lead the way. We just printed them.
Probably the most poignant thing that happened was as we were working on this issue an anonymous woman started blogging about her pregnancy and abortion experience and the media quickly picked it up. However you may feel about her decision and her style – she told her story with a biting, sarcastic, and incredibly witty sense of humor. I knew there was bound to be other women out there who were eating it up and grateful for a public voice that sounds like their own private one. With her consent, we were planning to print a number of her posts and images in this issue, but the public consumption of her personal experience got to be a little much, and understandably, she changed her mind. Unfortunately, the blogger became a target: she was publicly outted and her and her family members received death threats. Her story grew – from what she experienced and how she talked about it – to how the world responded when she did. Chrissy Hyre delves in and chronicles what happens when a woman tells her frank and humorous truth about abortion.
There is much, much more, so I hope you read it cover to cover and comment with your thoughts!