Monday, June 30, 2008

Kimi Gonzales

Yesterday - yes, just yesterday! - I had to run my son up to the church about a mile away. We weren't all ready yet, but he had to be there early. So I ran him up there and was speeding home to finish getting ready and take the family up. Literally speeding. Right past a cop. So there I was pulled over in front of a neighbor's house ten minutes before church starts. "Yes, hello Brother So and So," I wave. "That's right, Sister Such and Such, I'm getting a ticket on this lovely Sabbath morning," I smile. "Good to see you, too, What's-yer-faces," I nod. Neighbor after neighbor passed me on their way up to the church house, waving and smiling.

And, no, I didn't happen to grab my driver's license on the way out the door, thank you very much. Would you? Yeah, probably, but we're not talking about you right now, okay? Then the officer comes back to my window and tells me it's my "very lucky day." "Really?" I say. "It doesn't feel like my lucky day, what with my neighbors driving by and laughing at me." (Yes. Yes, I really did say that.) He doesn't crack even half a smile as he tells me the state wide computer is down and he doesn't want to take the time to hand-write me a ticket without my license, so slow down, stay buckled up (whew! At least I had that going for me!) and grab my wallet next time.

It was especially fun walking in late to church, knowing that lots of people knew exactly why I was late.

It's a DARN good thing I live in the most accepting and non-judgemental neighborhood I've ever known or I might be REALLY embarrassed!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Breaking the Chains of Shame

"What was your most embarrassing moment?" Yeah, right. From this week, you mean? Or of all time? Take your pick. I have many. Too many. So many I could write a whole blog about it.

Wait a I'm on to something! Over the years when asked that question, I never had to think very hard, except to narrow down the list. I could even do categories. Gross; Happened in Public; Happened in Private; Happened in Front of Someone Important; Probably Should Have Kept to Myself; Light Fare; Truly Mortifying; Not To Be Shared In Mixed Company; This Week; Last Week; Week Before That (you get the idea); G Rated; PG Rated; PG-13 Rated (you get the idea).

A long time ago I realized, if I was going to continue to have such regular occurrences of embarrassing moments, (and I knew that I was), well I was just going to have to find some method of coping. Over time I noticed that sharing my experiences with others helped lessen the stigma, and even the embarrassment of the event. It also seemed to make people laugh, even if it was at my expense. I can handle that, especially if it means someone thinks I'm funny! "Ha! Ha! Kimi's funny!" (More like "ridiculous," but at least they're laughing).

While I was working with the Mia Maids for a couple of years, the calling that stole my heart and still has it as of this writing, a routine developed where I would tell the girls my Embarrassing Moment from the week -- and believe you me, there was no short supply! They looked so forward to it that I'd hardly enter the building before they'd be begging for my latest story. I do also have a slight (or maybe giant, but who's measuring?) short-term memory problem, so sometimes, even though I knew I had been embarrassed (or embarrassing, depending on who's telling the story) that week, I sometimes went blank. Never fear! I always had a good standby from days past. Years past -- whatever. The point is, I could always come up with a fresh Moment of Embarrassment for the girls. Soon they were saving their own EMs to share with me. Painful high school Moments of Embarrassment that made me glad to be a boring ol' grown up with no one to impress anymore.

After I was released from YW, but called as Camp Director (or Keemp Director, if you will) I was driving with one of my former Mia Maids to pick up camp supplies and she told me something. She told me, "Remember when we used to tell each other our Embarrassing Moments? Well, sometimes I felt insecure and stupid and it would be so horrible when something embarrassing happened. But after a while, when something happened I would be so excited to have a good story to tell you, I would forget to be embarrassed! It made me feel better about myself." Okay, well, I don't really remember what she said. I shouldn't have used quotes, but it was something like that and it looked better in quotes, so DEAL with it.

Anyway, what she didn't know was that that was my hidden agenda all along. To take the embarrassment out of Embarrassing Moments and make them Awesome Stories That Make People Laugh. I don't know if she knows how much it meant to me to hear her say that. I'd hoped during my years with those awesome young women that I had been able to do something, anything to make their lives a smidge better. Knowing I helped to lessen any of the pain that comes with being a teenager is good for my heart. Maybe reading about my experiences will be good for yours. I mean, at least you'll have someone -- er, something -- to laugh at.