I’m a big fan of the television sitcom I Love Lucy. Yes, it is old. Yes, it is in black and white, but who cares? The situations two of the main characters, Lucy and Ethel, find themselves in just make me giggle—probably because I can relate! I, too, have had my share of embarrassing life moments and I usually find them hysterical.
I vividly remember attending modeling school around the age of 15 (of course my mother, and probably many mothers for that matter, would send her five-foot-ten-inch, thin, teenaged daughter to modeling classes). Unfortunately, the next great Twiggy or Kate Moss I was not! One day, as a group of us were modeling the latest fashions (think late 1960’s era hot pants and go-go boots…for those of you who are young, pray this look never comes back!), each model was to walk across the stage, make a 360 degree turn, and return from the direction she had come. With the audience staring and the announcer describing my outfit, I walked across the stage, made a lovely 180-degree turn, and walked off the wrong side of the stage straight into a closet! Now, confronted with only two choices (okay, maybe three if you consider dying of embarrassment a choice), I had to decide whether I would stay in the closet and forget the rest of my appearances, or walk back across the stage to the laughter of an auditorium full of people. I chose the latter. Trust me on this, there is no sneaking across a stage unnoticed when hundreds of people are in the audience. So modeling was not my calling, but I still laugh hysterically when I think of this today.
I could go on (and on) with embarrassing moments taken from real life. And if I run out, I’m sure my family would be happy to toss in a few, because don’t think that you can live with me for years and years and not get caught up in an embarrassing moment yourself. No, my family has not been spared. But, here’s the interesting thing, I have no problem laughing at myself. Honestly, I usually get tickled in these situations and start to giggle and make the situation worse. You see, I learned a long time ago (probably sitting in that closet stage left) that I cannot take life too seriously. I love to laugh and smile, even at my own expense… thank goodness.
I find that I’m least happy when I get all caught up in perfectionism. My controlling, serious perfectionist mode is just not nearly as much fun as my I Love Lucy mode. I’m much happier laughing at the silly, crazy things that make up a life. I’ve learned that to get through the tough stuff doesn’t necessarily mean I need to get tougher. Sometimes what works best is to take myself less seriously and look for the humor in the situation. When things don’t go as planned and I feel stressed, I remind myself that—even if I’m not laughing in the moment—I will laugh about the situation later.
My friends and family know how I love to share tales of my own life’s hilarious moments. I’m even happy to share some of my husband’s, although he doesn’t always find this quite as amusing as I do when the laughter is at his expense. He’s more easily embarrassed than I am, so I try to honor this (although it is not always easy when I’m s sitting there giggling). So, here’s to taking myself lightly and continuing to laugh at life’s (or at least my life’s) idiosyncrasies, imperfections, and sitcom-worthy moments.
Ethel and Lucy, I’m sorry we weren’t friends; my husband could probably use some sage advice from Ricky and Fred, or at least some consolation.