Some things never change. Nor do some emotions. Embarassment is one such. Happiness, a sense of calm, worry, sadness and urgency, I am used to and can quite often handle with experience. But I have a problem with embarrassment. It appears suddenly, catches me unawares and makes me really uncomfortable. I am quite the text book picture of embarrassment. I blush, stammer, make weird gestures, start feeling heat creep up my face and generally wish the earth would open up and swallow me. And, no I have not been able to learn how to handle embarrassment well. It is just there, sitting like a huge elephant in the center of a room and refusing to even budge an inch.
Well, assuming that something as problematic as this would have a ready made answer on google, I looked. And was amazed. Apart from detailed articles on where the origins of the word came, there were scholarly articles on each tiny aspect of this entity. There are different researchers who have divided it into many types based on causes and reactions to different situations. There are hundreds of youtube videos. Wow, I did not know that it was such a big deal. It felt good to know that I was a part of a larger recognized problem, not a freak of nature.
Embarassment –to put it simply, has over the years caused me a lot of embarrassment. Some of the situations which occurred, have been funny in retrospect, but have given me a lot of heartburn during. With age, I should ideally be wiser and calmer, but a few situations still have an uncanny knack of inducing mortification every single time they occur.
- When I am in a chair car of the train, and the person opposite me stares intently and unflinchingly at me when I am trying my best to eat elegantly. And no, staring back does not make it better, nor does the person opposite avert his gaze. Try it!
- When I meet someone I know and suddenly, my memory decides to desert me. The name plays hide and seek in my mind, and generally refuses to oblige the ‘seek’ part. And the person doggedly keeps asking me whether I remember his/ her name in front of a million others. I hem and haw and smile stupidly, all the while making excuses. Oooh.. the memory of this is already making me uncomfortable.
- When I walk into a room filled with loads of people, and someone suddenly calls out my name aloud and beckons me. Everyone’s attention zeroes down on me, and I suddenly feel heat rising up my face.
- When I am trying to fib my way through something, and I realize that half way through, the other person is not buying it!
- When I make a big joke, that …goes flat.
- When I am watching movies with my son, which have been certified to be watched ‘universally’ by our censor board, and suddenly there is a question which is really uncomfortable to answer. Like the time we were watching PK, (which incidentally was supposed to be watched under adult supervision for the child’s comfort —but ended up making the adult squirm) and my son curiously asked me what was happening inside of the dancing cars. My husband was hugely amused and shaking with silent laughter, at my bumbling attempts to answer.
- And the worst, when I am anxious and develop a foot (and a huge foot at that!) in mouth syndrome. Like the time I introduced my friend’s father to a gathering as a public ‘prostitutor’, instead of public ‘prosecutor’! Needless to say I was at the receiving end of extremely cold stares from my friend for the rest of the evening, though I kept apologizing!
Over years I have accepted these incidents as an uncomfortable part of my life, which I have to live with. Like say, a wart. Ugly, occasionally painful, but definitely there.
How about all of you??