It didn’t occur to me until this year that, if I can manage it, I stay in my home away from people all day on April 1st. I hate April fool’s day. Hate it. All my life people have called me over-sensitive, said that I don’t have a sense of humor or that I’m a poor sport, all because I don’t like being made the butt of a joke or being made fun of. Yeah, sure, some April fool’s jokes are cheesy and harmless, but sometimes people don’t understand where the line is.
It took me a long time to realize why I “don’t have a sense of humor” when it comes to jokes at my expense and I realized it was because I grew up being bullied. By the time I was eleven I had lived in eleven different cities and four different states. And let me tell you, whether you’re in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee or sunny Southern California or on a Naval base in Puerto Rico, bullies are everywhere and they all have the same repertoire of tricks and jokes.
Most people get bullied at least once in their life, even bullies; I know this now as an adult, but the young Shauna could give a crap about what everyone else goes through. Young Shauna just knows that, even though her mom tells her each move means new friends, it really means a new chance to be picked on and belittled with a whole new audience. I’m sure some of it had to do with always being the new kid, but again, young Shauna didn’t care about the why, she just knows that’s how life is for her.
Now, I’m not telling you this because I want anyone to feel bad for me, because I don’t; like I said, I know most people get bullied, even as adults. But those people who say, “Have a sense of humor!” when they embarrass you, make me think they’ve never been picked on. After twelve years of schoolyard torment, I think I’ve paid my dues and shouldn’t have to put up with “jokes” that make me look stupid.
So whenever April 1st comes around, I will be a hermit and avoid human contact. I try to remember to be passive, not engage in debates with people who don’t want to actually debate, and it is hard, the voice in my head screams at me to voice my opinion. So, now that I realize why I hate April fool’s day, I’ll try to remember this tactic when faced with angry or mean people and try to hold my tongue when it’s more prudent than engaging with them. Even today, there were a few blog posts I read that got my hackles up and I thought about typing off a reply but I stopped myself. And I’m glad I did because later I saw people voice the same opinion I wanted to and they were slammed by others and were caught in an infinite loop of arguing and repeating their views that no one wanted to acknowledge. I’m glad that wasn’t me.
So yeah. I hate April fool’s day. And I don’t care if that means I don’t have a sense of humor.