Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

One Of My Most Embarrassing Moments Involved Accidental Public Nudity

My year in the third grade was a stressful one. My family had moved to a new city, and I took to showing up mid-sleepwalk at the foot of my parents' bed, brown toy suitcase clutched to my chest, insisting that I was running away to my real home. I tended to feel awkward around other kids, and so I was having a hard time finding my place in the new school. For months, a classmate stole anything nice I kept in my desk. I found math difficult and pretended to lose my textbook so much that I nearly failed. One girl told me that I made the periods too big at the ends of my sentences and that our teacher probably thought I was stupid because of it. Bitch.

All of this added up to me being a bit distracted a lot of the time. I really did lose my textbooks a lot. I forgot to go when a friend asked me to come over after school. I was late for everything. I lost anything that wasn't stapled to my hands. I had idiot strings on my mittens threaded through my coat sleeves.

I started having dreams in which I showed up at school naked. These dreams didn't just bother me at night. They dogged me all day, too. I felt this weird shame every time a classmate from one of my naked dreams spoke to me. I felt exposed and out of control, and I was sure that they somehow knew what was happening.

One day after recess, my friend Brad and I were talking while we took off our coats and boots. He was down on one knee tying his shoe, and I was standing in front of him blabbing on about something or other, probably some story I was reading, when I noticed how quiet the room had become. I looked down at Brad, and he was staring up at me like he couldn't believe what he was seeing. His mouth was hanging open.

I looked down at myself and saw that I was completely naked from the waist up. There were my little kid nipples all pink and staring back at him. In the midst of my usual distraction, I had gone too far when taking off my coat and had also removed my shirt.

I felt the floor come up to meet my feet as I nearly fainted from the shock of my own public nudity. In my panic, I grabbed my coat and put it on over my naked torso. I knew that I couldn't sit through class in my coat all afternoon, but I wasn't going to take it off again in front of Brad, so I fled the room, ran home to put on a different shirt, and told anyone who asked that I had spilled something on my other one.

Later during math, I asked Brad if that had really happened. He nodded that it had. He then proceeded to develop a crush on me that would last throughout our remaining five years of elementary school, which was almost as embarrassing as baring my naked chest at him, because he made it a habit to ask people to smell his finger.

It was all put into perspective for me, though, when this became only one of three or four separate occasions on which I took my shirt off in public while distracted. It's a great way to make friends and influence people.

Want to know what's even worse than that? The last time it happened, I was 33 years old.

This post was written in response to a writing challenge from {W}rite-of-Passage, a "...group of writers seeking a challenge, getting critique, and finding community."

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