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The "Share Your Shame" Competition Results!

 I would like to thank all of you who entered our recent competition to Share your Shame. The competition was great fun and everyone was a great sport to enter. It is now closed and the winning entry, along with some others, is shown below. Apologies to those whose entries are not shown, I simply couldn't show everyone's shame at once - it would have been too much for our ribs!

For those who missed it, the competition came about because I made the most ugly, shameful beads imaginable (see right) and decided that I could not keep the humour to myself.

I thought it might be cathartic to share their revoltingness with everyone rather than hide them away and pretend it never happened. It got me thinking? I couldn't be the only one who has done something, made something, or experienced something stupid and embarrassing? I asked you all to share your shame with me - so that we could enjoy the humour of the moments together. The prize? Well the revolting beads of course, plus some other goodies to sugar the pill.

What surprised me most about the competition is that it seemed to mean something different to everyone. Some people shared stories with me about shame and what it felt to them. Some shared photographs of their own "ugly" beads or other creative ventures. Some just showed photos of themselves with vegetable strainers on their heads (Diana!) and some shared those embarrassing moments that we all just love - when the happen to someone else! Enjoy some of the entries below. Surprisingly not many folks rushed to have their names included with their entries though - we will call them by cute little anonymous names if need be.


The winner:

Emma Green was the oh so lucky winner of this competition. She shared two embarrassing moments that just tickled us pink here - they really captured that feel of wanting the ground to open up.... Emma shares:

I was once waiting for some friends to pick me up (shopping trip) I heard their car horn honking and rushed out down the drive and got in the car, put my seatbelt on and got nice and settled. Only then did I realise that I didn't know any of the people in the car, the strangers had in fact stopped to pick up my next door neighbour.

That just cracked me up. More importantly, it cracked the judges - my family - up. But wait - Emma had more to offer. And this might have cinched the deal for her. Not only social embarrassment, but being made a fool of too - could it get any better? Emma's second shameful tale:

I once worked in a department store when I had just left school. They had some work men in who asked me to go down to the shop stores and ask for a large black hole. Not only did I go and ask for one, but the guy down in stores told me to go back and tell them he didn't have any large ones, but would two small ones do instead! I was halfway up the stairs before it dawned on me what I had done and I am not even blonde.

Emma - all I can say is don't ever change! Congratulations for sharing such great shame with us all. If you would like to see what Emma gets up to when she isn't jumping into strange cars - why not visit her website?

But wait...there's more

Oh yes, there was more shame to come. Take for instance the sad - some might say pitiful - case of Diana.

She sent in this photo of herself as her entry. And I think we can all agree that she is sharing some serious shame here with us. I mean, would you show those curtains in public?...dang!

Diana won herself a second place prize for this photo. Which was clever as we didn't even know we were going to offer a second place prize until it happened. Oh - she is modelling a veggie colander on her head too. ..... Well done Diana, and like Emma - don't you ever change! But I think you really must stop watching that Saving Private Ryan DVD now .......its starting to affect you ;-)

Diana says (and it is an individual choice for each reader as to whether they believer her) .... "Please, oh please, don't put this up online. Its me. Meg gave me a Mommy Crown to wear. I couldn't well refuse, but did I have to take a picture of it???"

Diana, Diana, Diana - how could I *not* put this up online? I am only human my friend, only human.....

Ms. L- lets call her, shares a shameful tale that I think many of us ladies can relate. A wise woman once told me - always check your back in a mirror before going out - and this is why.....

"My shame happened many years ago but it still is as fresh in my mind as if
it happened this morning.

I was at a party on the ship The Queen Elizabeth when it was permanently docked here in Port Everglades, FL. I was with a group of female friends and we were dancing with the gorgeous British/Scottish/Irish/Welsh sailors, drinking Tom Collins (with four cherries, courtesy of Tom, the bartender) and having a great time. Having consumed a goodly amount of alcohol, it soon became emergent that I visit the loo. Walking as though the ship was sailing through stormy seas, I found the ladies lavatory, did what I had gone to do, and made my way back to my friends, who were on the other side of the large dance floor that I had to navigate.

I couldn't imagine why my passing the dancing couples caused them to dissolve into fits of laughter until I reached our table. When I had pulled up my undies in the ladies room I had inadvertently pulled them up over the back of my dress, which was now tucked inside my "Bridget Jones panties", and my whole backside was showing, with the baggy white knickers glowing under the black lights"


Some people wanted to share their own ugly creative moments with me. I think when it comes to uglies, my entry wins hands down - but in the spirit of fair play, I will share ....

 Red Hot Sal (AKA Sally Carver) sent this ugly bead. All I can say is if that is your uglies Sally - heaven help us all. Sally says of her creation "It just looks like, well, a pustullent spot, or what you'd imagine the Plague virus to look like if you could see it with the naked eye. I couldn't even get a decent pic of it - it's even more repellent in real life."

