The Friday Question: How it works
Every Friday we will pose a question for you all to discuss or privately consider. You can engage with it publicly here on the RFAS blog, or you can join our forum (details below) for a more private discussion. You can write it down to think about later, journal about it, or bring it in to a therapy session with you.
If you would like to volunteer to become a moderator and host future Questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org—or join our forum and post in the moderator volunteer thread. If you just have an idea for a future Question that you want to share, we have a brainstorming topic on our forum.
Something to Ponder Today
Today is April Fool’s Day, where people try to trick each other into falling for jokes. Sometimes, these jokes are fairly harmless and can be pretty funny. Other times, pranks can be very mean and damage our trust in the people around us—sometimes our identities might even be treated as if they are a joke. Some people feel that, particularly in the case of parents pranking children, that such pranks will almost always harm the sense of safety and trust that kids should have towards their parents. Even when it’s supposed to be light-hearted fun, the implementation of the joke can do some serious harm: today, Google’s April Fool’s prank backfired horribly and even caused some people to lose their jobs.
As survivors, we’ve all had to deal with betrayal, and for many of us, that leaves us with a sense of feeling foolish or “dumb”* and judging ourselves for having fallen for it. Thus, times when we are faced with pranks may end up bringing up these aspects of trauma and making it hard to get through the day.
How do you feel about being fooled?
- Have you ever been subjected to mean pranks on April Fool’s Day?
- Have you ever seen someone fake a “coming out” on April 1st? How did you feel about it? Was it a situation where someone was making fun of an identity, or where you suspect they may have been testing the waters to decide whether they wanted to come out for real? How did others respond to this situation?
- How do you feel about the general concept of April Fool’s?
- Do you feel that pranks are ever really okay, and good fun? If so, in what circumstances? How can people make their attempted jokes less likely to hurt you?
- How do you feel about falling for a joke or prank? Does it trigger you or impact your self-worth?
- If your self-worth has been impacted, and your jerkbrain goes into attack mode, what do you do? Do you have any ways of dealing with it that help a lot?
- What are some specific things that you have felt foolish for believing? Is there anything that has helped you feel better about them?
- If you feel that your environment (work, school, family/friends, etc.) is strongly negatively affected by pranks on April 1st, how do you cope? Do you pre-emptively try to buffer yourself? Do you have anything that helps take your mind off of it and lift your mood?
You don’t have to answer every (or any!) question, of course. These are just different ways to approach the topic which might be helpful to consider. You can share as much or as little as you like.
(* Note: I generally try to avoid using ableist slurs, but since this is actually partly about internalized ableist messages that our judgy jerkbrains might be screaming at us, I want that to be reflected in the language here.)
On the Forum
- You can discuss this question privately after registering at the forum
- Here are instructions for how to join the forum
- Here’s the invite request form
- You can also still discuss previous questions as well. There is no time limit for joining the discussion.
- Please abide by our rules in both comments and forum posts.
Please note that we are still working things out in the forum, especially technical issues. We are gradually letting people in now who are not moderators or volunteers, but it can basically be considered “in beta” for now. So if you do join, please excuse our forum being a bit of a mess while we get everything tested. There may also be a little bit of a wait time for sending out invites.
Here are a couple of things you should know about posting to the forum:
- All posts are private, and can only be viewed by members
- It is against forum rules to discuss any personal stories shared on the forum with anyone who is not a member without permission of the person who shared it
- You can post as anonymous, once you are a member
The Spoiler Tag
You can hide especially triggering details behind a spoiler tag—which also works in blog comments. Here’s an example:
[spoiler title=’Triggering stuff’ collapse_link=’true’]Explicit/triggering material would go here.[/spoiler]
To make one, just type…
[ spoiler ] ... [ /spoiler ]
…without the spaces. I hope that this helps everyone safely navigate this conversation.