August 18, 2011

A Most Embarrassing Moment

Posted in Watermarks in Progress at 9:47 pm by Tamara

Okay, get ready for it, I’m going to share an embarrassing moment.  The pictures above have nothing to do with it, except to continue in the theme of embarrassing myself  show you what an adorable child I was  make this post look more eye-catching.  I hate that you can’t see my huge red plastic glasses, because I adored them and they were AWESOMENESS itself.

Moving on.

I was probably seven or so when a sample feminine pad came in the mail one day.  (I can’t believe I’m sharing this.)  Well, only grown up women got to carry those in their purses, so I was fascinated by it.  I decided I needed to keep it, so I proudly stuffed it into my shiny pink plastic purse and marched off to play practice, feeling very mature.  I forgot all about it once I got there, because how could I think about anything but the cute dark-haired boy I had a crush on?

Partway through practice, a rather annoying acquaintance of mine with a decidedly loud manner of communicating was sifting through my purse when she suddenly shrieked and held the pad aloft like a football player with the Heisman trophy, shouting, “You WEAR these??”

I lunged for that pad like a football receiver about to LOSE the Heisman trophy and shoved it back down into my purse, hissing “No!”

“Well,” she squawked as every other kid in the building (particularly dark-haired-crush-boy) turned to look at me, “Why do you have it?”

I had to go with the first brilliant explanation that popped into my head, which, naturally, was: “In case I wet my pants.”

“YOU WET YOUR PANTS??” she shrieked, loud enough that the entire block and half of China heard.  I don’t remember how I got myself out of that one—I’m hoping I just passed out on the spot, but I have a feeling it was so traumatic that I’ve just blocked it from my mind.

For years this experience was top of my list of “Most Embarrassing Moments.”  (Ironically, I also have an embarrassing moment where I somehow made this same crush think I’d pooped in my pants.  But, sorry folks, that is a different story for a different day.  Like when I’m dead.)  I have relived this moment countless times, and for years the mere glimmer of remembrance was enough to make me get red in the face and search for a shovel to dig myself a hole with.

Well, adulthood has brought more complex issues for me to be embarrassed over, but my reaction to failure and embarrassment is still to relive the moment again and again, analyzing every detail, word, and action until I figure out what I did wrong.  I brew over the moment and either despairingly bludgeon myself over what an unlikeable, inarticulate, clumsy idiot I am, or I come out fighting, determined that next time I’ll be funny, articulate, graceful, or whatever.

I think that’s something our enemy must love about guilt and embarrassment: it keeps us self-absorbed.  On the one hand, it’s wise to learn from our mistakes, but that’s not what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the vicious cycle of guilt, embarrassment, and self-doubt I can go spinning on as I live in the past, trying to sort out where I went wrong.

I’ve been convicted lately that this self-imposed guilt is a form of pride.  The root assumption is that I had the power to get what I wanted if I just hadn’t messed it up.  The effort I pour into tearing my actions apart is a means of keeping control; at least if I assume that it was my all fault and figure out what I did, I can better control the situation next time.  But, that ignores God and his sovereignty.

On the other hand, bludgeoning myself about what an unlovable, incompetent idiot I am paralyses me and ignores God’s grace, love and power.  Either way, the focus is on myself.

I read a book recently where a character would “reconcile with the day” every night.  It was a secular book, but I think that’s what God invites us to do: bring the failure or embarrassing moment to him, lay it all out, accept/confess any guilt, refuse false self-accusations, make adjustments as needed, and then set it in the past.  And once I’ve done that, the next time it comes to mind I need to refuse to relive it or enter the guilt/embarrassment/self-doubt cycle.

Reliving it again and again will only make me focus on myself, and probably on a distorted view of myself.  God invites me to turn my focus toward him.  To acknowledge that He is still in control, and even when I mess up He is still the great Redeemer.  To acknowledge that He loves me and sees me as His redeemed, perfectly lovable daughter.  And, I’d be willing to bet, He thinks I’m kind of funny, too.

And you know what else I just realized??  I once actually DID wet my pants, in front of a different crush!  Holey shamoley, this pattern of events is just not cool.  You’ll just have to pray I find a moral lesson behind that one, or I am certainly never going to share it.  What am I ever going to write about once I’m wearing Depends??

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4 Comments »

  1. Mom said,

    Rofl! Oh, my! How do you comment on something like this? After being mortified for you (even though it was long in the past), I also feel your pain in replaying embarrassing moments over and over. It seems to be my modus operandi after having done something stupid. And yes, it Is a form of pride. Thanks for reminding me of God’s grace and sovereignty!

    I love the cartoon too. And those precious childhood pictures!

    Love you!

    • Tamara said,

      I love that you leave me comments, Mom! You know my love language. ;) I think I need to find some more flattering pictures to save on my computer for future use….

  2. mary said,

    This post was hilarious, Tamara. But yet, it had so much meaning. It should be published somewhere! I was laughing so hard that even Lizzie was laughing!

    • Tamara said,

      Aw, you are so encouraging!! You definitely have a way with words, too; your posts always interest and encourage me! Glad to make you laugh–wish I could have heard Lizzie laughing, too!


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