I’ll never forget the first time my very own blood vessels betrayed me. It was a beautiful spring day, and my entire fourth grade class had received the rare privilege of visiting a nearby playground as a treat. I headed straight for the monkey bars, swinging myself to the top and dangling my legs over the rungs.
At that exact moment, our chaperone (a 30-something male science teacher) innocently glanced up.
The poor guy didn’t actually verbalize “I see London, I see France!” but his alarmed expression said it all. Instantly, I was gripped with the crushing wave of a full-body blush. (And this wasn’t the charmingly-pink-cheeked, Elle Fanning type of blush. It was red and blotchy. Like terrible deli meat.)
I desperately wanted to flee the scene, but the physical advertisement of my mortification froze me in place. First my underwear—then my delicate emotions—all exposed in a matter of seconds! Was nothing sacred?
I eventually made my way down from the monkey bars, but the damage was done. I couldn’t look that teacher in the eye for the rest of middle school.
Blushing remains a frustrating boon to my existence. Whenever I feel a modicum of insecurity, I don’t even have the chance to fake confidence. And since I can’t spend my life hiding in dimly lit rooms or wearing ski masks, I’m constantly facing the consequences.
Like the time my sister confronted me about stealing candy from her gingerbread house, and my scarlet cheeks promptly gave me away.
Or the time I tried to play it cool during a (misguided) performance in my high school’s annual lip sync contest, only to bask in a tomato-colored glow for the entire song.
Blushing always, always called my bluff.
Out of sheer exasperation, I turned to Google for answers. I opened my laptop and carefully typed into the awaiting search box:
“How to stop blushing.”
When I got to the fourteenth page of my search without any luck, I felt a surge of disappointment. I was pretty sure that “breathing deeply” and “managing overall stress” were not going to cut it in terms of effective, long-term cures for blushing.
I ruefully closed out of Google, opened up a Word document, and started to write.
If I couldn’t stop my pesky blood flow from broadcasting my vulnerabilities, I’d simply beat it to the punch. Consider this my 400-word head start.
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