This whole post may make me sound too sensitive or dramatic to some people. So to them, I apologize. Two days ago, I mentioned how ill I have been feeling recently. I also spoke about how I fell for a practical joke at work. Lately, dates have blended into one. I am not following what day it is as I am just desperate for the holiday. I didn’t even realize that it was April 1st (April Fool’s Day). So walking into work and reading the bulletin board seemed no different than any other day. I did not even question the letter placed on the wall describing the well known visitor coming to our school that day. It seemed plausible, something that was likely so why would I question it?
My bosses and colleagues were quick to laugh at me and my gullibility and yes, for a moment, it was funny.
However, I have to be honest. I do not respond well to feeling deceived, joke or no joke. My abuser often played tricks on me, plotting against me and finding new ways to catch me out. Although, the practical joke at work was harmless fun and certainly not targeted at me, I couldn’t help but remember the old feelings my abuser left me with.
I felt the joke was taken further when a colleague placed a letter in my pigeon hole. It was all very official but clearly another joke. This time that I had won the lottery. Someone had taken a lot of time to fool me. I put the letter away only skimming through part of it. Where did this person have the time to spend on such a detailed letter? Was my humiliation the hope from writing it? I did not acknowledge it and when the person later asked about it, I smiled politely shrugging off her question.
Yes, it was a joke and I am quite capable of laughing at myself. My friends tease me about my little idiosyncrasies, like the fact that I am a very slow eater and it is essential to always order before me in a restaurant. I can take a ribbing or two. I just don’t like the feeling that someone is laughing at my expense. I don’t like someone going out of their way to make me look the fool.
My abuser did that constantly. On one occasion, at a party held at the house, my father confronted me in the kitchen. I was bringing down my empty dinner plate (I used to eat my food in my bedroom). He challenged me before I left, demanding a reason as to why I hadn’t cooked anything for his guests. It was like a back handed compliment. He was (in a way) complimenting my cooking skills but pairing it with a lecture on how thoughtless I was. It didn’t help that his friends followed him in and watched my humiliation. The looked on as he berated my insensitivity and selfishness. They laughed with him when he joked that this was my nature. He was clearly drunk and actually denied the incident the next day. I had done nothing to ‘upset’ him earlier so it was completely out of the blue.
My abuser always laughed when I failed. He found hilarity in my failures. Even a misunderstanding of words would be a reason to ridicule me. I was illiterate and totally ignorant to him.
These things stick with you. Perhaps I will always remain sensitive to jokes.