I have an (unnamed) friend who went to the grocery store, felt a little drafty from behind, did all her shopping, left, then realized that her skirt was tucked into the top of her panty hose the entire time she was shopping.
I know you won't believe it, but that wasn't me.
I have, however, embarrassed myself quite enough through the years and even though you think the people who witnessed your embarrassment have forgotten the vision that hath been burned in their brains, I'm here to tell you, no they didn't.
See? I'm still telling my friend's story, it still makes me laugh to this day, and I wasn't even there!
Yes, people are in need of a good embarrassing story to tell and they like to tell your story because they're embarrassed about their own stories and to be honest, someone else is probably at a Christmas party telling their story anyway! So it comes full circle and the world's all a big round of telling each other's embarrassing stories anyway and that should make us all feel better, because yes, while it is true that probably someone at some Christmas party or office party or sorority gathering is telling the story of how you messed it up one day, take comfort in knowing that we not alone in our embarrassment, and that everyone has their stories.
The trick is being one with it.
Because everyone likes a good embarrassing story. It almost always makes their inner monologue say something like, "Whew, someone did that too." Or, "Whew, someone is more ridiculous than I am." Other people's embarrassing stories just make people feel better about their own. Your embarrassment is a sort of a support group for confidence everywhere! Don't worry. You'll spot someone doing something stupid soon enough and feel better about your own, too. It all comes full circle eventually.
This year I took a photography class (the last class was last night -boo hoo) and it brought me to my old college campus, USF. I was so excited I was going to be taking a class and it was going to be in Cooper Hall, where I spent nearly half of my undergrad.
Would you believe it is as old and rickety as it was a hundredty years ago when I went?
Anyhoo, as I was descending the steps from the third floor and getting down to the very bottom, I was struck with a memory from my yesteryears. Back when I was an actual student, I was on those very stairs, climbing down with a friend of mine during the "rush hour" in between classes (it was where all the english and lit classes were and where most students had to take all their requirement courses so most of the school was in that building at some point in their careers) and when I got down to the last four steps, I missed about three of them.
I wasn't paying attention, and in the middle of everyone, I fell down the last three stairs. Completely missed them and landed on my tookus.
I was wearing a skirt. I had stuff in my hands. It wasn't graceful.
Then there was a time when I took a performance class, completely blanked during my monologue and fled the classroom. I don't know why I fled, I just picked up my stuff in embarrassment and left. I remember hearing the teacher yelling after me, "Don't go! Make something up! It's ok!" Now, I'd just stand up there and fart or something to fill the emptiness and embarrassment (you can't get much worse than a bunch of blank faces staring at you when you got nothin. You may as well be standing there in your undie. You can hear the crickets and everything.) The reason I tell you that people remember is because that very story came right back up when I met a friend from college on Facebook. Darn you, Facebook! I thought that memory was mine!
Nope. People don't forget. Sorry.
But it's ok because they've done it too. We need the comic relief, so it's ok. We should really stop taking ourselves so seriously anyway.
So my latest foray into embarrassment happened last week when I was headed to the gym. The kids were up and we were out of the house all dressed and prepared and unfrazzled because we were on.time. and I dropped off my son at preschool and headed off to the gym with Mini and he went into the gym daycare and actually ran off without even looking back! Which as you may know from reading my tweets that it has been quite a journey to get to that point, so we were having a breakthrough! Right then! A breakthrough!
Literally, the clouds were parting, the sun was shining down right on me, birds were chirping, I had a spring in my step, I turned and headed off for a nice leg workout and a run and did one of those hops where you click your heels in midair.
I got to the legpress and I look up.
Well, isn't that just great.
I'm wearing two different shoes.
I was wondering why my right shoe felt tight on the drive over.
A Christina Aguilera song was playing over the intercom right at that moment, and the chorus was singing, "It don't get better than this!"
I immediately wanted to cover up my shoes or put them down or hide them or something. I was looking around at everyone wondering if they had noticed already and if they were in on the joke. And then I looked at everyone else's shoes to see if anyone else had made the same mistake that morning. Then I was just looking at other people's shoes to see if I would have noticed whether they were wearing two different shoes or not.
I really put a lot of thought into it.
Oh, I got through the rest of my leg workout. Walked all funny back to the locker room trying to regroup. Do I finish my workout? Mini is happy as a clam in kidkare, I have to! Do I just strut along and become one with it? What if someone asks? Am I testing out some shoes? Did I lose a bet with my three-year-old? What do I say??????
Because really it was just another instance where I thought I completely had it all together and all of a sudden I realize I don't. I feel caught up some times but really most of my day consists of a series of just trying to keep ups.
Which is ok because most people don't really have it all together even when they look like they do anyway. And they do things like pack their shirt into the top of their pantyhose, too.
I did go on to run a great three miles on the treadmill, I even forgot about my shoe briefly. Although it did turn into a fantastic very scientific shoe study because on the left was my new shoe and on the right was my old shoe and I realized by wearing them both (which I wouldn't have done on purpose) that the right one was so uncomfortable! How could I have run like that?? The left, which I affectionately call "fugly" shoe, may not be a looker, but it is the most comfy thing I've ever worn!
So at least there was that.
That's the good part about getting older. You start to care a little less each year about your embarrassments. Maybe that's why we eventually find ourselves in housecoats and plaid pants that are way too high.
I can totally see it now.
What are your embarrassments?? Come on. I know you want to make me feel better about my own.