childhood

Die of embarrassment or willingly lose the bad memories?

When I was a tween I suffered through embarrassment after embarrassment. Some incidents truly mortifying. As a young girl, we go through very painful events in our lives that just make us cringe. Menstrual onset, pimples, and first bras are some of the most excruciatingly embarrassing moments in our lives. Right off the top of my head I can name ten or so super embarrassing situations, including a camp incident. Till this day I shudder at the thought of attending camp. It was not as nice as Michelle’s experience at band camp on American Pie. 
We have all experienced those mortifying moments. We often note how we will die of embarrassment. And guess what! Dieing of embarrassment can indeed happen, albeit it is an extremely rare occurrence. Supposedly, both who knows these days, a woman literally died of embarrassment in the late 1800s who died after she was caught stealing. Like Jane’s Addiction. Whatever happened to that band? Sadly, in my line of work -that being healthcare- there are people who will die as a result of embarassment. Meaning, they are too embarrassed to get healthcare, get their annual physical or a pap smear. As a result some may progress to a cancer that need not have been. 
But I’ve taken a turn for the serious. My apologies, as I’m usually a bit more facetious.
Recently, Canadian scientists have found a way you erase traumatic memories in mice. While this may be good for treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, could such a technique (if so honed) be used to just start getting rid of all bad or embarrassing memories? I think there was a movie with this plot: “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”. I’ve never watched it. After a while I stopped watching Jim Carrey movies. 
Anyway, would you willingly wipe away those bad memories? I don’t believe I would. Everything is so intertwined. You erase one bad memory do you have to erase others that would be associated with it?  It would be tempting to erase my camp experience but I barely “feel” the shame anymore. If I erased it would I have to erase all my hiking memories that remind me of the camp incident. No, I wouldn’t that at all.  I even recently shared that moment as something to laugh about it. I’m always laughing. And that’s because I have much material from which to pull.  We have to work collectively, I would say, in helping turn sadness, sorrow and shame into things from which we can thrive.
Of course, we are our memories. They are our building blocks and drive us forward. I’m ok dying of embarassment. I can always make a joke and drink a glass of wine as I peruse the memories of my life.

10 replies »

  1. Ugh, you know, sometimes I think I repress my embarassing memories – there are so freaking many! But then I hear an old song or smell a smell and the memories come rushing back. I think in a way we do have the power to ‘forget’ things, or put them out of our minds and get on. It’s a coping mechanism!

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  2. Ive been watching a series called Stichers at the gym. In the episode I watched yesterday, this scientist has built this machine which wipes out the memories which causes us pain. apparently though, as the story line unravels, it turns out its just a big con. doesnt really work.

    which i think is a good thing. our embarrassing moments or recallections of grief and trauma help us grow. like when you are a kid and you learn not to put your hand on the hot stove. what if that memory was erased? we keep making the same mistake.

    we have to learn how to let go of our painful memories, release them to the wind and retrain our minds to imagine all the good and positive things in our lives. hard work sometimes, but worth it. 🙂

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  3. The thing is, those memories help you deal with things in the future. Maybe you get embarrassed when your first period leaks through your pants at school, but it is that exact embarrassment that makes you remember to pack extra pads for the rest.of.your.life! Maybe you won’t go through the exact experience again, but if you wipe away those memories you run the risk of having to go through that exact same thing or something like it again with no knowledge of how to fix it. Those bad memories are our learning points. Without those, we are like babies all over again. I wouldn’t want to lose my embarrassing moments, because I feel like I am better at handling situations for having those moments. The key is to make sure you learn from embarrassing experiences, and in the long run they can help you!

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  4. I don’t think wiping the bad memories away would do anyone any good. We need to grow through our pain and troubles and time heals all…
    As for eternal sunshine, you must watch it. It’s a masterpiece…it’s not like any other Jim Carrey movie, it’s his heat work and man, Kate Winslet is heartbreaking. If you need someone to talk you into watching the movie, consider this https://motionpictureaficionado.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/eternal-sunshine-of-the-spotless-mind-2004-the-world-forgetting-by-the-world-forgot/

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