You can see some much less ugly Sal beads on her website


Anna shared this hand-painted plate she created for her nephew's birth. I will let her explain her shame over it! Anna says: "When my sister had her first son, I made a really cool birth plate with hot air balloons that had all the statistics on them and a teddy bear dangling from one of them....  All in all it turned out quite nice and I was very pleased with it. When number 2 son was born almost 2 years later, I had to come up with something for him. So I found pictures and painted a lovely winged horse with a long streaming rainbow tail. I think I may have put all the info on the rainbow. I was once again pretty pleased with myself until I finally stepped back and really looked at the plate. There was a lovely winged horse with a great, long rainbow shooting right out of its ass! Not what I was going for at all, but since it had been through a few firings, it was too late to fix other than starting over. So my poor nephew is stuck with a very weird birth plate from his auntie."

Lastly I want to share a couple of stories with you that really touch on the notion of shame as a collected experience we all feel whoever we are, whatever age. We go first to Jennifer Dangerfield. She reports a story that I think we can all relate to... shame abounds. Shame abounds in multiples in the fear factor that is .... the school nativity play. Grab a coffee for this one, but put a towel over your keyboard first. We ain't insured for spluttering incidents here.... Over to Jennifer.

“Two Kings and a Fireman” (or the true story of the Nativity Play)

In the depths of winter, it is customary for the infant children of the parish to gather together and assail the adults with a ceremony known as the Nativity Play. This is the story of one such occasion…

The children were standing quietly in a corner of the church hall as the audience were ushered through the doorway and into their seats. Mary boasted a gown of fine blue satin, Joseph and the shepherds were clad in rustic cloaks of uncertain hue and three magnificent crowns were firmly in place upon the heads of the richly attired Kings. A reverential silence descended upon the hall only disturbed by the sound of handkerchiefs being quietly removed from handbags ready to stem the flow of maternal tears. The performance was about to begin.

But then, just as the vicar arose to greet the assembled parents, a loud cry erupted from the corner. “I’m not wearing this. I want my Fireman Sam helmet!” These two sentences echoed around the hall and brought an embarrassed blush to the face of the mother of the errant King. A minor scuffle ensued as the children’s teacher sought to quell the insurrection. Tears followed and finally, the shame-faced mother left her seat and joined the, by now, flushed and surly teacher. As she arrived, there were signs that the other Kings were about to join the rebellion, but a temporary calm was established when the errant King (who was easily the most vocal with his objections) was allowed to don his fireman’s helmet. The second King was cuffed by his mother and the third had a large boiled sweet inserted into his mouth.

The infants’ teacher now decided to hurl caution recklessly to the wind and moved away to take up her place upon the stage in the guise of narrator. And so the play commenced. Mary, Joseph and the donkey made an elegant procession as they walked down the aisle and onto the stage. Upon their arrival, the inn-keeper who, dressed appropriately for the late hour, was clad in a charming pair of period Bunnykins pyjamas, greeted them in a welcoming manner. Just as they were about to enquire as to the availability of a room for the night, the errant King decided to ascertain whether his gift (a regally wrapped cereal packet) would bounce. Discovering that, rather than rebounding, it made a far more intriguing crashing noise, he threw it on the floor a few more times for good measure. This time he was cuffed! Unfortunately, the other two Kings and one of the shepherds were now alerted to the prospect that the errant King’s gift offered far more chance of amusement than any of the other props, with the result of which you will hear later.

The narrator duly beckoned the shepherds and their arrival on stage was achieved with nothing but the normal commotion that arises from young children being asked to do something that they have no desire to do. This was somewhat exacerbated by the fact that one of the shepherds was reluctant to leave the side of the errant King, drawn as he was by the intriguing possibilities of the aforementioned gift.

And now we come to what should have been one of the proudest moments in the lives of the long-suffering family of the errant King. His father had taken a day’s leave from the office and was busy fussing with the controls of a video camera, whilst his two loving grandmothers who had both travelled many miles in order to view these proceedings, were eagerly awaiting the appearance of their grandson on stage. Thus we come to the entrance of the Three Wise Men or, as we shall now refer to them, Two Kings and a Fireman. The T.K.A.A.F. duly arrived. Upon being given the whispered instruction to offer their gifts to Baby Jesus, one King vociferously refused, the second spat out the remains of his sweet whilst the errant King hurled his under the manger with a resounding crash. The covetous shepherd now retrieved the wondrous gift. In truth, it is inexact to use the word ‘retrieve’ as this would indicate a quiet or surreptitious action. A more appropriate description would indicate that he launched a fearsome, diving, rugby tackle that almost sent the manger flying off the stage; as it was, we all watched with bated breath as Baby Jesus teetered on the brink of a nasty fall.

