Earlier this week on twitter I told my most humiliating moment. Now I’m going to tell my most embarrassing (aren’t you glad you stopped by today?)
Sophomore year of high school I had a bit of a crush on this boy. Let’s call him Mr. K. Actually, the crush lasted all thru high school and if you saw my stupid move senior prom story, that was also Mr. K.
So, I did my laundry the night before and wanted to dry them, only my mom had jumped the line and was drying her clothes. I needed jeans, so I just tossed a pair in with my mom’s stuff in the dryer. Running late (as I usually was then) I rushed out to where my friend waited, jumped in the car and zoomed to school. Where I:
- Walked across the campus
- Hung out by the lockers
- Went to home room
- Scooted back across campus for first period math
- And, finally collapsed in my seat…the one next to Mr. K
So far, so good, right? Please note all the running. You’d think…well, just stick with me.
I’m sitting there trying to look inconspicuous while joking around with the people near me, when Mr. K says, “Hey, Bria. What’s that? A spare pair?”
You’re seeing where this is going, aren’t you?
I look down, and sticking out of the bottom of my jeans is my mothers GRANNY PANTIES! Yeah, so, of course, it looks like:
- I wear granny panties
- I had dirty underwear sticking out of dirty jeans
Anyone! Anyone else and I could have recovered – laughed it off, joked even! I could have made some remark about something…even know, remembering Mr. K, I’m drawing a blank. Instead, I snatched them as quickly as possible and shoved them in my backpack. Then did what any 15-year-old girl would do. Grinned weakly and studied the board up front with all my might. And rushed out of class like the end bell was actually a fire alarm.
THIS was embarrassing. It wasn’t hurtful or shameful or damaging. It didn’t cause any harm that I think back on in a negative way. It was just…embarrassing. No one even remembered by the end of the day it had happened but me. Embarrassing is great because, later in life, when you’re doing those stupid get-to-know-you games, you have a great story from long ago that everyone (including you) can laugh at.
Humiliating is not this. Humiliating starts with the key letters of HURTFUL. It leaves you feeling broken, vulnerable and weak. When you look back and share (or never ever share) a humiliating moment, it probably still hurts. It changes how you look at the people involved…including yourself. It may even change decisions and paths you take in the future.
So, go ahead and laugh at the Spare Pair story. Yeah, it’s funny. Yeah, I wanted to die for the entire period, but now, I look back and say “You want to know what I was like in high school. Nerdy and…”
This week I was writing the last scene for Secret book 2 in which the hero is an idiot and embarrasses himself. I wanted to walk a line between embarrassing and humiliating — and it got me thinking: Do I know where that line is for each of my characters? Can I walk it? Can I cross it? What would push that line further out? How will crossing it change his story? So I gave him a Granny Panty moment. And then I just sat back and shook my head at him.
Now, I showed you mine, you show me yours: What’s YOUR Granny Panty moment?