What Doesn’t Kill You…
Blog – 3-30-16
Have you ever thought you would die of embarrassment? Have you ever wished you could crawl under a rock and disappear? Probably every one of you reading this can remember at least one embarrassing moment that makes you cringe every time you recall it.
My most embarrassing moment to date (if I say “ever” I know I’ll do something really stupid today!) happened in high school. There have been lots more since then, of course, because I’m someone who tends to do really embarrassing things at times, but this one definitely takes the prize for my No. 1 most embarrassing moment.
It all happened in those lovely, hormone-filled days of high school when simply wearing the wrong shirt could make it feel like the end of the world. I played flute in the East High band, and we were called the marching 400. We literally filled the football field from end zone to end zone with our twirlers, flags, etc. Band was a big deal, and we were awesome!
We hosted the annual band contest at East High my junior year, and we were all pumped to get the best ratings possible. We wanted to win this thing! As I mentioned, we were a big band, so we were crammed onto the stage, and I was sitting on the edge of the first riser. We played our first number, and everything was going great. During that song, however, I couldn’t see the conductor very well so I turned my chair ever so slightly in order to see him better.
Did I tell you we were like sardines on the stage? Well, little did I know that my chair was sitting literally at the very edge of the riser, so when I moved “ever so slightly” my chair went right off the riser. I started tumbling through the air and off the stage completely! As if that wasn’t bad enough, when I finally landed, I landed on the chimes! Not only was I a sight to behold as I fell off the stage, my landing was extremely loud!
The conductor rushed over to help me up, and my fragile teenage mind told me to run away and never come back. Oh, the drama! But something deep inside me said, “It’s okay. Hold your head up and get back on that stage and finish the next song. You can do it.”
It was a lesson I had learned earlier in my life when my horse bucked me off. Through huge crocodile tears I told my father that I never wanted to ride that horse again! Seeing that the only thing hurt was my feelings, my father looked me right in the eye and said, “You get back on that horse right now,” and I did. That lesson stuck with me.
I sheepishly made my way back to my seat, and somehow I made it through the next song. I’m not sure I played a single note, but I was there. As I looked around, I saw tears streaming down the faces of my classmates as they were trying to repress their laughter. I made a very important decision right then and there: I chose to laugh with them so they would not be laughing at me. This WAS funny! I wish someone would have videoed it because it was absolutely hilarious. Who falls off a stage into chimes? I could have won some good money on “America’s Funniest Videos” if it would have been captured on film for the world to see.
When we left the stage after our last song, the entire band formed a big semi-circle and applauded me when I came off. I curtsied in response, and we laughed until our sides hurt. Of course, my friends were nice enough to remind me of it frequently during our remaining time in high school, and we truly had a ton of fun with it.
We’ve all heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger.” I lived that lesson out that day because in a way it did make me stronger. No. 1, I set the embarrassment bar pretty high, so nothing else after that seemed so bad. I also tend to check out stages now when I perform, and I have actually averted potential hazards by doing that.
Most importantly, however, was realizing that I could do something really stupid and people would still accept me. I could choose to laugh with them so they weren’t laughing at me. And that made it a whole lot more fun for everyone, including me!
So the next time you do something embarrassing, remind yourself, “Hey, at least I didn’t fall off a stage into chimes!”
Hugs and love,