I remember one time, while I went to public high school, there was “alter-ego day”, and I remember seeing a bunch of girls dressed in all black with red pen marks horizontally drawn on their wrists, and I remember thinking, “Why the hell would you make fun of such a serious thing?” At the time, I was in the worst place mentally, suffering from severe depression, and hiding my self-harm cuts whilst these girls were making it seem like a joke. I remember actually snapping on one girl whilst her and her friend were laughing about it, drawing the red pen marks like it doesn’t actually happen, and I said something along the lines of "be careful who you say that around, you never know who might actually be suffering with that issue". The girl was shocked that I said something, and responded along the lines of, "it’s just a joke". No, it’s not.

You shouldn’t joke about depression, self-harm, weight, abusive relationships of any kind, racism, terrorism, etc.

I remember in middle school my friend Austin would joke around with me about my weight, when in all honesty, I really wasn’t at my biggest at that time. The thing he didn’t know was how serious I took those jokes, until one day, knowing he’d take my iPod at some point during study hall, I put my background to a quote that had to do with how I was feeling and I remember the look of shock on his face, he had no idea that his jokes really got to me, or that I thought of myself so poorly. Another time that same year, after Austin knew how I felt about myself, he knew someone had a crush on me, but refused to tell me who, and another one of the people in the group, Logan, said , “Ew, who would have a crush on Gabbi?” I snapped, I turned around and said, “I know right?! Why would someone have a crush on someone fat and gross like me? I don’t know why anyone would have a crush on me!” and broke down crying. I remember the look on everyone that I was actually friends with in the group's faces’, they were shocked at my reaction, shocked to hear me say that, because I hid how I felt from them so well, they had no idea. I remember Austin just putting his hand on my knee, speechless. Everyone was speechless. Logan was just joking, but his words really hurt. I went home that day and just laid on the couch, listening to my iPod, and stared at the ceiling. My parents had, and still have no idea, why I did that that day, for all I know they don’t remember that day. But that day was the true start of my long road of severe depression.

My most recent experience of jokes that aren’t funny was actually here at college. This one girl asked an African American male, “Why do you wear sunscreen? It’s not like you get burned.” I, having been in a relationship at the time with an African American male, was shocked at such a stupid statement. The girl laughed at what she had said like it was a joke, and the male responded with, “That was SO arrogant and rude.” This girl thought because someone has a darker pigmentation to their skin that their skin doesn’t burn! She didn’t understand why her comment had been in anyway rude.

What I’m trying to say with all of these stories is, DO NOT, BY ANY MEANS, make jokes about self-harm, depression, the color of someone’s skin, etc because you have NO IDEA how anyone around you may react, what those people might have gone through, or what they are going through. Just don’t be rude in general and ask stupid questions.