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  • Writer's pictureHannah Telluselle

Exploring embarrassment

Updated: Aug 4, 2022

One of the things that resonated strongly with me, while I was detained in Honolulu, HI 2011-12 for an immigration violation, was the common experience of being molested as a young girl. It made me remember the time I was nine years old too, and a classmate kissed me in a violent, deep throat kind of way. I remember running home, literally, and him coming after. To both him and my Dad, I just said that I was nearly getting raped, but without pointing out the boy, who had stopped and talked to someone, and I ran. What has struck me as odd, is the feeling it left me with. I felt I got hot cheeks and felt embarrassed, when I had come home. Why is that? I haven't felt embarrassed at all, since then. Is it because I haven't encountered any other situations that would ignite this feeling, or did that part of me simply leave, or went into hiding?

A close companion to embarrassment, seems to be shame. But then again, why would I feel ashamed of what someone else has done to me? That doesn't make sense. Unless it is to show myself, how my boundary wasn't communicated properly, leading to this incident. The boy was walking me home after a party and since I had agreed to be his girlfriend, it was perhaps implied that he would be allowed to kiss me. But, I thought that was yucky at the age of 9. So, I perhaps became ashamed of my feeling, my turning down, rather than the beginning assault.

How has this affected me? I've of course had to exercise more boundary setting. Later in life, I have often felt that it's all in the kiss. If I'm not feeling good being kissed, than the guy is wrong for me. Luckily, I have also had good experiences too, as a grown up, of course. My first good kissing was when I was 16 going on 17 in my Swedish High school. But the point is, whatever is buried must be dealt with, if it still affects us.

The lesson is always ongoing.

More about working with this emotion can be heard in this podcast by lifecoach Martha Beck.

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