Monday, March 13, 2017

They key to confidence...BE the idiot

This is so embarrassing.

I'm a nitwit. I freely admit it. I have done some of the most embarrassing things imaginable.

When I was in early high school, I went to the beach with my family and a friend and as I was splashing around in the surf, one of my boobs popped out of my swimsuit. And my friend pointed at me and said, "Your boob!" And then she laughed. Everybody saw my boob. Looking back on it, I now wish I hadn't covered up and stomped up the beach to where my family sat, plopped myself down and refused to budge for the rest of the day. I wish I'd flashed the other boob, too, then laughed, and had a good time. But I didn't understand yet.

One time, when I was working at Waldenbooks (I was, ahem, the manager), I was talking with my assistant manager...the store was quiet...and...I farted. Loud. I didn't know what to do. So I did nothing. My eyes glazed over and I just kept talking. Like, maybe she didn't notice. I should have laughed. Then she could have laughed and we could have had a good time. But I was too ashamed.

Once, I was on a date with this guy at a restaurant and we were drinking beer and I burped and beer spilled out of my mouth onto my shirt. I was so embarrassed I ran to the bathroom and tried to clean up and then didn't mention it, as if he hadn't seen it. As if he couldn't see the wet spot on the front of my shirt. I never went out with that guy again. How could I? Nobody else could ever be so crude, except on purpose and I certainly hadn't done it on purpose!

Another time, I was on another date and he was driving. I was sitting next to him and there was a dead something in the road. It looked like he was going to run over it, so I grabbed the steering wheel and made him swerve to...hit it! I made him run over it! And he looked at me like I was a serial killer and said, "I can't believe you did that!" I wish I'd had the nerve to explain to him that I was trying to do the opposite of what I did. But I didn't. I was so ashamed and embarrassed. I didn't know that he was an idiot, too.

Sometimes when I try to talk to people, I stutter. And other times, I'm so nervous I talk really loud and really fast. This one time, I was taking this herbal drug hoping to lose some weight and one of my weight-losing acquaintances found out. She wanted to know more about it and I was so freaked out that I couldn't stop myself from raving like a lunatic. She asked me, "Will it make me antsy?" "Oh, no!" I said, jumping around and shaking. She must have thought it was an amphetamine.

I don't answer the phone and I don't like public speaking because I know that things are going to fly out of my mouth. Random things. Things that I probably shouldn't say.

For instance, I was at a writers and readers festival of sorts once and agreed to be on a "panel" of fantasy writers. I was lucky, because there was another, more popular, panel at the same time, so we had only one person, a woman, at ours. The panel was just me and this guy. And this guy mentioned a friend of his...a well-known to this particular community friend. And his books. Books that I'd read. And I proceeded to tell him and the one woman who'd come to hear us talk what I didn't like about this man's books. I could almost hear myself in my head telling me to shut up. "You're being rude," I said. "In public. You're dissing this guy's friend. A fellow author! In front of him! Stop!" But I didn't stop.

I'm an idiot. Can we just admit it?

And that is why I don't like leaving the house. It's just too stressful to navigate the world knowing that at any moment, idiocy is going to pop out.

Apparently, however, according to this brief video, the key to confidence lies in accepting that we are nitwits and realizing that we are all idiots. Every single one of us.

But this video doesn't go far enough. Don't just accept it. Because the problem doesn't lie in our lack of awareness that we aren't alone. It lies in our unwillingness to BE idiots. We might understand that idiot happens. But we would still choose not to let it happen. (Except for the comedians who really get it.)

So, embrace the idiot. Be the idiot. Rejoice in it.

I am an idiot! And if you want me to speak to you in public, expect great idiotness! Aw, come on. It'll be fun it'll be fun it'll be fun.

Seriously, though, this is an amazing revelation to me. I've always known I was an idiot. I tell myself I'm an idiot nearly every day. And people say not to do that. They say, be nice to yourself. But maybe that's the problem. I keep trying not to be what I am.

I mean it. I'm ready to embrace the idiot inside me and I think you should too. Because you are, you know.

An idiot.

(I mean that in the nicest way possible.)

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