birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Caring less

 I would like to think I have become less awkward as I have grown older.

It may be I have become a little wiser, but it probably has more to do with caring less about what other people think.

Most of the times I have felt awkward, or embarrassed, or even humiliated have happened because of my expectations. I was brought up with high expectations and absorbed an expectation of my own perfection. My perfectionism came with a serious dose of fear of being rejected.

I learned at an early age to keep myself hidden and protected. It was more difficult to disappoint anyone if nobody knew who I really was.

I worked hard to avoid the possibility of failure.

There came a place in my life where I began to realize what I had done and started working to change it. Where I had been motivated almost solely to exceed expectations, I set out on my journey of exploration and discovery of myself.

It is hard for me to remember feeling humiliated or embarrassed, or even that awkward, since that journey began.

One of the most embarrassing experiences of my life happened when I was in sixth grade. I had told one of my classmates I liked a girl and he chose to reveal that fact while we were eating lunch one day. Yes, she was there, too.

I remember sitting there with my head down and my eyes closed. It felt like the world stopped turning, like time stood still. I do not remember breathing.

I wanted to disappear, or for everyone else to disappear.

I think it was so utterly humiliating because I was convinced nobody would ever like me that way, particularly her. Romantic relationships were more the realm of fantasy than reality for me.