When It’s Embarrassing

What is embarrassing for you doesn’t ever seem that bad to other people.

But the feeling is real. The burn that starts in the stomach and shoots towards the face. The instinct to turn away, to curl up over your center. RUN. Tear your hair. Writhe. It all has so much power even months after the fact. WHY. did it happen like that?

There was a moment for me that I need to share now, a moment I couldn’t look at in the face and still have a hard time reliving. And I do get to relive it because it was caught on film.

Last April, during a speech and debate tournament with my kids, the American teachers hosted a performance. The Bulgarian students regularly competed in English; this time, the American teachers would perform in Bulgarian!

My speaking was still super rough so I chose to dance instead. I asked my teacher, Tanya, to teach me a special dance for the occasion. I had practiced, watched videos, repeated the steps in class, even practiced with my hands in the bus on the drive to the tournament.

When it was time to perform, one of my students introduced me. I got up there in a small space in front of 200 Bulgarian high school students.

And a minute in I had a total mind blank.




I had nothing.

And it was one of the lowest moments of Bulgaria. I cried on the phone to Robbie later that night, hours after the fact.

I know my reaction made no sense to anyone around me. It didn’t make sense to me. But it was a deep humiliation that I had a hard time facing. I think it was because I had given a lot the previous ten months. I wanted to dance a really good horo to say Thank you and I learned from you and I did a really good job here. (Maybe that last one was primary)

There it was. The final say in how I did: A Brain Fart.

It’s still embarrassing for me now. The first time I watched the video, I shared it with my boyfriend and roommate. I took a shot of tequila to calm myself down. But still ran out of the room mid dance.

I know I’m overreacting. But sometimes, it’s just a personal, private humiliation that you can’t explain.

Recently, a student shared it on Facebook. And I’m facing it all over again. Was I a good teacher? Did I try hard enough to understand where I lived? Did I honor Bulgaria? Did they like me?

 I’m going to share it. Give you the evidence of the fact of some of my worst head trash. Welcome you to my low moment. Because it’s survivable. It’s good. And it wasn’t “that bad”. And failing is going to be okay.

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