By Melissa Proulx
My life has never been about grace or composure. But this has been one of those things I’ve always been able to somewhat accept, like the weather. But sometimes you can get caught off guard.
The most glaring example of this came the other day in one of my classes. Being a journalism student, we often do the remedial work of correcting grammar and rearranging sentences in order to become experts on the basics. That day proved to be no different, with the projector up and running, and the worksheet displayed on the board.
Now I’m not shy by any means, but I dread speaking in class or being called on to do a problem at the front of the room. Loathe it. Detest it. Wish it was a person so I could buy it a one way ticket out of my life for good.
So you can only imagine the internal response I had when I heard those words: “Melissa, why don’t you go up and do the next one?”
I agreed because I’m not in a position to say no and because I knew that I had been paying attention, had done my work, and knew the answer. But my body still turned to stone and I felt the sweat begin to rise through my pores.
In this particular instance, I had been finishing up my breakfast. Normally I cherish my morning routine of getting up and eating in the romantic sunlight of my kitchen. But after nursing a head cold for the past week, I was still being greedy with sleep and hadn’t left myself enough time.
On today’s menu was a sliced blood orange. I was mid-peel of one of my wedges when my time had come. Rather than putting it down and saving it for later, I decided to commit to my bite, only to drop the whole thing on the floor.
I sighed and began to push my chair back so I could clean up the fallen food and a little bit of my pride. But the metal chair and the rugged carpet did not work in my favor and I ended up tripping over it as I tried to move backward.
“This is my nightmare,” I announced to my audience as my Greek tragedy unfolded.
But no one laughed and I was not given the mercy I had been hoping for. As I walked to the front of the room, my right foot stomped too aggressively due to the fact my foot had fallen asleep. I wasn’t exactly sure how this had happened, but then again I was also sitting cross legged in skinny jeans for the last 45 minutes so what did I expect?
So I sauntered up to the front of the room with my seemingly broken foot and slid into the dark recesses of the chair. I fumbled with the mouse, spread the orange residue on the keys, and ultimately forgetting the English language for a brief second of time.
I sailed through the problem, fixed my mistakes and waltzed back to my seat in a shameful victory. I had survived, though the over dramatic voice in my head whispered, “barely.”
We all have those little moments that kind of put us on edge and some might argue that these only motivate a person to work harder and more efficiently in order to make sure that they get it right.
We all feel awkward sometimes or like our shoe is filled with blood after our foot is fallen asleep. We all have our little embarrassments and they’re usually not as bad as they seemed when looking back on them in retrospect.
But when it’s projected up in front of the entire class like a sentence that needs to be work-shopped, you can’t help but blush a little.
Melissa Proulx is a TNH staff writer. Follow her on Twitter @_mcproulx.