By: Carly Allen, IATG ContributorJanuary 19, 2016
“There’s a power in looking silly and not caring that you do.” -Amy Poehler
I had a majorly awkward moment during my sixth grade dance recital. I had to change costumes quickly between numbers, and if you’ve ever been a dancer, you know what a great feat it is to tug on layers of tulle and spandex in 3 minutes and 45 seconds. It’s not easy. My whole group was lined up and ready to go, while I yanked at my sweaty, twisted straps in a panic.
There was a brief sense of calm as I took my place onstage; however, it completely vanished as I looked down to see that my entire costume was on backwards! The crisscrossed elastic straps had me in a chokehold, and the backwards leotard gave me an unflattering wedgie. My heart raced as I finished the rest of the dance entirely mortified. I retreated backstage with my tail between my legs as soon as the music ended, and I had lost my momentum for the rest of the show.
Everyone has awkward moments, and they only seem to worsen when we approach adolescence. Suddenly, there is so much to be embarrassed about! It feels like your every action is under scrutiny. Every social blunder and embarrassing situation feels like it is the absolute end of the world.
As women, we are conditioned to be ashamed of a lot of things, and this can really take a toll on our confidence. I’ve realized being able to laugh at myself and not care about what other people think is a major source of empowerment.
If I had just laughed off the Backwards Costume Incident of 2004, I would have been able to enjoy the rest of my recital, and my ego wouldn’t have taken such a hit!
Thankfully, I have since grown out of this socially cautious adolescent mindset, and I embrace every embarrassing moment as an opportunity for humor. I am kind of a magnet for awkward situations, so if I didn’t learn to laugh at myself, I would be absolutely miserable.
I know my biggest turning point happened during my freshman year of college when I was faced with a truly awkward situation. After a late night of studying and using ANYTHING on my desk as a bookmark, I returned some books to the library book drop. I received a call later that day from a very uncomfortable man telling me that he found a pack of birth control pills in the book drop with my name on them. I was confused. He had to be wrong. How could my birth control pills end up in the book drop? (Did you figure it out yet? Because it took me awhile.)
I was faced with a choice when I went to the library to pick up my birth control pills: I could let this situation upset me and ruin my day, or I could bounce in with a smile on my face, because what happened was actually pretty funny and ridiculous. It felt a lot better to laugh, so I simply chose the latter.
Why is it so hard to laugh at your own mistakes or mishaps? What's one thing you can do to take yourself less seriously? Got an embarrassing or awkward moment you survived by laughing it off? Share it with your besties next time you're hanging out.
Carly has a BS in English Literature from The College at Brockport. She interns at a literacy center in New York State and can often be found under a pile of books and various writing projects. She loves traveling, Netflix, dance parties, and trying new foods. Her pride and joy is a chubby guinea pig named Charlie. You can check out her personal blog at thecommonbrightgirl.wordpress.com
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