By now, the errant King had tired of his fun with the wondrous gift and, feeling rather sleepy, he lay down, rolled himself and his velvet cloak into a dusty cocoon and settled down to sleep at the front of the stage. Not so the other two Kings. Outraged by the attack upon Baby Jesus (or was it that they wanted to lay hands upon the wondrous gift themselves), one hurled himself upon the shepherd, whilst the other emitted a chorus of curses and screams as he was manhandled by his mother into the relative sanctuary of a corner of the room (a most athletic woman; she combined the qualities of anticipation and speed of reaction in a way that I really must learn to emulate). The narrator now decided to leave her seat, but not before Joseph intervened with his shepherd’s crook. His aim was somewhat wild and poor Baby Jesus received a clout upon the temple. As the narrator separated the belligerent King and the covetous shepherd, the inn-keeper informed the audience that she had wet herself whereupon a father in the front row ceased hiding his laughter and lapsed into hysteria. In amongst all this hubbub and fracas and despite the obvious danger to her child, Mary quietly and diligently picked her nose.

Apparently the school is looking for volunteer helpers for this year’s performance. Call me a coward, but they can certainly count me out.

© Jennifer Dangerfield 1998

Another story arrived in my inbox touching on the nature of shame and how it feels well - shameful. I realised the competition was changing and mutating at this point. No longer was this merely about us making an ass of ourselves. Some entries were really showing me different aspects of shame... man it was getting deep even. This story made me remember SO many incidents when I was a kid and the feelings and thoughts and desperate attempts to "fit in" and to "hide our shame". I always try to remember that stuff when talking to kids myself. This is why they like me and don't put bogies on me. A plus point...

Over to Ms JAY - who reminds us what it is like to be a kid. And maybe also why we need to teach kids not to sweat the small stuff!

My "share your shame" story is a pathetic tale of an experience which showed to my as-yet unshaped personality the dreadful consequences of not behaving like Abraham Lincoln in all circumstances. Nowadays, I do not wear a beard and a tall hat, the way Lincoln chose to, but I do try to stay on the straight and narrow like "Honest Abe", and it is entirely due to this really crappy experience I had at the age of six.

First, I have to say that this teacher in my story had already hated me since kindergarten. In fact, I remember politely asking her "where the scissors were", when I was only five and an adorable chid, and having her ridicule me. She curled her lip and sneered, " Oh, Jeannie, you know PERFECTLY WELL where the scissors are! Now GO GET them!"

It was like something out of a bad Dickens story. And it only got worse, the following year. It went like this: It was nap time at school, and we were forced to lie on cots like a bunch of pod people, as the teacher read to us. As I recall, I was behaving perfectly angelically, as always. However, every minute or so, the "scissors" teacher, who hated my guts even more by first grade (was it because I was so cute? Did I look like a child movie star? I don't know!), would yell out, "Jeannie, PUT YOUR HEAD DOWN, OR I WILL SEND YOU OUT TO-------> THE COT IN THE HALL!"<----this was a terrible fate.

I claim to this day I was innocent, and she just was a really crummy, un-engaging reader. And no, I didn't stab her to death with scissors--that is not my shame story.

Anyway, finally she tossed me out into the school hallway after what she said was my last chance. She made me lie on the cot right out in full view of anyone and everyone who might happen to walk past. I lay there for hours and hours. Maybe it was days. The only good thing about it was I could finally put my head up.

All of a sudden, the worst thing I could imagine took place. I heard two voices nearing me...two people were approaching, involved in conversation. It was -- horror of horrors!!!--the headmaster of the entire elementary school and--WORSE!!!-- my teacher for the upcoming year, Miss Van Dort! What conclusion would they draw if they say me lying shamefully on this cot of perdition in the hallway, being punished by my first grade teacher? I could only imagine what they would think of me, forever and ever.

I could not bear this situation.

So I decided to hide under the cot.

They paused, and stood next to me for what seemed like hours--it was like a bad Edgar Allen Poe story!!!-- I could hear my heart beat really loud. Could they hear it too? Yeah, probably. Anyway, they were having a long chat about nothing. Lying there, I could see their feet. She was wearing heels (stacked) and he had on wingtips (brown). I think that was the way it went. I never moved a muscle, nor did I say a word.

Once they left, I waited a bit. Then I got back up on the cot, drained and psychologically messed up, permanently.
Since then, my psyche has been forever warped. I never do anything dishonest, out of FEAR. I am as true as the day is long. I go so far as to stuff coins back into pay phones if they fall out by accident, dialling the operator and announcing I am about to do this. I am pathologically upright because of this embarrassing experience. Always, I would rather take the consequences.

That experience just sucked too much.

PS: Now, as an adult, I realize the headmaster and Miss Van Dort knew I was under there the whole time--it was just a camp cot with thin little metal legs. You could see under it perfectly well.