Onstage, seated cross-legged in front of a full audience. I paint on my most charming smile, and begin speaking into the mic. In the midst of the first wave of applause, I realize: my script is missing. The auditorium hushes, and I’m nervously fluttering through my binders. I hear spectators growing restless, shifting from one buttcheek to the other in their seats, and I’m feeling panicked. I look over my shoulder, and am sickened to see that offstage, she’s got my script. Smiling, her face says, “How you like me now?”
I wake up with the same tight stomach.
Mortification is a word that’s followed me closely in my journey through life, like a pathetically faithful three-legged dog with fleas.
I think back to my first teaching job, and the little black nob protruding from the ceiling in every classroom: CCTV.
I knew that classes were recorded, for evaluation purposes… it wasn’t until a couple years in, that I realized everything was being recorded. Whether there was a class or not, the cameras were rolling. I instinctively cringe recalling the things I did while on camera.
I broke down crying at my desk before class.
I shook my booty to reggaeton music.
I bit my nails.
I had private telephone conversations.
I did unladylike things.
Those shining moments were captured, in addition to my horrific first forays into teaching: kids scribbling on the walls, scooting around the classroom, slinging various objects, and stupefied Me in the eye of the pandemonium, pulling my hair out.
I can imagine the wide-eyed bewildered look of whatthef*ck on my supervisors’ faces when they sat down to replay and evaluate my classes. I imagine they learned much more about me than they bargained for.
Now, looking back on that time, I wonder if there wasn’t a shred of pity in their eyes when they spoke to me.
I shudder, and come zooming back to the Present. I could chastise myself for ever being that foolish. But, knowing that Mortification will eventually come back to me, I prefer to laugh at myself. It may not be pleasant, but it’s there to teach me a lesson.