I giggle all the time. I stutter, I stammer. I frequently check up on words I know, just to be sure of their spelling and meaning before I use them. I am always awkward in a social situation, for which I compensate by talking too much, or not at all. I find social eating painful, because I hate anyone seeing food on my teeth. My hair. My nose. My handwriting. My permanently broken voice which, if I don’t use for a while, sounds like a man. My big toes. My big belly. I drop things all the time. I carry the world in my bag, and am frequently found fidgeting with it awkwardly, in awkward places. My lack of knowledge about sports, economics and Pokemon. My saying or doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. My dozing off in the wrong place at the wrong time. My finding Bridget Jones to be more of a reflection of life than comedy. Sometimes, my very existence.
I am already embarrassed because a) I seem to have forgotten some things, b) why am I telling you all these things in the first place? c) I could have written the above paragraph much, much better. You’d tell me there is nothing to be embarrassed about. We embarrass ourselves everyday (at least I do). Why can’t we just admit it and move on with our lives? There are devices to deal with it, such as self-deprecating humour. And I do that a lot, only to find others don’t have the same sense of humour as I do. They look at me as if I was a strange creature from another planet, tell me I have low self-esteem and imply that giggling is an inappropriate habit that should be dumped by the time you are sixteen. Embarrassment wouldn’t be so embarrassing if people didn’t make you feel it twice over.
Perhaps, I am slightly ridiculous. I just wish I could own it. Not be mortified if I drop something. Not be ashamed for years because I forgot to pull down my skirt behind me once before coming out of the bathroom. No, instead, I check several times before stepping out. I refuse to carry breakable objects unless they come in a bag. I avoid social situations as much as possible, because I can’t be trusted to speak or not to speak.
It’s not just anxiety. Yes, even if anxiety is supposed to be a defence mechanism that guides you from danger, some things happen to you out of the blue. How are you supposed to know that the person you are talking about is right behind you? What can you do if a family member decides to tell that story about the time you were…? After all, you have no control over how the universe works. You can’t prepare for every situation you are thrust into. You can’t prepare at all, it’s what you do in the aftermath that’s under your control. And no matter how much you remind yourself of Lady Gaga in a meat dress, you can’t be similarly cool about having done something equally ridiculous.
And you’re embarrassed about everything you have ever done! Your past, that is ample material to make you cringe. To bury your head in your chest, to massage your forehead while you’re at it. I can’t share a cringey picture of myself on social media, because I’d rather not have my pictures taken. I find them all ridiculous. Period.
Is it low self-esteem, is it perfectionism, or is it just not wanting to do or be certain things? My worst habit in life is trying to please people. It’s nothing short of juggling or putting on a jester’s hat. I can’t bear the idea of anyone around me being anything less than happy, no matter how miserable it makes me. Now, that is plentiful opportunity to embarrass yourself. I just can’t be content with my individual existence. I have to try to make the world better at every step, even if the world isn’t interested. Not at this moment, at least.
There, all covers blown. I have admitted some embarrassing things in the past here, but I didn’t realise an essay about embarrassment should also be embarrassing. I suppose, it serves a purpose. Imagine being perfect. Keeping it up at every moment would be a nightmare. You couldn’t survive a day with that kind of anxiety. It would be equal to keeping impending death away. You can’t humanly handle it. No, you have to embarrass yourself for your own sake, no matter how the world perceives it.
I wouldn’t know what to do if I had a perfect nose or a smooth diction. I’d probably hate being a model or a newsreader because of it. It sounds horribly clichéd, but flaws make people so much more interesting. If something is perfect, it means I don’t have to think about it. If something isn’t, it’s a problem, a conflict, something that makes you think.
Not that I think about my nose, or how to solve it. But, I’m used to it. It’s me. If I said the right thing at the right time, I probably wouldn’t say much at all. I’d become complacent, uninterested in doing or being anything. Embarrassment is just the consequence; you couldn’t live your life without making mistakes. That sounds all very Zen, but it’s the obvious truth.
What made you feel embarrassed in the last few days? Share below!