08 September, 2009

What to Expect

The other day while I was modeling I let my mind wander, as usual, and I started thinking about humiliation. Not because I find my job humiliating, mind you. Quite the contrary. One of the students was laughing about how his roommates often assume that drawing from life is a sexual or erotic experience, and how that can't be farther from the truth. Fact: one of the students actually said, "Picture drawing a bowl of fruit. Now picture the bowl of fruit is a person. Same thing." That made me laugh. Inwardly, since I couldn't move. Also, one of the perks of my job is that I have learned how to yawn through my nose.

In my psycholinguistics class we learned that one of the signs (Not a telltale sign, but evidence nonetheless) of autism is lack of a sense of humor. This is mainly because most autistic kids don't have enough of a handle on reality to recognize when something is out of the ordinary. For example, if a kid with normal cognitive abilities watches a Looney Tunes clip in which the Roadrunner is running down the road, as he has a tendency to do, and then suddenly runs into a mountain that is smack in the middle of the road, he or she (the kid) will laugh. A normal person would realize that usually mountains do not sit in the middle of roads, and thus will find that funny. The humor lies in the unexpected.

I think it's the same thing with humiliation. I think the root of feeling embarrassed about something happening to you lies in the fact that you don't expect it. As a slightly revelatory* example: when I was modeling (in a bikini) at BYU, one day I did a slightly athletic pose and my breast fell out of my top. Just for a moment. But I'll admit it was pretty embarrassing. Conversely, on Saturday I was lying on my back, while the teacher was leaning over me, completely naked, and didn't feel embarrassed at all. I think the main difference is that I was expecting to be naked and prepared for that moment, whereas the previous event had come out of nowhere.

Think about it. When you have a crush on someone and do something stupid in front of him/her, you are embarrassed not so much because of the act itself, but because in your mind, you don't expect to ever act like an idiot in front of someone you are trying to impress. If you fall in public, it's mostly because that wasn't your plan for yourself when you woke up that morning. The unexpected can lead to either great laughs or great humiliation, depending on which end you're on.

Which begs the question: If I start ASSUMING that I will ALWAYS do something stupid when I wasn't intending to, will I never feel humiliated again? Especially if I recognize that my doing something unexpected is helping someone else laugh/know for sure that they're not autistic?

I believe this could be another part of my quest in life to make things better for the people around me. Like the time Lori was having a really hard night, back in the day when we shared a room, and I fell out of my bed, just because I thought it would make her laugh. It hurt, too.

*If you'll forgive the pun. It was not intentional.


Austin said...

i didn't know yawning through one's nose was even possible.

eden said...

i think there's a lot of truth to this. who knew that nude modeling could lead to such great epiphanies?

however, i believe i'll leave the epiphanies to you. and others. (:

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