Millennia Mindset: How I learned to Stop Being Embarrassed

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My name is Tracy and I am hopelessly and perpetually finding new ways to embarrass myself. I attend college at Indiana University, a free-spirited and basketball-crazed Big 10 school. Seldom does a day go by without me having done something atrociously embarrassing or awkward, like face-planting on the sidewalk as I make my way to class or severely misjudging the distance between my body and the door frame — let’s not forgot all those unpleasant social interactions where I’m just not equipped with proper responses. I am not proud to admit this, but my dad has suggested to me, on multiple occasions, that I should give up on my literary dreams and pursue a career in physical comedy à la Harpo Marx. What’s worse, I’ve actually considered his teasing with some degree of seriousness. I could be famous.

"Girl With Bag On Head Hiding" by Stuart Miles
“Girl With Bag On Head Hiding” by Stuart Miles photo courtesy of

But, I digress. Where I was going with this is that I am quite skilled in the art of self-embarrassment and there are far too many instances that stick out in my mind where I have thought to myself, “DEAR SWEET MOTHER OF PEARL! DID I REALLY JUST DO THAT?” and then I am forced to face the truth and admit to myself, yes, that actually happened, and then perhaps attempt to hide my face in shame. Recently, I experienced probably the most horrifyingly embarrassing moment to date, and it’s your lucky day because I am going to tell you all about it and broadcast my shame all over the internet. So just prepare yourself.

Me being the wonderful and angelic daughter that I am, I recently paid a visit to my parents in honor of Father’s Day (not to mention that my stomach was begging and pleading for a wonderful mom-cooked meal, where there is love in every bite!), and keeping with our usual father-daughter traditions, we went to the movies to go see some kind of over-the-top Sci-Fi film. It’s just what we do. Once we had gotten all of our necessary movie snacks and drinks and all that stuff, we made our way into the theater, where the lights had been dimmed, but it wasn’t yet completely dark. And this was where I made the mistake of trusting my abilities to multitask: I was both walking and scanning the theater for the perfect seat. The trouble with that is that in order to scan the theater, I had to sacrifice my ability to watch where I was walking and BAM, from nowhere a giant trashcan appeared in my path. And in Mean Girls fashion, I fell in, face first, while my legs flailed around in the air with a theater full of witnesses and my dad stands off to the side busting his gut laughing. As soon as I managed to pull myself out of the trash and remove all the popcorn from my hair, I darted into the closest available seat to hide myself from the public humiliation.

This experience haunted me for a few days, but then, I had a small revelation: I can stoop no lower. I think that I have done just about every embarrassing thing in the book, so why bother being embarrassed? I have learned to accept myself and all the horribly unfortunate things that I do and to have a good laugh at myself. And I won’t lie, I now find myself to be pretty funny. It’s far easier for me to laugh at myself, along with the rest of the world, than to waste my precious time being embarrassed by whatever I just did. And besides, laughter releases endorphins within your body, relieving stress, which makes laughter the best medicine to overcoming all kinds of embarrassing moments. Coming to this realization has allowed me to take myself less seriously and not really care too much about what all these people who I have never met might think of me and whatever silly thing I have just done. As you step out on your own and into the real world, you are bound to have plenty of moments like myself, but you just have to roll with it and learn to laugh at yourself, because at the end of the day none of those “embarrassing” moments matter, not even in the slightest. Laugh, learn, and move on.

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