Humiliating V Embarrassing

20 Jul

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:

  1. I wear granny panties
  2. 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?

6 Responses to “Humiliating V Embarrassing”

  1. amanda July 20, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    I also had a “spare pair” moment in high school! Except mine were electric blue bikini…does that make it better? It’s “fun” to draw on these moments when you’re writing…right?

  2. briaq July 20, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    You can’t leave us hanging at that! We want to hear it!!!

  3. MamaKitty July 20, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    I was 16 and on my first date with the man that would later become my fiance (ok so we’re not together anymore, but that doesn’t count for the purpose of this story). I was so nervous about going on my first “real” date that I did what any 16 year old girl would do. I invited my best friend to come with us. *headdesk*

    So, we go to this Mexican restaurant, and I order a taco salad & a coke. My best friend orders cheese enchiladas & a coke. He orders some grilled chicken thing & ice tea. (it’s all relevant, I swear).

    Anyway, my ex was hilarious. Seriously, he could have you falling off your chair laughing in the first 5 minutes after meeting him. There were plenty of times that I had to RUN to the bathroom for fear of pissing my pants when he was on a roll. That was one of those nights.

    I can’t remember exactly what he’d said to make us laugh so hard, but I’d just taken a big ass drink of my coke. Of course, I’m trying not to laugh, so instead of going down my throat, it goes up my nose and then… yeah, you guessed it. OUT OF MY NOSE. I grabbed my napkin and thought that I’d done a good job of hiding it before he saw, but a few years later I found out I most definitely did not. My best friend is sitting next to me, and she reaches over to pat my back, but instead flings cheese enchilada across the restaurant. All the while, my ex is sitting across the table, suddenly very interested in his chicken because he knows at that point I’m going to stab him if he doesn’t stop laughing at me.

    To this day, I can’t walk into that restaurant without the hostess (who is the owner’s kid) laughing at me.

  4. Kinsey July 20, 2010 at 10:07 pm #

    Bria: Great post. I was thinking about the last time someone humiliated me – it was quite a few years ago, but every time I recall it the sting is almost just as bad. I don’t know, to this day, if he did it on purpose.

    Now, for an embarrassing story.

    8th grade, church camp – I loved church camp, it was awesome. I was in love with a high school guy – let’s call him MG – he would’ve been a junior, probably. Everyone loved him. He and his brother were superhot (brother went on to play for the national champions UH basketball team but I digress…)

    MG had no idea who I, or anyone younger than 10th grade, was. He was a very nice guy, not a jerk at all – but there were lots of kids in our youth group and he was a top dog.

    So one afternoon there’s a big softball game and I’M ON MG’S TEAM! For the first time ever, he addresses me by my name. I am in heaven – but I will be up to bat soon, and while I can bat okay, I can’t run worth a flip (I was a chubby little reader – I’m in much better shape at 47 than I was at 11). So I’m on one knee with the rest of my team as we wait for our turns at bat (we all knelt like that while we waited – I don’t recall why). Guy in front of me gets a hit, heads for first base, MG motions at me and yells “C’mon Kinsey! Let’s go – hustle!” And I rise to my feet and start running, but I start running before I’m all the way up, and my feet get tangled under me – because I’m super clumsy (that has not changed in 36 years) and I do that sort of cartoon leg-windmill thing until I finally pitch over face first. And MG runs over to help me up, all concerned, and I’m so embarrassed, but I brush him off and run up to the plate and I don’t recall if I struck out or what.

    Now, at the time, I felt humiliated. I felt like it was the Worst Thing That Ever Happened To Me – if MG hadn’t been there, with all his attention focused on me, it wouldn’t have been so bad, but it was awful.

    However, no one remembered it the next day. No one teased me about it. And I know that MG forgot my name by the end of the week – because there were lots of 11 year old girls running around, and he was 16 or 17.

    One of my friends was actually jealous because for that short time, for whatever reason, his attention was focused on me. Another time at church camp – can’t recall if it was the same year – an older girl, someone MG’s age – cut her foot on a rock while playing tug of war and MG carried her to the nurse’s cabin (and she was a really big girl). So for the rest of the week, all the girls were trying to figure ways of getting hurt while MG was watching them.

    I wonder if he’s on Facebook…

  5. briaq July 20, 2010 at 10:20 pm #

    Wow Ladies- these are great. Isn’t it funny how we look at other people’s stories and think it’s cute… but ours, noooo!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Anyone know how their going to walk that line with their characters?

  6. MamaKitty July 20, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    Anyone know how their going to walk that line with their characters?

    I wish to God I knew. Sigh. Most of the time, I’m just along for the ride when it comes to what’s going to happen in my story. Yup, I’m a pantser. LOL.

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