When I was a teenager, I had a HUGE crush. When we finally went on a date, I laid in the grass to look up at the summer stars…and laid my hair in dog poop. My hair! Dog poop! On a DATE! You can imagine my mortification. It was so awful it was almost impossible to believe. I was nearly numb. It’s been decades and I never moved past numbness really, a numbness that covered a horror so acute I couldn’t really let myself feel it. Just as well, I suppose. I didn’t want to feel it.
Now, I have a kind, successful, healthy husband, three successful, healthy kids (they’re not always kind yet, but they’re getting there), work I love, hobbies I love, friends and family I love, a home I (usually) love, and dogs I count on for comfort and company and slobbery, hair-everywhere, can I eat that for you, unconditional love. And in less than a month, depending on the weather, I’ll be getting a new puppy.
Yes, that’s right. More dog poop.
At least it’s almost never in my hair these days.
Life goes on. Time heals. Teenage (or any age) mortification may never entirely disappear, but you can layer over it with good memories and gain some perspective. I could have guessed there might have been poop…it was a dog park after all. But I was young, nervous, dare I say….dumb? And we never talked about it, but can you imagine what my poor date was feeling? I think it might have been better to be me. What do you say when your date lays in dog poop? Uh, need a tissue?
So, even stuff that seems utterly, intensely, horrifyingly tragic might not be, and even if it actually IS, time will still give you some respite. That’s how we’re made. We recover. We go on. We laugh again. We might even laugh about that tragic, mortifying thing someday. Maybe not, but if you let it, the passage of time will soften the horror.
Just get out the shampoo, put on your comfort clothes, have a hot beverage, and try again tomorrow.