Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Fools day engagements

One of my friends brought up a good point this morning, that got me in blog rant mode. She was talking about the relationship  of privilege with your traditional 'I'm engaged' April fools prank. Someone else mentioned similar pranks involving fake pregnancies, and anything similar.

I for one, have never been big on April fools jokes or pranks. I think ultimately they aren't nice or funny. However, I do like clever pranks that don't hurt people. the best one I ever saw was when I was in college. My roommates boyfriend broke into our apartment while we were at church and rearranged all our furniture, beds in the living room, couches in the bedrooms. It was fun. We had a big roommate sleepover in the living room and he moved everything back for us a day or so later.

But, the engagement thing is why we are here today. I once did the fake engagement thing. I've had friends do it, I've had friends do the pregnancy prank, and then they were actually pregnant a month or two later, so that was hillarious.
But there is nothing actually funny about these pranks in general. Why? Well, let's look at that, because I can tell you from experience the only reaction I got was hurt and pissed off  disapointed people.

But I think we can gain a lot by examining why someone might want to do these pranks to begin with. So, when I did the fake engagement  I was in my mid to late twenties, in a mormon singles ward. I had endured wave after endless wave, for about  a decade by that time, of my friends getting engaged and me being left behind. I also endured mounting pressure, almost to a crushing degree to get married myself. Every failed dating relationship with a guy was just another reminder of how much I was tired of being seemingly abandoned by a new set of friends every year, and often made to feel like a second class citizen at activities that were mixed company with all the families and married folk, not to mention all the bridal showers, baby showers, and ring sharing moments in the singles ward where I just felt so left behind.

Everytime I got a boyfriend, then broke up with said boyfriend I was hit with a fresh round of 'you didn't give him a fair chance' and 'quit being so picky' which just made the idea if a day or so of congratulations you are normal like the rest of us seem totally worth all the anger I would get when I told people it was all fake. Well, in some ways, it was worth it, and some it wasnt, I'll be honest.

we put ridiculous amounts of pressure on people especially in mormon culture to get married and have babies. Often dispite the fact that pressure helps no one accomplish either of these things, and usually just opens up deep and gaping holes of hurt for those who can't conform, or maybe for a variety of personal reasons don't really want to conform, we culturally continue to heap on additional pressures the more time that goes by without the individual or couple 'succeeding' to meet these expectations.

What we don't think about are the things we can't or won't see, the quiet desires of their  hearts, their circumstances, etc.

I'm pretty gay, as I've hinted or openly said on this blog before, and eventually I've come to accept that the whole dating guys thing just turns me into an irritable, not pleasant person, because it's something I did only to please everyone else and conform to societal pressures. I do want companionship, and a family, sometimes desperately, and so I think, let's try again, and let's try a little harder this time. And i get the same results, and I believe that hits the definition of insanity.

I have other single friends, straight single friends that also desperately want a family, and a husband and kids, but also for various reasons, so far that's not working for them, and a little understanding and a little less judging would go a long way for them as well.

I also have married friends who want kids and can't have them. Pressure doesn't help that situation either. And I even have some friends who have zero desire to get married or have kids, and that's ok I think. Because if they just did those things to please everyone else they probably would be miserable to live with and not that great of parents.

I guess  what I am saying today is, when someone pranks you about any of those serious, important life events today, maybe consider for a second the pressure they may be under. And when someone's life doesn't meet your expectations for them, realize they aren't doing it to hurt you, or to disapointing you, or deny you grandchildren and what not. And maybe just find a way to recognize the value of their diversity to society, even if it's a 'choice' you disagree with, find a way to appreciate them for who they are and what they are, not who and what they are expected to do and be.

Rant over and out.