Text by Kitchie Ohh, Copyright 2023
Well, Thats Embarrassing
Several years ago, I was spending some quality time with one of my sisters, I have three, but this one’s my favorite. No, it’s not a secret. Our day brought us to the local home improvement store, specifically the outdoor landscaping section. The carts at this store are not the typical shopping cart; they’re open sided, low, and often hard to steer. As we usually do while out shopping, my sister and I wandered away from one another as things caught our respective eyes. Also, as we often do when this happens, we continue talking to one another and suddenly burst out with something like “oooh, come look at this!” to summon the other back. And that’s exactly what happened this day. But remember that shopping cart? As I turned to head back in her direction,I walked directly into the shopping cart whose low profile was completely out of my line of vision. The abrupt stop, and pain, in my lower shin caused a literal knee-jerk reaction and a little hop step away. Wouldn’t you know it? That hard to maneuver thing had turned at the bump from my first step and was slowly rolling in a bit of an arc toward me. I noticed a split second too late. My foot coming down from that upward knee-jerk, landed directly on the bed of the cart and my brain said “nope,” followed by another quick knee-jerk, except this time, having the cart under my foot, I was launched backward. I twirled and flailed like the most uncoordinated ballerina in the world until I finally lost the fight against gravity. Somehow I managed to twist in mid-air to prevent a face first meeting with the ground. But wait! I did not hit the hard concrete floor. No, sir. The universe, apparently, needed more drama. When I finally stopped the panic, I began to laugh hysterically, splayed out in an extra large potted plant, ass in the dirt.
Why share that story? Well, despite my laughing about it, there was a part of me that was so incredibly embarrassed not only to have tripped over something so large that I failed to see, but to have then stumbled and ungracefully crushed a tropical plant with my rear end in public! But hey we all do stupid stuff. We’re human. Sometimes, like this case, it’s completely accidental. We don’t intentionally screw up, but we still find ourselves dealing with the consequence, physically and emotionally.
Falling spectacularly in Home Depot didn’t do any irreparable damage. My bruises healed. I can still peruse every aisle including the garden center without panic. This, of course, was an extreme physical example. But it still raises a question: why do we let other embarrassments that we experience alter us? Worse yet, why do we let the CHANCE of embarrassment do so?
Embarrassment is an emotional reaction. Self-consciousness, shame, awkwardness, they can all be really big feelings – and scary, which is why we avoid them. Can we, though? Should we? A resounding no to both of those questions.
As long as there are people and we worry, at all, what any of them think there’s a chance for embarrassment; it’s unavoidable. That’s the main factor in embarrassment: people. What they see or hear and wondering how they’ll react can be terrifying. Still, we often do try to avoid this unavoidable thing. We are extra careful, don’t speak up or speak out, don’t draw attention, water ourselves down for fear of being too spicy for someone else’s palate. And when a situation arises anyway, we beat ourselves up for it. Extra if our plans to avoid it in the first place failed. If you’ve read the first few posts I’ve written here, you know I’m speaking from experience. Years of constant bullying left me with a coping mechanism of avoidance and to-the-core embarrassment about everything about myself. I know I’m not alone. And I hope I’m not alone in having (mostly) overcome it.
In no way did I wake up one day completely unselfconscious, without a single care about what others thought of me, my interests, appearance, what I said, how I said it, the decisions I made, my life in general. No. I wake up every day and make choices. Control the things I can. Be forgiving when things go awry. Admit my lack of perfection. Accept that even if everything I am, do, and say are perfect, someone will feel differently. When I find myself holding back or shrinking myself down to avoid that self-conscious feeling of embarrassment, I ask myself why is this better? Why will not expressing an idea at the conference table be better than expressing it? It could solve a problem, even if someone else laughs. Why will watching everyone else dance to your favorite song be better than joining them? It brings you just as much joy as them.
Most times, the temporary feelings of being uncomfortable or embarrassed, by far, outweigh whatever avoiding them might take when you get past them. Then having gone through them, we also learn something. Which is the reason, I feel, we shouldn’t plan our hours, days, whole lives around avoiding uncomfortable feelings. The best way is through, right? The lesson could be something about yourself that you didn’t realize before. It could be how to do something, correctly, that you had embarrassingly been doing wrong. It might be as simple as completely enjoying yourself in the moment. And, sometimes, it could be always remember to look out for shopping carts at Home Depot.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kitchie Ohh is a full-time professional fundraiser who has worked with a number of health and human services nonprofits in the Philadelphia area over the last 20 years. She found her passion for modeling after a pinup-style photoshoot in 2013. Since then, she has worked with many talented photographers, stylists, hair and makeup artists in a variety of styles. She has been featured in- and on the covers of – multiple print and digital publications. Over the years, she has branched out from pinup studio modeling to serve as a figure model for live sketching, walked a runway, and was part of two campaigns for Philadelphia designer K. Vaughn.
In addition to her philanthropy-focused career, she has volunteered with art, historical, and community organizations, and even the events team of a local brewery for a while, pre-pandemic.
You’re just as likely to find her whipping up something deliciously plant-based in her kitchen or knitting a sweater as you are to find her on a photography set. Her motto is “be both.” The model and the homemaker, sultry and sweet, serious and silly. All the things, all at once.
To access additional articles by Miss Kitchie Ohh, link here: https://tonyward.com/kitchie-ohh-no-matter-whats-on-the-menu/