It was third grade. My class was seated on the carpet in the darkened library watching an episode of "Reading Rainbow." We had just finished eating lunch and were relaxing during the beloved show when it happened. Carrie cut the cheese. I was sitting in the middle of my group of fellow classmates, as one by one they yelled, "Ewww," "Gross" and other things of that nature. Like the parting of the Red Sea, the circle of students scooted away from me, as I continued to sit in the middle like a bullseye target. Putting my head in between my knees, I could hear the "Take a Look, It's In a Book" theme song in the background. I hadn't meant for it to happen, but it did, all the same.
Although that incident happened so many years ago, I can remember it like it were yesterday. I cannot come across one of those old episodes starring LeVar Burton without a slight cringe.
Not meaning to live in pessimism, I can't help but remember my mistakes with a certain clarity over my accomplishments.
I can remember graduating from high school and college, but that one instance where I was sent to the principal's office in elementary school is much more vivid in my mind.
Perhaps it's not all bad; I try extra hard not to make too many repeat offenses, although they do happen. The positives are great and all, but I don't revel in them too much after those experiences are done and over with. "This is what can happen when I buckle down and work hard," or "Not giving up has led me to this place," and on and on. But those mistakes, those harsh realizations, they offer so much in the life lessons category.
Here are just a tiny fraction of the little reminders I have to tell myself daily due to my continued mistakes.
1) If I am ticked off, frustrated, upset or just contemplative - don't ever, ever, ever write about it on Facebook. Dude, this is a problem for me. It's so easy to vent to my cyber world, when I think it's imaginary and a "Dear Diary." Unfortunately for me, it's quite real; and my news will spread like wildfire across the masses.
2) Are you mad at someone? Needing to talk to someone? Call them once or twice and leave a message. I have had anxiety play too big a part in my life, where I have continued to call or contact a person to try and get my point across. The message I'm sending? Carrie is crazy. Insane. Vino does not seem to help the matter either.
3) Mind games - either with myself or someone else. I can dwell on an issue that has happened or compare myself to others like it were no one's business. What a joke. And I will totally pretend not to be mad about something with that cool air of "Yeah, right, believe I'm okay" and flippantly display my emotions in an icy, frigid way. So not cool - and it just causes more problems and mistakes in the long run.
4) Gossip Girl is an awful show, I always say. It has an awful message. But airing the dirty laundry of other or rehashing it with a group of friends or colleagues is so tempting. And how many times have I?been caught being the spreader of such vile? Oh, yuck.
5) Not listening. I am super good at talking about all of my problems and concerns without taking a breath. When someone else wants to talk, there is a large chance that my mind is already drifting to what I'm going to talk about next or off in Neverland with Peter Pan. Deep friendships aren't usually built this way.
6) I can tell many of my good awkward stories due to my lack of preparation. I'm never ready for situations when they happen. Taking a breath and thinking things through is always the way, just not an easy path for yours truly.
7) Lashing out in anger. So many times (no exaggeration) I have said things or did things because I was upset. No. 6 would apply here. Instead of collecting my thoughts and emotions and realizing the situation for what it truly was, I'd jump the gun and unleash the sarcastic beast monster that lives inside. A truly hideous creature.
8) Judgement. It's hard not to think that you are edumacated and smart sometimes. If someone isn't acting in the way you want or agreeing with your ideas - there's a chance that you may smirk and look down your nose. That is me. A lot of the time. Mistakes in the No. 1, 4, 5, 6 and 7 apply here. Man, if I could take back some of my comments or thoughts in those situations, I would.
Mistakes really are learning situations. They do stick out sorely in my mind, for good reason. I'd rather not make too many, but unfortunately, I do. If I can digest the lessons that can be taken from them - perhaps I will be better off in the future (as cheesy as that sounds.) And speaking of cheese, that third-grade situation is one that I have tried my hardest not to repeat. So there you have it, one lesson learned.
"Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes." - Oscar Wilde