These five easy steps will come in handy when you are, say, riding your 10-speed through the school parking lot and the cute boy you have a crush on waves to you and you crash into a school bus (true story):
1) BREATHE. Before you say or do anything that will mortify you further, oxygenate. Take a moment. Regroup.
2) LAUGH. A little self-deprecation goes a long way. If you can’t laugh at yourself, smile. The simple act of smiling will make you look better and feel better in the face of humiliation. (This is not your mother talking; this is a scientific fact).
3) QUOTE SOMEONE AWESOME. “I am not having a day of power.” -Anne Lamott . “Jump into my nightmare; the water’s warm.” -Jerry Maguire
4) OWN IT. Yes, you are the girl who rode your bike into a school bus.
5) MOVE ON. No one act defines your life. In the words of the late, great F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” Some day, this singular, mortifying moment may jumpstart a great cocktail party conversation—or even a best-selling Y.A. novel.
P.S. The 5 Steps to Surviving Mortification also apply nicely to parenthood. When you go to pick up your daughter from school and she is, say, on all fours under the snack table, barking like a dog while the other nice little children are sitting in a circle (true story), breathe. Smile. Say, “Yup, that’s my girl.” Give her a hug. Take her out for ice cream (or a dog biscuit). This is the good stuff, people.