Embarrassing moments aren't the end of the world

I came up with the idea to write a story for The Oakland Press, with school starting up next week, of local residents sharing their most embarrassing school memories.

For me, I remember when attending middle school at St. Joseph Catholic School in Lake Orion, I was late coming outside for my mom to pick me up. Out the window, I could see my mom's car at the curb, waiting for me. So I started running, full speed. And I rammed my face right into a window -- thinking it was an open door. I imagined I resembled a bird who flies right into a clean glass window, trying to get inside a person's house.

Surprisingly, when asking this question on our Facebook page, I got more responses than I expected of people willing to publicly share these traumatizing moments (this will be in the paper this weekend, FYI).

Kara Markusen remembers an incident during her first week of freshmen year at Gabriel Richard Catholic High School in Riverview — which sparked a phone call to her mom at work, saying, “I just had the most embarrassing day of my life.”

“In between classes, when the entire school is out in the halls, I was walking and talking with a guy in my class. I tripped over his foot and went flying down an entire flight of stairs — superman style, headfirst with my arms and legs straight out — through a crowd of people,” Markusen said. “My books went everywhere, my nylons were torn, my legs were bleeding and my skirt had even flipped up. I was mortified. In the cafeteria that day, the senior guys kept giving umpire signals, yelling, ‘She's safe!’”

About 40 years later, Clarkston native Tammie Heazlit still remembers her most embarrassing moment.
“Wetting my pants in front of the entire split third and fourth grade class at Clarkston Elementary because I was too intimidated to ask to go to the bathroom,” she said. “My mom had to bring clean clothes. My lesson — don't eat four pieces of watermelon when I went home for lunch.”

She added, “It's a long time ago, and I think it just demonstrates that, what might seem horrific at the time, with time and weathering, it's better to look back and laugh.”

I think, for many kids, these embarrassing moments feel like the end of the world. What they don't take into perspective is that EVERYONE has gone through this. And, as adults, they've turned out okay and these moments are hardly ever thought about again.

But it's easy to live in the here and now. And, when kids are pointing and laughing, it's hard to think into the future that things will get better and that, someday, it may be something to laugh about.

Sometimes, with this mindset, it's easy to make the rash decision that life isn't worth living at all.

Which just isn't true.

I'm hoping children and teens will read this and find comfort -- to know that they are not alone and to know that they should not let this moment or moments ruin their lives.

After all, we all graduate someday and never have to see these people who made fun of us ever again.

And remember this advice by Oxford Township resident James Hall, "Find the humor in the embarrassment and laugh with them, versus letting them laugh at you.”

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  1. Oh believe me, I have found comfort :)

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