My first memorable embarrassing moment happened when I was a cheerleader in elementary school.
I ran out onto the gym floor for a cheer routine during halftime of a basketball game. I might have been ten or eleven years old. I was head of the line, and flounced out to mid-court to take my place in the middle of the formation, saddle shoes kicking the edge of my skirt, compatriots in a line right behind me. I jumped to face the crowd, hands behind my back, all set for our first move. Ready? O.K.!
I was alone. The two teams were only having a time out. It wasn’t the right time for our cheer. The rest of the girls had stayed behind, no doubt held back by a coach or fast-acting parent. Not fast enough to catch me, though. I was mortified, tragically. I swallowed my tears, skipped back to the sidelines, and wished for a hole to jump into.
During my school years, I remember falling down stairs while wearing a skirt, tripping up stairs and dropping my books, saying the wrong answer out loud in class, telling a story that made people laugh when it wasn’t my intention to be funny, and bursting into tears in public. I remember going to the homecoming dance with a plaster cast on my hand while my broken hand healed, and marching around a football field in my colorguard uniform wearing that cast, standing stock still as a placeholder while my fellow flag-wavers twirled and threw their flagpoles up in the air to the marching band's music.
I remember several bathroom emergencies when people tilted their heads with a mix of compassion and disgust and all I wanted to do was disappear.
Embarrassments in my twenties included roommates throwing back the shower curtain to take surprise! you’re naked! photos, flirting with abandon only to find out that my objet d’amour preferred someone else, over-estimating my alcohol tolerance and displaying one of many unrefined behaviors. Once I rocketed a tampon out of my pocket during a speech I gave to a college class of about two hundred students.
I stuttered significantly during my wedding vows in front of two hundred wedding guests. It was recorded, naturally. I’ve since become dubious of the importance of wedding videos.
It’s safe to say that only I, and maybe a few others, remember these most embarrassing moments of my life.
As I age the embarrassments get fewer. I’ve lived through birthing two babies, exposing my most intimate parts to virtual strangers. I took said babies out in public hundreds of times, resulting in losing my pride along with my mind over and over again. Through this life I’ve practiced the art of being red-faced, and these days, I take it as it comes. I’ve given myself allowances to say the wrong things, make mistakes, and trip over my feet now and again. And again and again and again.
I trust that nobody really dwells on my mishaps like I do. As my mother wisely lectured when I was an angsty teen, nobody thinks about me as much as I think about me. In short, nobody cares, and if they do, then maybe I’ve made someone’s day a little brighter.
After all, if they’re laughing at my embarrassing moment, they’re still laughing. Sometimes, a little humor is more than anyone expects from any of us.
This post inspired by:
Prompt #1: Write a blog post inspired by the word: Embarrassed.