Don’t Fool Around

Happy April Fool’s Day to all! I was never very successful at playing April Fool’s jokes on anyone because apparently, I am not as clever as I always wanted to be. I remember, at five years of age, being so excited about my big plan to trick my mother into thinking that I had turned into a chicken. I just knew that I could pull this off because I had thought it out so thoroughly. I even sneaked some eggs from the refrigerator and put them in my bed. My plan was to sit on them, cluck loudly and make all kinds of chicken noises in the morning to wake her up. In my head, she would come running down the hall and be totally surprised that her youngest child had suddenly morphed into a fowl. Then I would jump up and yell, “April Fools!” and she would be extremely relieved that she would not have to keep her offspring in a chicken coop. In my head, it worked. In reality… not so much. I sat on those eggs, in my bed, for an hour. I cackled and scratched and did my best chicken impression…but nobody woke up. So, after a while, I fell back asleep and when I awakened hours later, I found that my nest had been defiled and my eggs snatched to be cooked for someone’s breakfast. This all happened right under my nose…er, my beak…and I never woke up. My amazing joke had “laid an egg”, so to speak. Funny thing is…I don’t remember anyone even questioning me as to why I was lying in a pile of eggs. I was a strange child. My daughter thinks I just had an unusual idea of breakfast in bed!

Today, on April Fool’s Day, I am thinking about how many other times I have tried to fool people; myself included, into thinking that I am something or someone that I’m not. I don’t think I’m alone in this. We all have our times of wearing masks and pretending. We do this out of fear, insecurity, lack of confidence and any number of other reasons. There are times when we just don’t feel that we’re good enough the way we are, and we want to be accepted, so we abandon our authentic selves and try to fit into someone else’s mold. I think most of us have learned that while this may work for a while, it soon becomes uncomfortable because it’s not real. It’s like wearing shoes that are stylish and look fantastic…for a time, we can pull it off, but ultimately, our feet begin to ache and blisters appear. Your ideas, thoughts, opinions, talents and experiences are your own and they are worthy! It’s very liberating to realize that you don’t have to be addicted to pleasing other people or gaining their approval. My friend, Lillian Coury, recently reminded me of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes: “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Shakespeare’s line, “To thine own self be true” really does make sense. Of course, we should strive for self-improvement and we want to put our best foot forward. But we should always make sure that it’s our own foot! If you stick with your authentic self, you’ll never have to remember who you pretended to be!

And I’d advise against pretending to be a chicken at any time.

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