Thursday, June 29, 2006

i swear i didn't make any of these up

Today I have this need to share some of the most horrifying experiences of my formative years, and even one from just last month.

1. This one happened in fifth grade:
I was a very awkward child…very awkward. No social skills, because I was a total nerd and being around pretty people really spooked me. There was this one time after a ballet class, where I was standing around with some popular dancers; we were waiting to be picked up by our parents. These girls also doubled as cheerleaders for their school, and were total snobs. Naturally, I was desperate for them to like me. They were taking turns sharing stories about something, and I wanted to join in with a story of my own. With all the tact and finesse I could muster I began with, “That reminds me of this one Mexican girl I knew who was sooo smelly…”

Yeah, it gets worse. Seeing the disdain in these girls’ eyes as I spoke, I paused to think about what I had said wrong, then realized that one of the girls had an olive complexion. I then say, “well, no offense, Tina.” Her general glare of disgust then turned pure hatred while all her friends immediately started yelling at once, “SHE’S ARMENIAN, STUPID!! SHE’S NOT MEXICAN!!”

Yeah, it gets worse. Out of total humiliation, I said, I actually said this: “Oh! You look Armenian!” I was mocked all the way to Pittsburgh for that one.

2. This one happened in sixth grade:
When preparing an oral book report, the assignment sheet read “include a summary of the book” as one of its components. I don’t know why I immediately concluded that the teacher was asking for what was written on the back of the book, otherwise known as the jacket blurb. I honestly thought that’s what she was talking about. So, during my oral report, I read the jacket blurb word for word. Everything was going fine until Jocelyn, who just happened to be reporting on the same book, noticed I was blatantly plagiarizing, since she had a copy of the book right in front of her, and promptly told on me. I got a C- and was ridiculed by my classmates for weeks. “Oh Mary…I really liked the part about ‘A tesseract, in case a person doesn’t know, is a Wrinkle in Time.’ That was really creative. Oh wait….you didn’t actually write that part, did you?!” Evil, evil children.

The horrors follow me, it would seem.

3. This one happened last month:
I stopped by a friend’s desk (a friend who also happens to work in the temple with me) to drop off some stuff. Before I left, and with a strong loud voice I asked her, “Hey, Alma… I hear you’re moving out of state pretty soon, is that right?” Her horrified expression and stilted gaze helped me to conclude rather quickly that she had not yet discussed this with her employer, whose office was a mere three feet from where I was standing. The door was open. I truly wanted to perish in that moment.


I’ve been thinking about some of these things for so long...I've never been able to let them go. They truly are some of my worst memories. I've held them in secrecy because of shame and humiliation, wishing that they didn't really happen, that I really didn't say or do those things. But you know...they did happen, and I really said those things. Not happy or proud. But now it's time to let them go, and laugh about it.
This was actually really painful to read, Mary. Ouch!
I know! Maybe they're too ouchy for blogging purposes. But that's kind of why I wrote them out, I don't want to feel pain from them anymore. Particularly the two from childhood. They're things I want to forget.
Oh Mary. I feel for you. I think that's the reason I feel the need to divulge my deepest darkest, most embarassing moments to people in the most random situations. Then I can make light of them and let them go.

Like the time when I was a receptionist at this prestigous architectural firm, and ended a phone conversation with a consultant by saying "love ya, bah bye!"
Here's the perspective I try and muster whenever I do anything totally stupid and or embarrassing: Everyone does stupid and embarrassing things at some time or another. Everyone.

It's like a normal part of life and the human condition. And if there are some people who think they're above that reality so be it. You have my permission to move on. And furthermore, if co-worker wanted that bit of moving info top secret, she should've said it was top secret! That's what I'm talkin about!
I read somewhere once that mistakes/blunders we make as children stick with us and pack a larger-than-necessary amount of remaining shame. I think that's completely true--I still feel awkward and squirmy about dumb things that happened when I was a kid, even though there's nothing I can do about it now and I'm sure no one involved even remembers it.
Nem, you nailed it. So true, and well spoken.
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