Something that happened to me at work this past week got me to thinking. It wasn’t the most embarrassing thing that has happened in my life, but it was definitely a blow to my ego. After crumpling up a note I no longer needed, I tossed it at my trash. When I realized it hadn’t made it into the basket, I rolled my chair back a bit and leaned over to pick it up. When I had it in my hand, my chair suddenly slid out from under me and I ended up on the floor, flat on my behind. I yelled a profanity and then got myself up off the floor. I wasn’t hurt, there was enough padding down there to soften the fall, but I was really embarrassed. My co-workers, the ones who were still there and lucky enough to witness the incident, were very kind. They seemed genuinely concerned and even offered to help me up. There was a Happy Hour gathering that night and this incident may have been a topic of conversation, and they may have had a good laugh about it, but I don’t care. In years past, I would have hated the thought of others laughing at my expense. In the past, something like this would have really bothered me. I would have been worried about going back to work on Monday for fear of what everyone must be thinking or what someone might say.
There have been far more embarrassing things that have happened in my life and to date, the world hasn’t ended and none of these situations changed my life dramatically. Once when I was in college I got the flu and was severely dehydrated. I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and as I sat there I suddenly felt like the life was draining out of me. The next thing I know I was on the floor, butt up in the air. Fortunately the impact with the floor woke me up and I was able to get myself back to my room. Imagine the horror if someone else had found me that way. My roommate called the RA when she noticed that my face was bleeding and I got an ambulance ride to the ER. As you can imagine, there was a lot of commotion with lights and sirens from the ambulance in the middle of the night. The rest of the week was spent at my parent’s house and when I returned, not a word was mentioned of what I considered to be the “most embarrassing event” of my young life. People may have talked and people may have gawked when it was happening, but in the end it really didn’t affect my life at all.
A few years after college I was interviewing for a part-time job to do some graphic design and layout work for a local advertiser and I felt like the interview went really well. As I went to leave I shook hands with the manager and turned to leave. As I stepped through the doorway, the heel of my shoe got stuck in the threshold and the next thing I knew I was hurling forward out of control. Before I knew it I was on my knees on the landing, four steps down. With torn pantyhose and blood running down my leg I stood up and tried to compose myself. Fighting back tears, I shrugged off assistance and assured the manager that I was ok. I then quickly made my way down the other twenty steps and out the door. Once back in my car, the tears started to flow. I was more concerned with what the manager must have thought of me than the fact that I could have been seriously injured. Looking back, had I not landed on the landing, I may have tumbled down the rest of the steep stairway and not been here to tell this story today. I thought for sure the world was ending and there was no way I was going to get that job. After two weeks of no news, I finally got the call and was offered the job. I don’t know if I was truly the most qualified candidate for the job or if they felt sorry for me after what had happened. I was grateful I was given the opportunity and again life was not hugely impacted.
Sometimes I struggle with what to write about and what I should and shouldn’t share. The fear creeps in and makes me question what others will say or what others will think. I am fairly certain that this fear is what has kept me from pursuing a writing career in the past. I didn’t enjoy falling on my behind in front of my co-workers, but it did get me thinking and then it got me writing. Thinking back on these moments and realizing that they didn’t really affect my life in any significant way has brought me some relief and to the realization that this is my dream and no one else’s opinions will keep me from pursuing it.