Home

Embarrassing Reality

2 Comments

Years ago someone told me that he didn’t get embarrassed by or for another person. His logic was if the person doing or saying whatever he was doing or saying wasn’t embarrassed, then why should he be?

I often think about this philosophy. Sometimes I think it works. . .for example, when your mother has one too many at a wedding reception and grabs your best friend’s husband and proceeds to instruct him on taking care of her, complete with slurred speech. Really no reason to be embarrassed. Shake your head, roll your eyes, and move on.

But what about that uncomfortable feeling you get when your mother treats the waitstaff as inferior, demanding ridiculous service, and leaving a paltry tip. Does the philosophy work here? Or is embarrassment not the right word for this feeling?

I mean, who wouldn’t do whatever she could to get one of those in her direction?

The concept of embarrassment has been much on my mind lately. Perhaps, in part, because I do such silly things in the hopes of being gifted with one of the Peter’s amazing smiles. And one day, I know, I’ll do something and instead of the smile I’ll get “Mom, gah, stop; you’re embarrassing me.” And I wonder how he will learn that response.

But, also, I have been contemplating embarrassment because someone said recently that she was embarrassed by the “estrangement from her son.” And I wonder why embarrassment is her feeling. I’m not judging her emotions. If that’s how she feels, that’s valid. My wonderment is in how she got to that emotion.

I would say that social media highlight reels are to blame for arriving at embarrassment over the messiness of family. But, while it does indeed contribute, the phenomenon existed long before the internet. Consider Norman Rockwell prints with their ideal depictions, and mild humor, of family life. Or sitcoms of years gone by where all problems are resolved in a short time slot and the family unit is preserved. Even within the church the “perfect” family is practiced. We wear our Sunday best, we sit quietly in pews, our children are proper at all times despite having emotions bigger than they are and attention spans equal to their age. Crying babies? No, no. Our babies don’t cry in church. And even if we just had a fight equivalent to WWIII with a family member make no mention of it, give no indication. We’re in church; we are a perfect family.

Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

But the reality is the perfect family is messy. There are different personalities, different beliefs, different emotions–despite living under the same roof for an extended time. I find this reality fascinating–how family members can be so alike yet so different. People clash with each other. And just like babies, adults have emotions that are bigger than they are.

And here’s the not-so-secret-secret. . .it’s in ALL families. What we see on social media, on TV, in church. . .it’s not the full picture. It’s not the reality.

In my experience, because I’ve done it, embarrassment leads to concealment. When we conceal we make it difficult not just for ourselves but for others. Concealment means we fail to seek guidance. We hide pain and hope others only see our highlights. We, perhaps inadvertently, promote the concept of being alone in this particularly situation . .because we don’t share it. Therefore, finally, we fail to be authentic with others and maybe even ourselves.

Maybe that guy was on to something all those years ago. But I’ll revise it a bit. If we spend less time worrying about being embarrassed by the hard work and messiness of being people, we can spend more time being real.

“Yesterday was plain awful”

1 Comment

To quote a song from Annie.

It seemed so in the moment.  The mundane of home ownership and the unexpected expected troubles that pop up threatened to overtake me.

Steven and I discovered a leak in our laundry room the other day.  We were bumfuzzled about where it was coming from.  The washer being our first guess proved to be wrong.  Then it was the hot water heater, but it was bone dry around that.  It rained recently. . .maybe there was a leak? However, there was no evidence in our ceiling or walls of water running down. There is a mysterious pipe that comes out of the floor and goes back into it next to the water heater.  But it looks like the water is coming out of the wall. . . .taking off an access panel we found nothing.  Literally, nothing.  There was nothing behind the access panel.  Well, what about this mysterious pipe?  Indeed, that is where the water is coming from.  It’s misting out of the pipe with occasional spurts.  My brother says it’s a $5 fix.

While searching for the water leak, I happened to also put some things in the freezer and noticed that ice seems to be accumulating on the back.  Uh-oh.  This happened in January.  We have a freezer on bottom fridge.  So, the fridge part is cooled by air coming up from the freezer.  If the freezer doesn’t defrost, then the air doesn’t go up in the fridge, therefore, essentially, making the fridge pointless.  I thought maybe I’d just caught it between cycles and determined to check it again later.  Hours later, still icy.  With more ice.  We had it serviced and fixed with genuine parts by a certified appliance repairman in January.  I think we just have a lemon.

A baby bird was stuck in our chimney.  We’re pretty sure that even though we rescued it from the chimney, it was too young to make it on its own.  The wing feathers were mostly in, but there was still quite a bit of downy.  My mama heart hurts.

And I’m nine months pregnant. . . so, things ache and are swollen.

BUT. . .

GrasshoppercheekyAug17

I mean, look at those cheeks! 

I’m nine months pregnant! As I sit here and type all these woes, Grasshopper is doing somersaults.  It’s an amazing feeling. . .experiencing these evidences of life inside of you.  I’m so incredibly blessed to be able to have this experience.  A little over a year ago my OB/GYN told me he was going to deliver my baby.  It was shortly after our fourth loss and frankly, Steven and I were coming to terms with the idea that a “rainbow” baby wasn’t our story.  That I was going to be advocating for those whose stories go no further than loss.  And I still feel very strongly about that advocacy.  I’m very aware that not all stories get what we’re getting.

Today, I have a picture of the child within me and its totally squishy cheeks and I’m eager to meet it face-to-face. And I wonder if my doctor is a bit prophetic.  We talked about that day at a recent appointment.  He looked at me thoughtfully and said, “Sometimes, I just get that feeling about a patient.”

Also, yesterday, I got my hair cut.  It’s a little thing, but having someone pamper you and style your hair a bit different from the every day can lift your spirits.  Plus, I really like my “beauty shop.” It’s full of energized women who are having a good time.  It’s a happy place.

I thought that might be the highlight of my day, but as I left, a car rolled up to me.  I glanced at the driver and thought, “I think I taught her.” And suddenly, she was waving out the window yelling my name.  Yep, I taught her.  She told me about her life (she has a 14 year old!! How did she get so old and I’ve stayed the same?). She mentioned having some copyrighted stories and looking for an agent. Then she told me thank you. I won’t share all she said in that thank you, but needless to say, it was better than having my hair done.

And to end the day, Steven took my to get some fries and an orange soda. . .my current craving.

So, yesterday was plain good.