Monday, February 3, 2014

embarrassment: get used to it

Within five minutes of starting my grand solo Africa adventure, I managed to completely humiliate myself, before I'd even gotten past customs at the Albany airport. Honestly, it was the perfect start to the trip though.
So I was of course really nervous about keeping my passport and tickets safe, and decided to lace the strap of my little passport bag under my shirt, “because,” I thought “no one will be able to get to it there.” I should have thought of the fact that “no one” included me. But of course I didn’t until 3 minutes into my adventure when the lady in customs said “I’ll need to see that, dear” and I realized that “that” was my passport bag, securely tucked away from all access under my shirt. I tried at first to switch the strap over my head and out through my shirt sleeve, trying desperately to be both quick and inconspicuous while my arms flailed around under my shirt. But that of course just made everything worse while the bag-strap got hopelessly tangled with my bra strap. Finally I sighed, and, right in the middle of the security line, took my shirt off.
Thank God I’d listened to the advice to layer while flying, and had a tank top on underneath (yeah, that mental image was getting too vivid). Tank top or no, I was still sufficiently flustered as I handed her my passport and they did the magic electronic scan of my body. After a few moments, she handed back my passport and reminded me gently “you can put your shirt back on.”
Oh, yeah.
I was pretty embarrassed, but honestly mostly just completely amused. I mean, can you see me? I can see me. It was like I was a spectator to my own…well, spectacle, and despite embarrassment I could recognize that it was freaking hilarious. In fact, I was rather glad that my parents, who’d stayed to wave to me one last time when I was through the customs barrier, had witnessed the whole thing.
Somehow it made me so much less nervous about the upcoming international flights, the next four months of living in a culture and speaking a language I am unfamiliar with. All of these unknowns that I have no experience with…of course I am going to royally and spectacularly fudge things up, frequently. It will be embarrassing. It will be hysterical. But making mistakes means you are doing something deeply and truly right, because you are doing something new, something challenging, something that will grow you.
The key is the ability to watch your own mistakes and laugh and love it.

 It's a skill I will be needing often. 

1 comment:

  1. Quintessential Anna, right there. Hilarious, adorkable and more than a little profound. :)