Wednesday, 25 June 2014

It doesn't matter

I recall walking down Lothian Road in Edinburgh a few years back and going arse over tit. I mean a complete scraped palms, scraped knees sort of tumble. It was icy, I was wearing heels and I was late for work. I was 22 at the time and I was mortified. By the time I had picked myself up my face felt hotter than the scalding coffee that had spilled out all over the pavement. My ankle throbbed but that was nothing compared to the complete shame I felt in front of all the other rush-hour, power-walking pedestrians. I made my way to some steps and paused for a bit to allow all the people who had seen me to get an appropriate head start before I set off again. Tears stung my eyes and I wanted the entire world to just swallow me up whole. I remember I had never felt so embarrassed. 

Thankfully (apart from when I'm drunk) falling is something that happens to me a lot less these days. However the other day I was at work and walking through a room full of people I didn't know. As I went to climb a couple of steps the bottom of my heel caught in the hem of my trousers. I didn't exactly fall but I definitely wobbled. Thankfully a banister and some quick reflexes meant I was able to right myself pretty quickly. I turned around swiftly to see who had seen, sort of smiled bashfully and then continued on my journey back to my desk. As I sat down I realised something. I wasn't embarrassed. Not in the slightest. I wasn't even blushing. And it reminded me of that nosedive I took on that icy Edinburgh day. And I thought - how stupid? How stupid to be so embarrassed over something so silly. To feel your ears burn hotter than the sun and your mascara start to smudge over something so tiny. Because at the end of the day:

It doesn't matter.

Maybe it's an age thing. Maybe it's a priorities thing. Maybe it's a just being too busy being a mummy to sweat the small stuff thing, but I feel like I don't really get embarrassed about things anymore. At least not to the extent that I used to. Saying something stupid, sending drunken texts, admitting your feelings to someone or falling over in front of complete strangers - all things that used to leave me in a state of complete and utter mortification, no longer bother me anymore. So I am not going to pretend that walking out of the toilet with my skirt tucked into my knickers or having a conversation with someone while sporting Mac's latest lippy on my teeth isn't going to be embarrassing. Of course it is. But for someone who can be a teeny bit vain sometimes (I prefer self-conscious), it really doesn't matter. Not in the grand scale of things. And with every new line that appears on my face comes a clarity that I just didn't see before:

 It just doesn't matter.

I guess my recent thinking about this stuff comes from something that happened a few weeks ago. I got drunk and messaged a couple of people from my past that I shouldn't have. I went to bed smug and delighted in myself that I had absolutely not done anything I wouldn't have done sober. I fell asleep with a self indulgent smile on my face and the reassuring knowledge that I would not regret it in the morning. I woke up with a feeling of utter dread, too terrified to look at my phone. One person seemed desperate to see me (not a good idea) and the other desperate to fight with me (also not a good idea). I did what any other mature adult would do and ignored it. I stuck my phone on silent and spent the day alternating between sobbing and binge-eating. A reaction to the depressing next day qualities of alcohol no doubt but a complete over-reaction still the same. And put in context a few days later when you talk to your friend who is trying to keep her shit together at her Dads funeral or your sister-in-law who has just been told she is being made redundant, you kind of realise that it really doesn't matter. You know?

It's started to strike me over the past few weeks how ridiculous we (girls) can be about things like that. If a guy is into you then he will tell you that you have food in your teeth and you will laugh about it and he will still want to see you for that second date. No matter how much you want the earth to swallow you up. If you send a stupid text when you are drunk it's because you wanted to say what you did and I believe you should always say what feels right at the time. If there are some embarrassing sex noises happening with the guy you've only been seeing a few weeks then I wouldn't worry too much about it and just stay naked and enjoy yourself. And the strangers that just saw you walk into that lamppost because you were too busy looking at Twitter on your phone? They don't care. 

I'm starting to believe that everything truly happens for a reason.

It's just that the reason is I'm usually drunk.

P.S. That lamppost thing?

Totally never happened.


char said...

I don't think I've ever been that bothered about things like that. I'm pretty much able to laugh at myself these days as I always used to be the odd one who stuck out at school. I have memories of being laughed at for wearing what I liked on non-uniform days, whilst all of the other kids wore the same stuff as each other, but I didn't allow it to bother me. If I do something silly, what's the point in regretting it - OK so I've made a fool of myself, but usually it's in front of people I don't know and won't likely see again, or if it's in front of friends then they're not going to make fun of you, they're your friends. I don't see the point in getting shy and weird over boys either; if you don't make it clear what you want, how do you expect to ever get it?

Dawn Young said...

Amen to that! X