While I ultimately believe that my family and friends love me and would never do anything to intentionally hurt me, there is a certain culture among my immediate and extended family members and my friend group of lighthearted teasing that I feel sometimes goes too far.
It started a little over a year ago; I came home one day after getting a haircut and ran into my older sister. Upon seeing me with my new haircut she exclaimed "My God, ****, you look like a bird!" and started laughing. This took me aback because it didn't make any sense. I get my hair cut regularly every two months at the same time and I always get it cut in the same style. I go to the same barber shop and make sure that it's the same barber every time to ensure that there are no variations in how my hair is cut. As far as I can tell, my hair looked exactly the same as the other thousand times it had been cut and I honestly do not know why this time my sister decided that I looked like a bird. I spent a lot of time looking in the mirror and to this day I have never been able to see it. I have asked several acquaintances for a second opinion on whether I look like a bird but the results were inconclusive (a little more on that later).
Anyway, while this incident shook me I chalked it up to my sister being goofy and didn't think too much about it after that. However at supper that night my father made a similar comment to me about looking like a bird, and him and my sister starting giggling uncontrollably. I was not amused to hear this observation for a second time, but I decided to let it go and focused on eating my so they would see that I was not encouraging further joking at my expense.
The next day I left my parents' house to go back to my apartment about an hour away. I thought this would be the end of this ridiculous joke that I look like a bird, but my sister told my cousin about it. As I was roommates with my cousin at the time, he also began making periodic comments insinuating that I was a bird and it really started to get on my nerves. This became an ongoing joke that would come up very often when speaking to my sister or my father, and they would often text me unprovoked to say something. One such incident that I remember is that when bird hunting season started my father texted me and told me to watch out for bird hunters. Another time when I told him about an incident of a bird defecating on me on the way to the store, instead of showing any sympathy he laughed and said "Birds sh*tting on a bird? Never heard of that before!"
Outside of my family, the joke caught on with my circle of friends as well. It started with me mentioning something about it to two close friends and asking them for reassurance that I did not look like a bird. However, instead of saying that I did not look like a bird, they laughed and started making similar jokes and this quickly spread to my larger friend group such that all of them know about the bird joke at this point and often go out of their way to bring it up to the amusement of everyone except me.
The situation has escalated to the point where I am seriously annoyed when anyone makes a joke about me looking like a bird. I am starting to fear that I will never hear the end of it from either my family or my friends and will have to listen to these bird jokes for the rest of my life. Last Christmas my sister got me a bag of bird seed for one of my presents and while I smiled and pretended to find it funny, my hands were shaking with anger and I did all I could to hide that fact. I am generally a very fun-loving person and I don't mind a good joke here and there, but it's been going on for over a year now and honestly I am sick and tired of people saying that I am a bird, or that I look like a bird.
I am somewhat quiet, so a lot of the time I let things go that I probably shouldn't. This also means that if I outright asked my friends or family to stop making these kinds of jokes about me they would be very surprised and I'm afraid it may cause some kind of confrontation. I have considered talking to each person involved individually and asking them to stop, but the sheer work involved has dissuaded me from this approach. However, the situation as it is cannot continue.
How can I convey to all of my friends and family who are participating in this joke that I am hurt by their teasing and would like it to stop - without talking to each of them individually?