First of all, I would like to issue a big heartfelt thank you to all of you who submitted an embarrassing story to me. This is the second to last in the series, and this particular post is from my dear friend Erica, who has share with us before. (If you are new to my blog, please visit these three guest posts, and you can thank me later: #1), #2, #3) I’ve had a busy month transitioning to my new job, and dealing with the kids beginning school. It hasn’t been easy, and one of the things that I LOVE about my life is that I can write this blog, but I knew that it would need to be put on hold while I get my footing in this unsteady sea of change. So, thank you for offering me a respite in the form of debilitating shame. You are too kind, and I love you. Now, on to Headgear, the self esteem killer:
Embarrassing memories are not hard for me to come by. I think I can safely speak for most of us when I say that childhood is rife with embarrassment. We are embarrassed about ourselves in general—how we look, tripping in front of other kids, crying in class, not to mention our parents, our totally un-cool church shoes, and let’s face it, the haircut you so badly wanted but which made you look like a boy so that when you held a door open for a nice old lady at a store she said, “Oh, thank you, young man” and you cried bitterly for a half an hour in JC Penny’s. OK, so those are mostly mine, but am I right?
I feel like I spent my entire childhood embarrassed about something or other. At all times. Like there was never a time when I was fully self-confident. I played the cello for goodness sake. Ever try looking cool while carrying a huge instrument case through the hallways that was bigger than you and you had to kind-of shuffle and lug and NO it’s not subtle. Like a flute case. Or piccolo. Or nothing. Because cool kids didn’t play instruments, right? And then there’s this. I had headgear in 3rd grade. And I had to wear it TO SCHOOL. So let’s not talk about embarrassment. I will WIN. Every time. I just have to say HEADGEAR.
Look, I’ll say it again: HEAD. GEAR. Just the name makes me a little nauseous.
We had a luau in 3rd grade and all the classes participated. We did projects in class, like making those little table-top volcanoes and making them explode with vinegar and baking soda, and we all tie-dyed either shirts (boys) or dresses (girls) in art class to wear to the Big Event. So maybe I wasn’t paying totally the most attention ever in art class (I was probably trying to hide my HEADGEAR) and I totally dyed my dress upside-down. So, while ALL the girls had a dress that went top-to-bottom red then blue then green, mine went green then blue then red. I was mortified. Plus the fact that the tie-dye totally clashed with my HEADGEAR.
Once I didn’t have to wear that insane torture device to school anymore (I’m talking about the HEADGEAR, in case you forgot), I was so self-conscious I would do anything to blend. But…I’m not a blending type of gal. I didn’t know how to do it. I was too impulsive. I was too emotional. I was too….I don’t know, ME. So I impulsively shaved my legs in 5th grade before I really needed to, because I self-consciously thought my legs were too hairy and of course I had NO idea how to do it, and I scraped the front of my calf off completely. I was so embarrassed about it, I didn’t say anything to my mom, or my sister, but bled horribly through the ten band-aids I tried to contain the wound with and went to school in my pastel floral pants, which I completely bled right through and was made fun of mercilessly by a boy who will remain unnamed. I will never forget the utter disdain in his voice when he said to me, “What did you do CUT YOURSELF SHAVING????”. I of course denied it vehemently. But to this day, I am So. Careful. I still hear the tone of his voice and my face burns. Ugh.
I hate that when my proud parents asked me to “play a little something” on my cello for visitors I would just DIE of embarrassment and refuse. They were so proud. I was good, too. But I just couldn’t do it. I didn’t even like them to hear me practicing as quietly as I could in my room with the door closed tightly. I couldn’t bear that anyone would hear me. It’s so sad thinking about embarrassment and WHY. Sometimes embarrassment sticks with you. It’s life. It’s what makes us who we are, doesn’t it? If only we had the wisdom of experience. Have courage! Be brave! LIVE! It’s way more fun.
But seriously, the headgear you guys? It’s exactly as bad as you think. Exactly.
Coming up next in the finale of embarrassing story submissions: Aptly titled, “A Boob Story”.