I’ve been pagan for my entire adult life, but I grew up Christian — not only did I go to church every Sunday, I went to the weekday activities too.
My youth group was fond of playing the game, Apples to Apples. For those who have never heard of it, a description card is placed down (eg ‘delicious’), and all the players choose the card from their hand that they think best matches it (eg ‘dessert’, ‘restaurant’, ‘homecooking’). A winner is chosen and they get a point, rinse and repeat.
Everyone else played it straightforward, but I liked to put down the silly cards for the laugh.
I realized very quickly that not only was no one else amused, they couldn’t even tell there was a joke staring right up at them. They were baffled. Why would someone say that kittens are delicious? It didn’t make any sense!
It turned into my private joke. More often then not, I played the ridiculous card, refused to fess up to it, and watched everyone else scratch their heads.
I knew I wasn’t like them.
Every silly card I played affirmed that fact over and over. I waited for the chuckles that never came.
In retrospect, that was one of the earliest things I did to assert myself as an individual.
Honestly, nothing has changed. It doesn’t really matter who I interact with, most of them can’t tell that there’s a joke staring up at them.
But every now and then, when I least expect it, somebody else laughs.