Saturday, October 07, 2006

little bit of this, pinch of that, whole lotta red

Since Zoli went to a fly fishing competition in Poland this weekend, his mom invited Julia and me to a Tupperware® party today. Just what evey 4 year old wants: to go to a party full of adult women, oohing and ahhing over the latest Ultra Plus silicone technology. Yesterday, after agreeing to attend, Zoli's mom called to ask me how to make lasagne. I started to explain but she cut me off stating, "it will be easier if you just come over early and make it." Okay, so now I'm the un-hired help, I guess that's better than sitting in a room full of non-English speakers trying to piece together broken Hungarian.

Luckily, I am nothing if not great at making lasagne; the secret's in the sauce. *wink* But how to receive compliments?No clue. I usually just bow my head and don this "oh, shucks" grimace while turning 32 shades of embarassed. Which is cool and all, but Jesus-Christ, I am 29 years old; when am I going to grow up and shed the humiliating blush? I look like the freaking tomato sauce. I get that red.

It started when I was in the third grade. We had the worst substitute teacher ever on the same day school pictures came back. Also, my mom had trimmed butchered my bangs. Mr B. held each envelope up, showed the entire class the portrait and made a rude comment. About 9 yr-olds. He got to mine (which were horrible but still!) and said that it was fitting that my hair-cut was as lopsided as my face. An adult to a class of 35 9 yr-olds. To make matters worse, the love of my young life was in the same class and I died.

Around 13, things just got worse. My first "big" piano recital. I was, I dunno, probably playing Moonlight Sonata - which, to this day, I know by heart; I loved it that much - and in the second movement, which is played both staccato and allegro, I goofed. Despite six intense years of lessons, learning how to mask a mess-up (and not cry), I froze. I withdrew my hands from the keyboard as though the entire thing were ablaze, realized my non-masked error, shoved my fingers back onto the keys, and resumed playing. Iwas certain the audience knew I had goofed and I felt the beginnings of shame and embarassment rise from my neck to my cheeks, finally resting in my ears. It was the worst feeling of my life and with it came a self-realization: my dreams of being a pianist were dashed; I would never again play publicly without recoiling in terror everytime I even thought about messing up.

As a teenager, I often succumbed to daily embarassment: If the teacher asked me a direct question, I gave no answer, just red. If a boy spoke to me: oh my gosh, no words, redder. There was no reason not to suffer embarassment, I might get it wrong otherwise. That single tiny, unimportant glitch in my first recital sent me on a downward spiral of dwindling self-esteem. I knew that I knew [enter whatever subject/conversation], but I was afraid my words would betray me.

Somewhere, somehow, I started to realize that I in fact knew what I was talking about and slowly regained my voice. Although, if you pay me a compliment I WILL stutter, blush, kick at the ground, and tell you how much [complimented item] cost.

I'm cool like that.

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