I was thinking on the train ride home the other day how some stories in our lives can seem innocuous or pointless, but can really sum up who we are as people. Here is one that I have always remembered and looked back on with a little head shake of embarrassment and a half smile of, "Yep, that's Val."
I spent my freshman year of college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I was this horribly awkward girl who still hadn't discovered actually doing her hair and makeup or dressing attractively. I was dumped into this college universe after 18 years of small town, self conscious, non-growing years of life and I was not ready. I was tortuously shy and had no idea who I was. Part of me really wishes that girl had stuck it out at SLO and figured out who she really was because I think she could have turned out pretty cool.
Or, she would have started dressing slutty and doing E with the chicks in the dorm next to her so...we'll just leave her alone.
One rainy day, I was walking around campus on the way to or from a class and while descending down a large set of outside stairs, I ate complete and total shit in front of a giant group of people. I fell and I fell hard, right on my ass. Looking back, I'm surprised that my first instinct wasn't to just run off and die of embarrassment. I was already so self conscious and so not able to connect with the other students around me, that you'd assume falling dramatically in front of them would just send me into catatonic embarrassment.
Instead, I started laughing.
I sat there on the ground where I'd landed on my ass and just guffawed at myself and what I'd just done. I looked up after about 30 seconds of laughing to the people standing around me who had just witnessed my tumble, expecting them to be laughing too. Because really, this chick just ate it on some stairs, it's funny. I was obviously not hurt, as I was sitting there laughing at myself and not crying. But those witnesses to my spill were not sitting around looking at me and laughing with me, they were standing there staring at me like I was completely insane.
And maybe I was/am.
But I think that story sums me up pretty damn well.
If you can't laugh at yourself, what can you do, really.