When I was 15, I was desperately into bad guys (don’t ask).
Of course, I was the quintessential good girl: perfect grades, cute outfits, decent entourage (by that, I mean no entourage) with reading as my favorite pastime, and going for long walks with my bff as the ultimate idea of fun (come to think about it, not much has changed, but that’s a different story).
Boys’ attention was not something that I craved. Until I met HIM.
The ultimate high-school bad boy. He was the same age as me, yet he already had perfected the art of smoking a cigarette like James Dean, flipping off teachers and setting the world record at cutting class. Every day, his dad’s chauffeur dropped him in front of our school at 7:50 a.m. where everybody who was somebody in high school gathered up to smoke before going to class. That was where the cool kids hung out and HE was the only freshman allowed to join the group.
If you were dating someone from that exclusive group, you were undeniably cool too, by association. Instant high-school stardom.
In the meantime, on the other end of the cool meter, my best friend and I had our thing. We picked the perfect spying spot on the school hallway, right by entrance and that is where we used to spend our lunch breaks. Watching everybody that went in and out, giving all the seniors code names so that nobody would know who we were talking about and anticipating future “it couples” was our thing. Pretty dorky.
One day, out of the bloom, as HE was passing by, on his way to yet another smoke, he said “Hi”, calling me by my name and almost smiling. I, of course, almost died. He knew my name!! The next day, he said it again with prolonged eye contact. After one week of this intense mating ritual, he stopped right in front of me, got within 5 inch distance from my right ear and asked me out.
I managed to keep it together and say ok, like it was the most natural thing in the world. He said he’ll be waiting for me after class, the next day, right in front of the school.
I got up 2 hours earlier that day and got all dolled up. I counted the hours until 2 pm and prayed that the rain would stop by then. And by golly, it did. It was a good sign, I said to myself. I grabbed my backpack, channeled by inner Naomi Campbell and practiced the slow sexy walk towards the meeting point, trying to play it cool.
He saw me coming up. Everybody turned around. He was on his way to greet me when a car passed by the road, in a hurry. An elephant sized pot hole was right in front, filled with water. The car didn’t anticipate it. I didn’t stop to think about what could happen. And in a split second, it splashed me head to toe, leaving me soaking and mortified, for everybody to see. To this day, I am grateful that there were no cell phones back then or social media, because catching a moment like that on camera, would have been the end of me. Slow motion focused on my face would have probably been the invention of memes.
He laughed. I was petrified. My outfit, hair, makeup and perfect moment, ruined. My self-esteem drowned. Chances of surviving such a wet-bandit moment in high school? Minimal. But somehow I managed to smile. To remove the dripping bangs off my forehead, wipe my face and say “Water you waiting for? Let’s go with the flow!”
Dry humor? Yeah, he thought so too.
But that small part of me that found the power to crack a joke in the most humiliating moment of my life, while I looked like a melting snowman, was the single most underrated quality that got me through all the hardship that followed along the years.
That was just one of my many embarrassing tales.
Basically, I am a human pile of embarrassing moments. But everyone of them made me a better person. Laughing about them helped me connect easier with others. They helped me relate, stay humble and empathic.
I don’t know about you, but I’m done with perfection.
Actually, I’m done with everybody faking perfection. On their Instagram profiles, in their holiday cards, Christmas photo-shoots, weddings and trash the what not.
I don’t buy it. I’ve had enough of it.
If I see one more perfect Insta grid, I’m gonna be sick. People’s food is better color coordinated than my entire wardrobe!
I work in online marketing. I know just how bad you work to make everything look picture perfect. I recognize the tools you use. The apps you so willingly abuse. How many hours you spend to achieve it. And how much effort you put into every #Iwokeuplikethis picture.
I’m done with success stories too.
Not because of envy or some petty little reason. I’m done with celebrating the end result and not the work behind it. The struggle. The “OMG, I’m not sure I’m going to make it” moments. The “how do I recover from this” blunders. Those are the ones we don’t hear enough about. Those are the stories that I want to read.
In a nutshell: I’m bringing bombing back!
Here’s what I suggest: let’s talk about the embarrassing times we all went through.
The lame moments. The worst decisions EVER. The biggest breakdowns.
I want to hear the worst things you ever did and about how you managed to bounce back from them.
ATTN: I’m talking about the monumental mess-ups that made you want to shrink down to an ant size and just disappear from the face of the earth.
The ones in which you would have killed to have a MIB memory eraser thingy to zap everybody with so they’d never remember meeting your sorry ass in the first place.
The cringey, sucky, body paralyzing blunders that make the best wine night worthy stories.
To be embarrassed is to be human
We run, hide, fight embarrassment with every cell in our bodies when embracing it is what brings us together more than anything.
We let fear of what other people will think about us get in the way of succeeding. Because we let embarrassing moments haunt us forever. We give them the power to stop us in our tracks. To stop us from ever trying again. But we forget that our missteps often bring us exactly what we needed in the first place!
Nothing says bad-ass like laughing about your own mistakes. There’s no greater success than making a comeback after the most-memorable disaster of your life.
I want to hear it all. Bombing battle scars need to be celebrated!
Share your most embarrassing moments!
I want to hear all about that super bad haircut, the most horrific fashion phases of your teens, that appalling interview you totally bombed, the biggest faux-pas imaginable.
Leave no memory unturned.
I’ll do my part as well, giving you all my glorious moments and sharing some amazing stories of famous people that are not afraid to let people know just how badly they screwed up. There’s something super comforting in knowing everybody messes up. All. The. Time.
The best part: once you overcome gut-punching embarrassment, failure seems a bit less intimidating. Whatever happens, you know that you’re gonna be ok. Let’s do this!