Writing about an embarrassing moment is an interesting concept. Like most people I could have quite a long list if really allowed myself the time to remember. I would prefer to list all the embarrassing moments of friends and family, but that is not the assignment and would only shrink my social circle further. Moments like these that are more distant are easier to expose. Sure it was embarrassing yesterday when I accused my wife of not putting the scissors back in the kitchen, only to find them on my desk where my alter ego had left them. But moments that unlock real insight and growth are usually rooted a bit deeper in our past. Awkward truth that hit us deeply immediately when they happen, are generally only embarrassing when we miss the awkward truth in them. The learning and awkward truth comes later….or never in some cases, which I will refrain from mentioning, again in vain attempt to avoid shrinking my circle of influence.
So I shall go way back in history and expose my awkward truth. No doubt for those of you who have seen pictures of me or met me this will shock you, but I used to consider myself very ugly. Not in the personality sense, that probably wouldn’t shock anyone, but really though I was unpleasant to look at, I don’t really remember when it started. I remember when I was really little and not even thinking how I looked, I was just happy or hungry, ugly was what the duckling was. It was what other people were when they were not nice to others. As I said I don’t remember when it crept into my Psyche but I do remember a seminal moment when I was in 9th grade and I opened my school photo. All I saw was a nose, huge the size of mount Kilimanjaro. And greasy hair, slick and shiny on top, combed over like I was trying to hide a bald spot, finishing the trip by sticking out into thin air in a wild frizzy mess. All of it highlighted by a white polyester shirt with red and blue squares in a random pattern like a Mondrian painting. No smile, I was ruined. I never had been much of a ladies man, courtship for me had been throwing a milk at the girl I liked. Once I made a “Wanted Dead or Alive” poster. At least that got me a smile, the milk was less successful. Anyways after the school photo fiasco I didn’t even bother thinking anyone could be blind enough to consider me, if they did it was clearly either a desperate person or there was so ulterior motive…..
Gradually I got used to myself image and focused on my other problems and the problems of others. I don’t remember the reason it changed, but it was around the time I first made $50, 000. I guess that makes me a true American male. Not sure if others treated me different because of it or if I just started thinking I had real value. It just seems like it happened around then. I do remember the exact moment I realized I was over it. I was writing about myself, or talking about my self image and I said “it seems like my head just swelled up around my nose and made it normal size”. Well I haven’t had time to actually measure the changes in my head to nose ratio, once I retire, but remember thinking I was done with the ugly thing. I am what I am. I understood with that sentence that it was my ego that grew up, not my head. And life has been downhill since then. Don’t let your self fool yourself.