A laundry list of things I am currently embarrassed to be embarrassed about:
- When I am in a group of ‘Hijabis’ (headscarf wearers) and I think to myself, ‘Damn, I’m in a group of ‘Hijabis’ – I look like a cluster of people clinging to my identity and not associating with ‘other’ people,’ and I imagine that we appear to be far more visually obtrusive than, say, a group of Dominicans, but less visually obtrusive than a group of non-white teenage boys. And I am embarrassed of ‘asserting’ my visual presence in this way.
- When I put on my fancy watch to fit in at a fancy store and when I purposefully don’t wear my fancy watch so I don’t seem like I’m trying to be fancy and that I see things as ‘fancy’ and generally hesitate to ‘look nice’ because I hate showing off even though I don’t think other people are showing off when they ‘look nice’.
- That I know and like to eat at places called ‘Souplantation’ and that I realized that Souplantation has the word plantation in it which makes me uncomfortable and makes me feel like I’m saying it like ‘SouPLANTATION!’ and then I’m embarrassed that I overanalyze things so much.
- Being confused for a rich Arab from the Emirates.
- Trying to imagine from someone else’s perspective how I would totally never pass for a rich Arab from the Emirates.
- How I perceive and speak about rich Arabs from the Emirates – a particularly arm’s length, purposely dehumanizing, don’t want to be associated with, kind of way. Basically racist, class-based hatred. Then when I get angry when I realize they probably don’t want to be associated with me and all the reasons why – those assholes.
- When I avoid eye contact with a homeless person asking for money because I don’t have change for a $20 or when I am not ‘moved’ to give them money because they did not ‘appeal’ to me as a ‘sympathetic’ figure and that I need to be ‘appealed’ to begin with.
- When I want a Black person to see that I am reading a book by a Black author because I-am-so-great-I-am-such-a-great-person can we talk about Song of Solomon please?
- When everyone around me is unmarried and employed and I’m the weirdo that’s married and unemployed.
- When I see someone physically cleaning up after me even though it’s a completely respectable way to get paid. (That would be the diaspora Pakistani in me. My understanding of the Pakistani-Pakistani that I am not wouldn’t have these discomforts.)
- When I first meet someone, and I stress out about what to ask to continue the conversation, and regretfully turn to the ‘what do you do’ question, even though I’d rather ask if they were also deprived of Mario Kart as a child and if they’ve reflected on its subsequent impact on the course of their future friendships and life decisions, or how being a Nickelodeon vs. Disney kid impacts the way we make our life decisions.
- When I get uncomfortable when people ask me about ‘what I’m doing’, and I immediately or later think about how uncomfortable I got.
- When I kick myself in the foot for not being ‘perfect’ during a conversation, and that I was probably being some ‘kind’ of person or another, and analyzing which ‘kind’ of person that probably was, because there are so many ‘kinds’ of people who I dislike.
- When I am hyper-aware of what a random person might be thinking or wondering during a conversation I am publicly having with someone, especially when I wonder whether I come across as incredibly awkward and shallow (which I have no problem with being but its the thought that someone is actively coming to this conclusion as I speak).
- When I go online and I hate everyone and I realize how good I am at hating everyone.
- When I need to buy one thing at the grocery store and I wonder if I look stupid and should buy more things and I do.
- When there’s another headscarf wearing brown person in the room and I’m like, great, now everyone is going to think we are twins, all alike, taking over the world, and will be comparing our key traits and differences in their minds, which they may not be doing but now I am doing it, and now I am thinking about how many stereotypes we are validating and how many, if any, we are breaking, and I am just constantly aware of my brownness because there is someone who looks like me in the room.
- When I see a brown person and we see each other and I feel ‘out’ and/or ‘caught’.
- When I see my friend being a cat person, and two minutes ago I was being that person with them, but now someone is watching who may or may not be a cat person or one at the same level, and I am embarrassed for my friend.
- When I feel bad that I regularly get more sleep than my friends.
- When people look at me and assume that I am confident about everything and that they may be inaccurately surmising the reasoning behind my actions and decisions. When people feel like a loser around me and then I’m like, ‘Great, do you know how much of a loser that makes me?’
- When I throw myself and all of my life decisions minus today under a bus and drive over it, over and over.
- When I am in an elevator or public restroom among other human beings and feel like I might collapse from anxiety from all of the tension I imagine in my head.
- When I seem like a jerk because I don’t endorse people’s self-deprecating comments, and then I later make self-deprecating comments.
- How I become sort-of embarrassed when I’m speaking urdu in public, whether on the phone or in person.
- When I’m out with my dad and I wonder if old racist people think he’s my oppressive older husband. Fuck you CNN.
- When I watch a movie and imagine every single character criticism to somehow be about me.
- When I avoid doing something, no matter how trivial, small, or insignificant, because it’s new and/or I haven’t done it that way before, so I’ll continue to do it the way I know even when a friend suggests we do things another way. And I’m like, how about we do it this way, and when they insist on asking why, in my head, I answer, ‘Because I’m scared.’
I am not embarrassed of run-on sentences.
5 thoughts on “Laundry List of Current Embarrassments”
#26 was hilarious and something I never thought could happen, but will now think the same every time I go out with my dad- THANKS NIDA.
thank you for writing this. i’d so be friends with you if we were anywhere remotely close
How do we have so many of the same embarrassing thoughts?? Thank you for validating my neurotic, crazy imagination and self-conciousness haha
I have to say a lot of what you described defines me so well. Honestly, glad to know I’m not the only one that has these emotions.
Megan! I love that you identify with this list 💜 you’re definitely not alone