First let me explain, the following story from my past is not something I am telling just to rehash or to relive in any way. The reason I am telling this tale is due to my current new path in life, I have found myself facing new challenges, and with that; new fears and old fears come back into play. As I believe it does for most people.
But these embarrassing and regrettable occurrences from our past can be used as a learning tool. We can choose to learn from them. We can remember the regrets and let them give us the courage to step out into the uncomfortable zone and press on. Which is probably why this particular memory entered my mind.
Thus, I share with you an unpleasant memory and a lesson well learned.
As I sit here on my porch and breathe in the crisp air of the early morning. A memory enters my mind, it is one of those regretful embarrassing moments from my past. A moment I remember all too well.
I remember it and I can feel it. The shame, embarrassment and how disappointed I was at myself to this day. Back in my younger days, I was always one of those active and limber kids. Always running, playing hard and athletic. However, I never really played in any extracurricular sports and that is why this memory is so regretful. I loved gymnastics and could easily do splits, cartwheels, back-bends, walk-overs and more.
So when I heard of the cheer leading tryouts, I thought, I’d give it my best! I gave my all and practiced and practice and tried out. Winning to the next round. I made the squad, but not just on the squad I found myself selected as the Co-Captain of the cheer leading squad.
I couldn’t have been more proud.
I rushed home with my paperwork and couldn’t wait to tell my mother. I went to practice and practiced more after school. I constantly practiced alone, with friends, or my fellow cheerleaders. I practiced, practiced and practiced. Oh, and did I say I practiced?
I felt so ready for the first game. My mother, a great seamstress, worked her magic and made my uniform.
Finally, it came time for the first away game. Now, you need to know I never attended a basketball game before in my life and never considered myself a jock in any way. But I felt and believed I had prepared myself and I was ready.
At last, the time came for our half-time floor show. I remember being so nervous, especially with all the people in the stands looking and listening. My team members selected me to lead the first cheer. So I took a deep breath, prepared myself, and in a very loud voice shouted, “John Smith, ready let’s go.” After the opening line the rest of the squad was suppose to join in, but they didn’t. Instead, a thunderous howl of laughter exploded from behind me. At first, I didn’t understand. Why were they laughing at me? Everyone was hysterically laughing except for me.
In my nervousness, I mistakenly shouted out our “Practice Name” and not the name of my appointed team member. I felt utterly embarrassed and I ran off the court in tears.
Sadly, I never returned to practice. I felt too ashamed to show my face and unfortunately I let that fear, that brief moment of embarrassment sway me to quit the team. At such a young age, ill-equipped to deal with drama and peer pressure I didn’t know how to dust myself off and pick myself back up.
To increase my eternal shame, I quit prior to picture day. Thus in the yearbooks the spot I worked so hard to achieve, which I so proudly hailed depicts my replacement. A moment of embarrassment etched in time for all to see and remember.
Therefore, I implore and beg you don’t let two minutes of shame change your goals. Because in the grand scheme of life, those two minutes of awkward embarrassment and shame will pass as quickly as they began. Don’t allow a minor mistake fill you with regrets you will carry for the rest of your life.
Therefore, remember you are human…we all make mistakes…Dust yourself off and Pick yourself UP!
written by KG Petrone, Author