Embarrassment

Nothing plants a memory more firmly in your head than a little embarrassment. Who doesn’t like a little shame or public humiliation in their life?

It was my junior year of college and things weren’t going well. I still hadn’t learned the trick on how to force yourself to go to class. There was something almost exciting about standing up and walking out of class early and having no one try to stop you. I loved it a little too much and think I began leaving class just to see if people noticed.

I grabbed my red Ralph Lauren jacket, my notebook, wallet and keys, and headed out my apartment door. I quickly jumped down the two steps leading to the parking lot where my baby, a green two door Honda Civic, was waiting. My car peeled out as I headed towards UT campus with Kanye’s High School Drop Out blaring in the wind. Knoxville flashed by me as I sped towards the part of campus where my history class was being held.

Finding parking was impossible back in 2003 and it took awhile to find somewhere my baby could wait while I went to give my oral report on Roman civilizations. I was ready and had been up all night preparing. Actually that was a lie, I was up all night… but I recall not much time was used for preparing and more time was spent doing other things.

I grew nervous thinking about giving that report in front of actual people. It also occurred to me that I had only been to class a few times and most of them would probably be wondering who the hell I was.

I did what you do anytime you grow nervous in college, even if it is 10 am before class…

I pulled out my trusty double barrel flask and emptied both reserves into my mouth. Instantly I started to feel really good about the speech and headed towards my class with my notes.

 

UTK is a large campus and my car was really far from the class. By the time I got to the classroom the whisky had worn off totally and I was starting to panic a little. I have a huge phobia of speaking in front of large people and having those people judge me. It is particularly more difficult when those people are supposed to be judging you, like for a grade for class, and you are now positive you don’t remember actually forming out a plan for what you will say on the… which Empire again?

As my foot crossed through the door into a packed classroom, holy shit how many people are in this class and where do I sit, I was positive this was about to be one of the worst experiences in my life. I knew a ton about the Roman Empire, but without a plan I was a sailboat with no wind.

You know how sometimes it feels like the world knows when you are down and still she decides to plant just one more foot into your rear for good measure?

“Jason Cushman you are first to present today… is Jason Cushman here?” a voice seemed to boom from nowhere.

Fuck me… I thought as I headed before all the waiting eyes that I was sure were wondering who I was.

Jason Cushman… who is this guy looks darted towards me as I made my way down the suddenly ridiculously long aisle to the front podium. I set my notes down and cleared my throat as I looked over the many faces in front of me.

“The Roman Empire was a great empire that had an intricate road system…” I began nervously.

I stopped.

I couldn’t think of anything else to say…

I had forgotten English.

The eyes in front of me turned from intrigued, to puzzled… to half amused and half baffled.

“… Thank You.” I suddenly said and then quickly walked back down the aisle to my seat and sat down. I pretended like everyone didn’t exist and what I had just done was perfectly normal even though I felt every eye in the room on me thinking what the fuck just happened?

I starred at my desk for a total of 56 and a half minutes until the class was over. I didn’t look at anyone once and waited for everyone to leave first. I was mortified, but I also was suddenly panicked about the sure F I had just received for a grade on my presentation.

I made my way to the front of the class to talk to the professor and I decided I deserved one time in life where I get to pretend to be totally foreign. I mean… I am adopted, I was technically born in Korea.

I lied and told him my English wasn’t very good and asked him if I could write a paper instead of giving an oral presentation. I’ll admit I may have acted a little and exaggerated my speech.

Long story short – he let me write a paper and I got an A. I suffered through some major embarrassment, but in the end lying helped me succeed.

And that’s the moral of this story today.

Jason C. Cushman

-Opinionated Man

@smokendust

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Blogging

I don’t tie myself to any policy on post size. Most of what I post are bite size pieces of me. I love the freedom of being able to post whatever type of content I want on WordPress and restrictions on other sites frustrate me. That is probably why I only use WordPress as my primary platform for now.

I see you all sharing sides of yourself you may not share with the world. The courage to show the sides of you that you might not always be proud of.

Do we fear the spoken word more than the written?

Write and find out.

I do daily. To push ourselves and find ourselves at the same time. I put current and past thoughts to rest with the pressing of a key. It helps me to know that I’ve finally posted about that and can move on.

