Lessons in Humiliation



I’m gonna pull back the curtain a little bit and let you all know that I…am a third-year student at UTM. I know, I know, so old. But I prefer wise, my friends. And yes, you may ask,  “What do you mean by wise, Leah? What are you so wise about?”


Oh, I know, we’ve all been there before. In fact, let’s try a fun exercise: imagine the most embarrassing situation you’ve ever been in. Replay it in your head a few times. A few more. How do you feel? Horrendous? Probably. I sure did once. Still do, on occasion. It’s only human, and we all know it; that even being the Super Cool University Students we are, we still get embarrassed, we still haven’t grown out of those red-face-oh-gosh moments, and that it’s quite possible that we never will.

It’s unfortunate, I know.

Let’s try another exercise.

Imagine you’re walking from the South building to IB, it’s raining, and you have a Booster Juice in your hand. Today, the Booster Juice store on campus had run out of lids and you’re moving pretty fast because you have to get to that class you’re almost late for. Everyone around you is moving so slow in rows of bodies (STOP DOING THIS GUYS) and you finally push inside IB until you…fall right on your face. Drop the Booster Juice. And lift your head up to silence as people watch…some asking if you’re okay, others laughing their heads off.

Can you blame them? Nope – you’d laugh too if it wasn’t you.

But this was me.

And I was wearing a skirt and everyone saw my underwear and I just about buried my head inside a bucket of tar.


Now, this was almost two years ago, a few weeks after I had just started university. I swear, I thought about quitting and moving to New Mexico. But no, I had to move on with my life, and that’s what I’m here to tell you about: moving on from those unbearably embarrassing moments.

I think an important part of university life—AND, more importantly, ADULT LIFE—is the ability to let things go. It’s super tough and we’ve all been in those horrible moments of embarrassing sadness where you just about want to die, but there’s a point where we have to learn to give ourselves a break.

I say this because I’m crazy. Like, after the Booster Juice Fiasco I barely slept that night thinking of all the people spreading that awful story around, whether they did or not. But the thing is, moments like this are crucial to growing up. Sure, we wish they never happened, and sure, they’re the WORST THINGS EVER as they happen, but you can’t avoid them. You just can’t. Being in university and being all grown up does not make us exempt from embarrassment (I’ve learned that the hard way).

But this is one of those Life Lesson moments. I’ve learned to live with the Booster Juice Fiasco. At first, it was by pushing it to the back of my mind, and now, it’s by accepting that it happened, and just sort of making it a big, fat (ugly) joke. Because that’s what it is ya’ll, a joke. It’s embarrassing and kind of sad but, like, what can I do? This is what I mean—I think some of us hope that as we get older and get degrees we can move on and be exempt from these stupid moments, but we’re not. Hell, just last week I almost slipped on the wet floors of The Meeting Place and it was embarrassing—mind you, I didn’t trip, but still.

What I’m saying is there’s a point I hope everyone reaches where, like me, you just learn to push those I’m-dumb-how-did-this-happen moments way, way back. Not forget about them, but instead learn to forgive yourself and your body and your brain for those moments. It’s not our fault that we’re human, and what can we do but chill out and own up to our humanness? We can’t be anymore than that, so we must move on.

Now, think of those embarrassing moment, friends. Replay it like I have; replay it some more. Picture those faces; picture how you felt. Horrible, right?

But what can you do? Think about it.