I sneeze-farted in Mr. Einhorn’s class in fifth grade.
I’ll set the scene. Right after the teacher angrily silenced the class, we all got to work in our composition books—tension filled the air—and no one dared to even breathe too loud. Then it happened. It totally took me by surprise! I almost got away with it too, except for the fact that as the class roared with laughter, I was the only one quietly pouting—busted.
In college, I once came out of the sorority bathroom and walked about a mile to the center of campus. I kept wondering why so many people (mostly males) were walking behind me, whispering and laughing, until I realized that the back of my dress was completely tucked into my underwear. Umm, oops.
On my first date with my college sweetheart (now hubby), I spent the entire date unknowingly wearing our spinach/artichoke dip appetizer across my front teeth. I couldn’t believe he never told me, that I hadn’t noticed sooner, AND that he even asked me out for a second date. He’s a keeper.
Let’s face it—I try hard, but am not always the most graceful.
But perhaps one of the most cringe-worthy moments was more upsetting than embarrassing for a different reason. I’ll elaborate. I’ll never forget that one particular day in college, when I walked into a room and encountered two of my fashion-focused, so-called “friends.” They stopped me to mention how much they envied my style, especially my shirt that day. Super flattering at first, yes.
That’s when things took an ugly turn. “Where did you get it?” they asked. For a quick moment, I wondered if I should actually lie to these brand-queens or just be real. So I made my choice. “Walmart,” I shyly replied. The roar of laughter was more than awful—it has echoed with me ever since, like out of a scene from “Mean Girls.” Tears filled my eyes and anger filled my mind, as they never uttered another word to me. They just laughed as they walked away.
Perhaps, if they had gotten to know me better, they would have thought twice before trying to tear me down. If they only knew that I was really proud of my shirt because I bought it with my own money—not my parents’. I was actually paying my way through college, unassisted. I worked two jobs, had two internships, and simultaneously managed to complete a full load of classes per semester. I worked hard, I was proud, and brands didn’t matter. And now, neither did they. If only they knew.
From childhood to early adulthood, I was always encouraged to keep embarrassing moments to myself, unless among a trusted friend or family member. “Don’t let it out,” they would say. Perhaps that’s one of the many reasons for this blog—I never conformed. I didn’t agree.
Through the years, that moment made me dwell on a topic, so interesting.
Why is society so fascinated with superficiality?
Why are some people so afraid to reveal their perfect imperfection, when it is that, which makes us so human and wonderful?
The more that I speak with friends or strangers (parents or not), I learn that as different or chaotic as we may think we are… we are all the same. We all experience and learn from our faux pas, struggles, dramas, anxieties, and laughable moments. When we unveil, we learn from each other.
My life is an open book, and I am always happy to relate and share personal anecdotes and life lessons with friends—because it’s real, it’s funny, and it’s a valuable part of our journey.
Why are people so judgmental and self-deprecating?
I’ll explain further with this example: For some reason, people often approach me and comment, “Wow, you’re a Supermom! Four Kids! I see how your kids walk into school holding hands, you’re perfect! Perfect!”
I admit, it is so kind and humbling to hear, but I can’t stand the word, “perfect.” People cannot be perfect. It’s unattainable and unrealistic. The ideal of “perfect” only serves to disillusion and self-criticize.
Every time this happens, my impulsive reaction is actually to knock that pedestal down with my own anecdotes of parenting drama. Then as I speak to this person more, and we share our trials, dramas, and laughter of the everyday, she quickly realizes that all of her perceived failures or parenting hurdles are actually common, but not typically discussed.
Stop creating false illusions of yourself and others. Drop the judgments and labels, and relate instead!
When others approach me to chat, they don’t hesitate to reveal real issues, embarrassing moments, parenting drama, and other worries because there is no judgement.
There is no vanity in humanity.
Looking back, I feel sad for those two girls who base their friendships on the outside. I feel proud for my iron will to support myself through school—and even manage to pull off some mentionable style. Brands, labels, and superficiality mean absolutely nothing to me—never have, never will.
Be yourself and be proud! Learn to forgive yourself and love yourself. Open up to others in a real way, without shame or guilt, and you will also feel the relief to learn—
we are all the same.