Shedding My Shame {And Daring You To Shed Yours}

Preface: Within this post is my promise to you. And, just like all those “post this now or your sister will die tomorrow” sort of spams, I am begging you to not read any further, unless you are willing to accept the responsibility that comes with it. And that responsibility is this: upon reading this post, you make yourself a promise, that you’ll stop being so shy/embarrassed/ashamed about one thing that gets to you; that one thing that sometimes pulls you down. Why? Because the only person that has to live with you forever, is yourself. So fall in love. With you. Because you’re fucking beautiful. If you accept the challenge, then feast your eyes on the following. . . 

Sometimes I get really …how do I say this… caught up in myself. And not just in the usual Rachael’s-talking-to-herself-again-so-let’s-watch-this-private-kookooshow-for-a-bit-until-she-returns-to-Earth kind of way. It’s more like I think things in my head, over and over, until they become my reality. Like that time I convinced myself I got pregnant from not using toilet seat covers during my trip to Europe. You may shake your head and sigh, but to a young teenager with babyphobia, the terror is real {and my friends still crack up about it. Apparently, there’s nothing funnier than a virgin who thinks she’s preggers}. Anyways, that’s neither here nor there. . .

This falsified reality I speak of is exactly what makes me sometimes fear the Spanish language.

I just get into this mood where my tongue trips over itself in my mouth; I can’t get over an incorrect verb conjugation or vocab slip; and I become completely mouth-paralyzed in mid-conversation.

Days like this, I ask my friend to order the pizza, so that I won’t have to talk to a stranger over the phone, who’s voice I’m not  yet accustomed to. At its worst, I’ll avoid going to the supermarket so I won’t have to speak Spanish to ask for a grocery bag. You’d think with the amount of embarrassing things that happen to me on the reg, I wouldn’t mind speaking a little Spanish –but for some reason, that isn’t the case.

And the thing is…I know Spanish. In July, I took a literature course taught at an Argentine university; in August, I began working at a Peruvian bar with latino coworkers/customers; in September, I spoke my way into an apartment complex; in October, I befriended the sweetest set of Argentine sisters; in November, I royally told-off an aggressive loiterer; and in December, I started dating the sweetest, most handsome porteño (yes, he’s perfect. no, you can’t have him).

So why, oh WHY, do I still sometimes blush when ordering empanadas?

Storytime of how this topic came to fruition today of all days:

This afternoon, I went to a café after work to read more “Gone Girl,” and to sneak a coffee while my roommates weren’t looking {because we’re pretty sure a baby stomach ulcer monster is growing inside of me, so the coffee pot is off limits until further notice}. I ordered in my charming California girl accent {enter sigh & eye roll}, and was slightly offended when after a few minutes of talking, the waitress told me the price of my coffee. In English. I was like girlfriend doesn’t think I’m porteña? So even though we continued our conversation in Spanish, my ego had been shot. I was just pulling my bloody mess of a self through our conversational battlefield, attempting to dodge any other English bullets being puttered my way.

Up next, I stopped in a hair salon para hacer una cita. Well, no. Apparently, to make an appointment is to sacar un turno. News to me. And I’m not trying to be too harsh on the Spanish language or anything, but that makes no sense. And I’m saying this after getting butt hurt numerous times as I rejected the receptionist’s multiple offers to schedule me in, thinking she was offering some sort of bizarre beauty treatment or something. Luckily, the receptionist was a good sport, chuckled at our misunderstanding, and then asked for my number, probably so we could hang out sometime {ya, I know it’s just so they can call me to confirm, but I like to think I’m just that charming}.

After two stabs to my Spanish-speaking, English-born linguistic heart, I needed a factura con chocolate to mend my wounds. But alas, in true porteño style, the bakery was out of all things chocolate, so instead I got into a conversation with the two bakers about which would be the yummiest substitute. We settled on dulce de leche. Obviously.

As I was paying, they asked me where I was from. Again with the bruised ego. Why are they asking me this? I thought. Am I not fluent enough for them? When I answered California, one of them responded with a “Aaah, that’s why your Spanish is so good.”

First off: that has nothing to do with it. The only time I ever speak Spanish in California is when I’m drunk and even then, it’s spoken with my equally-wonderbreadish friends.

But, SECOND OFF {my point}: the baker said my Spanish is good. Meaning, he thought it was good. Meaning, it’s pass-able. Do-able. Who cares I don’t know all the words? Who cares I can’t write or place my accents for nada? And most importantly, who CARES that I have an accent? I never laugh at my dad when he says “sorry” all funny in his Canadian accent.


I shall enunciate proud and clear when ordering my submarinoknowing I represent the marginal, curious {yet cursed-with-ugly-accents} traveling community of the United States. I’ll answer my telephone in Spanish to tell telemarketers with authority that no, I really honestly truly don’t have the time to talk to them due to the fact my life is presently happening at the moment. And lastly, I’ll no longer fear telling the grocery store clerk with a smile that yes, I will need a bolsita for my bottle of wine.

So you’ve made it through the end of this long-winded post.

Now, it’s your turn.

What will be your promise to yourself? No one will hold you reliable. No one will scoff at you should you forget your promise and appear bashful in the face of onset fears. But it’s the little steps that count, so why not at least try it out? And if you can’t think of anything now, then wait it out for a week. Life is a cycle of both the good and the bad, and surely something will reveal intself. And when it does, grab it by its horns, pull it out of hiding, and tell your fear/timidity/embarrassment that you are that Barney Stinson kind of AMAZING, and you no longer have space for it in your vida. You’ll love yourself for it.

Happy thoughts, travels, & day my gente. Besos xx

One thought on “Shedding My Shame {And Daring You To Shed Yours}

  1. Rachel Morowitz says:

    Girl! I can totally relate, this happened to me when I was in Japan. I KNEW Japanese but I would barely speak it outside of class because I was so embarrassed. But then one day I started a convo with a native, and although I was using very basic Japanese – like kindergarten level – it was the most liberating thing ever! Enjoy your travels 🙂

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