Lauren Chaplin – Enjoy embarrassment
LAUREN CHAPLIN leads us to liberation through embarrassment. Poo, periods and oopsy-daisies are to be embraced.
Embarrassment is a strange thing.
It’s something I’m sure a lot of you felt last night as you embarked on the most romantic night of the year, RAG Blind Date. Your hopes were high when you bought your form – perhaps your respective other would turn out to be an Eddie Redmayne lookalike, with a passion for poetry, travel, and wild sex followed by tender cuddles.
In reality, however, your conversation entailed a twenty minute debate about why chocolate raisins in the St Andrew’s Street Sainsbury’s are three pence more expensive than at the Sidney Street store, and you found yourself mumbling excuses, claiming your best friend’s mum had just died, to escape (I have a friend who actually used this excuse, and I’m still undecided as to whether it was reprehensible or pure genius).
(For those who, like myself, are actually very concerned about the price inequality of the confectionary/dried fruit market, please sign my petition herel)
People are prone to embarrassment all the time – when they forget someone’s name, when they fall off their bike as their crush walks past, when they fart in a supervision and have no one to blame it on. Embarrassment, though, is quite unhealthy – it leads people to feel shame about things which really, you shouldn’t be ashamed of. We’re all human, we all fart, and everyone fucks up sometimes.
If you accidentally kill a small puppy, or cheat on your finals, then yes, a dose of shame is necessary. When it comes to those small, beautifully human, slightly grotesque or awkward things which happen to all of us, though, embarrassment is just unhealthy. It makes you feel awkward, shy, and uncomfortable, things which ideally, no one should have to feel.
I’ve never been one to embarrass easily. My dad made sure of that. You know the game your parents play with you when you’re little, holding your hands and swinging you up as you walk? A game commonly known as ‘1, 2, 3, upsy-daisy!’ (I use the term ‘commonly’ very very loosely). Well, my dad insisted on playing it until I was of an age whereupon having your parents swing you around the streets is no longer socially acceptable.
Yet when I squirmed and protested and said I was too old for Oopsy-daisy (even though I secretly thought it was the greatest thing ever) my dad always reminded me of one thing. If something makes you laugh, if it makes you happy, then you should never be embarrassed by it. You shouldn’t live your life in constant fear of what other people think about you, because, at the end of the day, you’re the one who’s going to lose out. The people that mind don’t matter, and the people that matter don’t mind.
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A sweet little song about the people that matter and the people that mind
So don’t feel as though you have to run and hide next time you stack it on the way to lectures. Don’t burn scarlet with shame when the Cindies album is uploaded. Most importantly, don’t feel as though you can’t talk about poo and wee and periods and sex and all those taboos we often feel too nervous to bring up. If I’m being honest, some of the best conversations of my life have been about poo. Abandon embarrassment and you’ll feel immediately liberated. It’s the Robben Island of emotions, although probably not quite as bad and with fewer guards.
Choose self-confidence, not self-consciousness and suddenly, life will seem that little bit easier.