Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What I Learned from My Most Embarrassing Moment

I don't really like those get-to-know-you games when they ask you about your most embarrassing moment. Like I really want to share something like that with a bunch of people I'm "getting to know."

Besides, it's a lot of pressure to pick just one humiliating moment and give it the title of Most Embarrassing Moment. Is my most embarrassing moment when I jumped on the back of some strange guy who looked like my then-boyfriend from the back? Or is it when a swear word popped out of my mouth in front of everyone at my wedding brunch? (I plead extreme stress and sleep deprivation in that case.) Or perhaps the most embarrassing moment would be that time I forgot my shirt in high school and had to walk around all day with a coat in the sweltering heat... oh, wait. That one was just a dream. (Thank goodness.)

But today I'm actually going to share one of my top embarrassing moments. For it to make sense, you'll need a little bit of Jaime's Backstory. I was raised by my divorced, single mother in a small town. We were very poor, but I was able to overcome a lot of that through hard work. I love music and dancing, and in high school I was on the school dance team for three years.

Then came college. I spent the first year after high school working full time and taking night classes at a local school to save up enough money for a bigger college. I was accepted as a sophomore to a large university, which also happened to have a dance team. Great! I'd loved my dance team in high school, I'm a hard worker, and I learn quickly, so I decided to try out.

I drove four hours, got lost on campus, and finally found my way to a gym *packed* with skinny, flexible, girls and a horde of spectators. That's when I realized that small town me might be out of my depth. I didn't have the proper dance attire, and once tryouts started it was glaringly (and I mean, glaringly) apparent that I didn't have the proper skills, either. But I had determined to do my very best, and even though I couldn't do 20 pirouettes in row (or even 5), I gritted my teeth, stuck it out and stumbled, tripped, and blushed my way through the entire humiliating experience. Even though no one would have blamed me if I'd quit the try out when it was clear how horrible I was, I didn't.

I. Stayed. And. Did. It.

And I vowed that I would never go after something I wanted as unprepared as I was that day. That's why I put in the time, the work, the blood, sweat, and tears, and the effort into improving myself and my writing every day. That's why I tend to over-train for races. I took one of my Most Embarrassing Moments and turned it into a Learning Moment. So even though it was humiliating, I think I'm better for it.

I suggest you take some time this week to turn some of your own Embarrassing Moments into Learning Moments.

*Writing Tip: Can you incorporate this type of thing into character arcs? You betcha!


Carolyn V. said...

I love that you continued and finished your tryouts! That's so awesome. =)

I think we all have to keep pushing on and going forward in whatever we choose to do. As for the embarrassing moments. There are so many. *shaking head* We'll have to talk.

Elana Johnson said...

What a great story. And I don't find it at all embarrassing. I'm sure it was for you though. Thanks for sharing.

L.T. Elliot said...

I didn't think it was embarrassing either but I'm proud of you for taking something you felt like a weakness and turning it into a strength. Way to rock, Jaime. You're my hero.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

way to be brave!

Yamile said...

That is real courage. Thanks for sharing that experience.

Eric said...

Great post. This is very brave too, putting the story out there. But your determination to turn the situation into something useful is admirable beyond measure. Thanks for sharing.