I tuck those thoughts away in categories only I can save. And each day I write another part of me that becomes this blog.

-OM

@smokendust

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My Journey: Minnesota to Nevada

WOW what a journey! I thought I’d swing back around and share this one. Worth a read!
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Hunida's Blog

I moved to Las Vegas, Nevada just 4 months after I turned 21 years old. I’ve always known that I wanted to leave Minnesota. I just had no idea where to. I looked at apartment prices in a ton of different states.

For my 21st birthday, boyfriend and I went on a week long vacation to parts of Cali and to Las Vegas with a majority of our time being spent in Las Vegas.

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We fell in love with this city. One drunken night on The Strip, boyfriend said that we should move there. I was so excited that he finally had a suggestion to move somewhere. I kept telling him that I wanted to move out of state but he never seemed down for it. I was starting to believe that he wanted to stay in Minnesota.

He still says he loves and misses MN all the time but…

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A bald life

Hahaha, well done. 🙂 -OM
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t r e f o l o g y

A barber with no hair

is always suspect

but only he 

walks the line 

between the two worlds

 

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Honor Society

Twelfth grade was going ok. I was busy with college applications, I had a girlfriend at White Station, and we were having a winning soccer season! Everything was great… except for one thing.

Art class.

I walked into the art room and quickly found my way to my desk. The art room tables were situated in a circle that filled the entire room and it afforded us the opportunity to talk and observe each other’s work. Normally this would be a fun and stimulating atmosphere to be a part of. Normally.

Hey Chink,” a voice from my left side slid in to interrupt my peaceful thoughts. I knew the voice all too well. This same asshat had been tormenting me since the beginning of the school year and was determined to get under my skin. You know how adults love to claim that “if you just ignore it, it will stop?” That’s bullshit. It never stops, particularly when you are an Asian going to an 85% black school in Memphis Tennessee. From my experience in life, you’d better buckle up because it is going to be a bumpy 13 years.

“Why do Asians wear sunglasses? Aren’t your eyes tight enough to act like natural shades? Damn you’re ugly.”

“Why the fuck are you checking me out for? Isn’t your little friend there cute enough for you, dickhead?” I snapped back finally losing my patience and cool.

“Ohhhhhh watch out! The little chink is mad!” He and his friend began chanting.

As I got up to deal with my daily nemesis, the fire alarm suddenly started going off and put a temporary end to our squabble. It was only temporary and as soon as we got outside it began again. It escalated.

By the time the fire drill had ended we were both angry enough to kill one another. We continued to verbally spar as we walked back in, I’m no bitch and gave as good as I got. But I was also alone, the only Asian fighting a racial war.

As we walked back into the art room I barely saw the fist that was headed straight for me. My world exploded and I saw Chinese fireworks before my eye.

This motherfucker just hit me! I thought to myself as my body reacted on its own. I felt my own fist wind back and I strike out blindly where his nose should have been. I felt his face squish with a satisfying connection and blood gushed from his nostrils. Suddenly I was jerked backwards and found myself face to face with my soccer coach who had followed us after seeing what was going on and had yanked me back out of the fight. I was dazed and just happy the bright lights had stopped.

We were both rushed to the office for judgement and punishment. We were equally guilty in the eyes of my educators and because of that we were both handed board suspensions.

I lost my senior year national honor society because of my suspension. I then lost all my scholarship offers as well, all except one – in state UTK, and that is where I ended up going. I guess I hadn’t needed to fill out all those fucking applications after all.

I remember one day after the fight, while I was serving out my board suspension at home. My mom walked into my room with a card. She knew I had been having a hard time… even if I hadn’t shared my daily details with her. Why would I? At 17 years old you begin to realize that life just sucks sometimes… and parents are for comfort. They can’t fix everything.

I opened the card and my eyes began to water. It said –

You will always be in my honor society. I love you.

I thanked her with more than just my words. I thanked her with my heart and I felt the weight lessen slightly.

You see she got it… she did understand.

-Opinionated Man

Jason C. Cushman

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@smokendust

Falling

I watched petals fall in front of me, they showed the path behind me.

I followed the shadows beside me, they hold my hand you see.

We seem to have fallen. Or have we been here before.

I hear you calling. Where has my shadow fallen?

I look down deep within. Into the darkness where it all began.

-OM

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@smokendust