I recently was reminded of those collections of embarrassing moments often found near the end of magazines aimed at pre-teen girls. I’m not sure what exactly made me think of them, but I remember reading those and a) being relieved that I had never experienced those particular embarrassing moments personally, and b) trying to figure out which embarrassing moment I would submit if I decided to submit one. Which, of course, I never would…because that would be embarrassing.
Here’s the thing: I could never think of a moment worthy of being published in J-14 (or whatever magazine I happened to be obsessing over that particular afternoon). Of course, who is to say that those moments weren’t completely fabricated for the sake of the magazine, but that’s not the point. Even now, at 26 years old, I really can’t say that I have any really embarrassing stories. The stories I do have that still sting of embarrassment really aren’t that bad in reality. It’s just residual embarrassment from 5th grade or whenever. Something mildly embarrassing happened to me yesterday, but I had completely forgotten about it until this very moment, and I’m sure I’ll forget what I’m referring to in a few days.
Oddly enough, I kinda feel bad about not having embarrassing stories…? Is that completely bizarre? It almost makes me feel like I haven’t really lived. I mean the 5th grade embarrassing moment just me being caught completely zoning out on camera and making a slightly derpy face. Yesterday I recognized someone from high school at my place of work, and he didn’t recognize me right away. I think he was more embarrassed than I was.
Not that any really great embarrassing stories come out of great adventures or anything. Usually it’s something silly like “I accidentally misspoke in front of my crush!!!” or “My mom totally found a poem I wrote about a BOY!” or something stupid. Even as adults, embarrassing moments are never that grandiose. “I accidentally said a bad word during a presentation!” The big disastrous embarrassments tend to come from elements beyond one’s control. So why am I embarrassed from not being embarrassed?
I’ve always remembered being a child as being terrified of too much attention, while simultaneously wanting all the attention. (I think that’s called being an extroverted introvert or something.) I was shy and cautious. I assumed I was invisible and moments that were embarrassing to me either reminded me that I wasn’t invisible or reaffirmed that I totally was. So maybe I felt left out of some sort of cultural happening since I wasn’t experiencing huge moments of clumsy awkwardness. Maybe I was too scared to go out and get attention on my own that I wished some sort of embarrassment on myself so that I would be noticed.
Then again, I did get asked out by a boy in 8th grade in front of the entire school and everyone cheered and applauded and while I’m sure I must have been a little embarrassed (because I was an 8th girl and those are always embarrassed) I actually don’t remember feeling weird about it.
I started writing this post to commit to putting myself out there more, since obviously if I have no embarrassing stories I must not be putting myself “out there”, right? But maybe it just means I have a secret self-assurance that I never really noticed before. Maybe I’m actually as cool as a cucumber. Maybe… Or maybe this was an excuse to tell the internet that in 8th grade a boy liked me so much that he wore a suit to school and asked me out in front of everyone during lunch. The world will never know.