Do you ever lay awake at night and remember everything embarrassing you’ve ever done? If not, please read no further for you will not understand. If you have never relived an embarrassing moment with omnipotent recollection, promptly enroll in a self-help class as an instructor and teach the rest of the world your secret for perfect confidence. Regret and shame are as much a part of humanity as breathing and eating, a healthy mind is incomplete without it. We all have varying degrees of remembrance, some have the uncanny ability to be able to shrug it off and move on; to not only forgive themselves of an embarrassing act but also to forget it. They black it out like a traumatizing moment in their childhood.
Others, like myself, are not so lucky. Time has been kind and has given me the rationale to move on from most of my embarrassing moments, but my brain is as much a scumbag as it is imaginative. When it comes to remembering important events and dates (like due dates on homework, doctors appointment or that pesky thing called ‘rent’), my brain has the liking to the memory of a goldfish. Yet when an embarrassing moment transpires, when I say or so something that makes me feel a full body cringe, the potential of remembrance is limitless.
At times, it feels like my brain catalogues my life with a series of embarrassing moments. Whether it be loudly passing gas in the 1st grade, tripping and falling in front of my crush in the 6th or that stupid joke I made in the 11th, my brain has an unprecedented ability to remember every intricate detail.
At times it seems super human, the only thing missing is the nuclear accident or cosmic-radioactive-solar rays that grant me super human powers. My only hope is that some great menace to mankind will have an aversion to cringe-worthy embarrassing stories. That his/her kryptonite will come in the form of stories so embarrassing your heart hurts. If that happens, then I feel I’ll finally have some use of this useless regret. Society will hand me a microphone and I’ll recount that time I threw up over the edge of a Ferris wheel. The great evil will shrivel and die beneath the smothering awkwardness of my stories.
Until then, a war wages in my conscious. The rational part of me says to move on, to understand that I am human and humans have an unequalled ability to make mistakes. Mankind inflicts more pain upon themselves than any other species on the planet.
The emotional part says, “Holy shit, I can’t believe you did that.” Like a dungeon’s goaler, my mind tortures me. “Remember when you did that? Here, let me replay the entire series of events. Ok, this time in slow motion. Ok, now with sound, oh yes and here it is from the point of view of another person. Isn’t this embarrassing?”
I’m amazed at how self-destructive the mind can be. How self-loathing and self-deprecating it is, especially amidst the confidence and contentedness one can feel. All of us have moments and times in our lives we’d like to forget. There are things we have said and done in our past that make us shake our head and want to climb under a rock.
In my case, most of it useless regret. It’s simply an embarrassing moment that shows that I am human. Instead of regretful remembrance I should revel in the very thing that means I am normal. No one moves through life without an embarrassing moment or two or 20,000. Who am I to think that my life and my moments are so momentous that others place importance on them?