Daily Challenge: Most embarrassing moment (s). Spill.
This is like asking “resurface memories that you’ve long since buried.”
1. That time it was my birthday: I think I had just turned seven or eight, and was spending my birthday in the Philippines for the first time. A large family I never knew existed had started singing me the Happy Birthday song, and not being one for attention (good thing not much has changed) or laughs or even good intentions, I got so flustered that I flung the kabob skewer I was holding so hard, the sweet barbecued sausage at the other end of it went flying towards my grandfather’s feet. I was sent to my room.
2. That time it was someone else’s birthday. I had never been bowling before, nor had I even really been invited to a birthday party before. But since it was my best friend’s birthday (and best friend meant ‘friends forever’ in first grade), I was forced to appear and don the bowling shoes. I remember spending about fifteen minutes in the bathroom ‘getting ready’ and pep-talking myself into pretending like I knew how to bowl, as if my family had been doing it every weekend since they arrived in the US. I remember holding the eight-pound bowling ball, and noticed how alien it felt to have this much weight on your hands. Recollecting every Animaniacs episode that involved bowling, I held the ball through those uncomfortable holes, made a starting run, and flung it towards the pins. The ball went straight for the gutter, and my ass went straight for the ground; I had never realized that beyond the dark line I had crossed, the wooden floor was waxed to frictionless perfection.
3. That time that girl had a crush on me: If I ever thought that the dating world was complicated now, I should have recognized it in first grade after I had learned a particularly beautiful blond girl had a crush on me. We had been learning about the presidents in history, and were recreating some of the more famous ones’ lives when the teacher asked, “Who should be Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln when they go to the opera?” Everyone in the class, being the Cupids they were, immediately started shouting my name to be Abraham and the blond girl to be Mary Todd. Of course, I didn’t see this as a set up for a first date with the blond, but as a democratic death wish made by the people I thought to be my wall-ball buddies. It wasn’t until after denying the role several times that a friend explained the blond’s undying love for me when I understood why my Mary Todd left for a bathroom break, soaked in tears.
4. That time I was in the Spelling Bee: This was when I first realized I had public speaking issues. Although I easily made it to first place in my classroom, spelling words in front of the entire third grade became more than difficult; it was impossible. I remember the shame in being eliminated by the third round, my voice quivering and knees ready to buckle as I spelled llama with one L.
5. That time I was in a wedding: This may have been the first time I realized I wanted to wear three-piece suits, but in a Filipino wedding, men wear barongs. As the ring bearer, there was no way I could don the little tux I had imagined, but instead wear the piece of clothing that left nothing to the imagination. Although I was never made fun of for wearing it, I could still feel the blood rush to my cheeks as I shuffled down the aisle, wondering if everyone was watching the ring or my arms trembling from self-induced embarrassment.
6. That time I was on a puppet team: Yes, I used to shove my hands up foam humans and make them jostle around a stage as pre-recorded voices preached the good word of the Bible as part of my church’s creative youth group. While I had friends who were part of the team and friends who understood that this was a ‘religious extracurricular thing,’ I still could help but feel somewhat sacrilegious as a clarinet-playing team member with glasses pretend to be Mary, holding her infant, while I pretended to be her future crucified son impaled on the cross.
There’s more, but I think I’ve indulged you enough with these little vignettes.
Maybe there’ll be a second installment.