I think it’s fair to assume that nearly every person on this planet (autistic and non-autistic) experiences some embarrassing, humiliating moments every once in a while. Since human beings are never perfect or flawless, we all have to deal with being in a really discomfiting situation at least a couple of times in our lives.
Naturally, people with Asperger Syndrome such as myself often experience more than our fair share of humiliating moments, given our difficulties with socializing and our repetitive, “weird” behavior. I believe that a huge chunk of our most embarrassing moments occurs during childhood, when our social interaction skills and communication abilities are usually at their worst. If you’ve seen some of my previous posts on this blog, you’ll know that I am definitely no exception; many of my most humiliating experiences happened when I was a child (particularly between the ages of 8 and 14).
If I were to choose one specific moment that I felt was the most embarrassing of them all, it would have to be Pajama Day from when I was in Second Grade.
I think some of you might (vaguely) remember a Pajama Day when you were in elementary school. It’s a day when you the school allows you to come to class in your pajamas. Sounds pretty fun, right?
Well apparently, back in 1999 (I think), at least 95% of the kids in my school thought the idea was lame and decided to wear normal clothes instead. Unfortunately, I was one of the very few kids who thought it might be cool to sport our PJs to class. In fact, I can only remember one other student wearing pajamas to school that day.
The PJs I was wearing were Toy Story 2-themed (the film had come out earlier that year), and to be fair, I don’t think they looked embarrassing or silly upon retrospect. However, that didn’t stop much of 2nd grade class, all of whom were dressed in normal attire, from pointing and giggling at me. It didn’t take long to realize that everyone else decided against celebrating Pajama Day and thought that I was being ridiculous for wearing my PJs to school. One kid that I really hated back then made fun of the fact that I was wearing Toy Story-themed PJs, saying that stuff like that “was for babies” (yeah, he apparently thought it was uncool that I enjoyed one of the best animated films ever made).
Needless to say, I felt humiliated and just wanted to disappear right then and there. I think my face must have been as red as a tomato, and I must have been fighting super hard not to cry. Unable to deal with the embarrassment, I convinced the teacher to excuse me so that I could go to the nurse’s office. Fortunately, the nurse was nice enough to give me some extra clothing that belonged to other students that I got to wear for the rest of the day.
I was still somewhat embarrassed throughout the rest of the day, and had to deal with teasing from a couple of kids (especially from that one kid I mentioned earlier). Nonetheless, I was able to mostly survive the humiliation of being the only kid in class wearing his pajamas on Pajama Day. More importantly, though, I learned that day to never celebrate school “holidays” where you wear something weird or special. It may or may not have also played a part in why I haven’t worn pajamas to bed in a long, long, long time.
On another positive note, I don’t think I’ve experienced another moment where I’ve felt as humiliated as I did back then. Oh, I’ve certainly had more than a couple of embarrassing and shameful moments in my life afterward (having Asperger Syndrome certainly didn’t help in that regard), but none that made me feel as bad as I did back then. I suppose that’s one good thing I can say about the rest of my childhood and my life up to now. Hopefully I’ll be able to maintain this trend and avoid instances where I feel so humiliated that I want to disappear and die.
I apologize to those who were hoping to see something more related to Asperger Syndrome in this blog post. I simply really wanted to share this childhood memory of mine as it’s an experience that I’ll won’t forget anytime soon and that left an impressionable impact on my childhood as a whole. Hopefully some of you out there can relate to experiences like this one and can now back on them and say, “Yeah, that was seriously embarrassing, but I’m glad I remember them because, as bad as they were, they’re still a sort of important part of my life.”