Lately I’ve been on a roll of remembering embarrassing things from the past. I’m a huge believer in exposing one’s shames and humiliations as a way of neutralizing them. The past has such a hold on us all.
1. I was at church when I was maybe six years old and had a killer rash on my balls from using too much Mr. Bubble in my bath. My Mom tried in vain to keep me quiet while I sat there squirming and itching, waiting for the priest to hurry and finish up.
2. I was in an acting class in the early 90s. We were doing a marriage scene and I said “Man and Wife” instead of “Husband and Wife,” and everyone groaned as though I’d just said the most politically incorrect thing in the world. I felt like sliding under the floor.
3. When I was in my early teens, my Mom told me she found “white stains” on my sheets when she was doing the laundry. I had no idea what to say and my face turned beet red. Later I had numerous revenge fantasies.
4. When I was nine, there was a kid up the street known as the “Little Banker.” He had a cigar box full of money – tens and twenties – and he would loan it out at eight percent interest. I didn’t get the concept: I thought you just had to pay the interest and nothing else. It was like, “Hey, he’s giving away free money!” Once I learned how it really worked it somehow seemed less appealing.
5. I grew a sad spindly little pot plant in my bedroom when I was sixteen and my Dad found it and said, “Look, I don’t care if you do that stuff, just don’t bring it in the house.”
6. When I was a kid I loved to dance. I was over at a friends house and some music was on and I said, “Hey, let’s dance!” The other kid’s Mom was there and she gave me a big smile, which I thought meant that I was a source of amusement to her. Suddenly I felt so embarrassed and completely shut down. Needless to say – no dancing. In retrospect, I think I totally mis-read her smile and in that moment grew more inhibited. She was probably just being warm and supportive.
Someone said, “Adults are just big kids who forgot how to play.”