Let's be honest: Growing up as a kid is really hard. Not only can other kids be incredibly mean to you, but also learning how to navigate the world means accumulating a lot of embarrassing moments.
1. "When I was 12, I excitedly said to my mom: 'Save a tree, eat a beaver!' My mother's face immediately told me that it didn't mean what I originally thought. ... I wondered why I had never heard of beaver meat."
2. "I was the new kid in class halfway through second grade. There was a class hamster that went home with a different student each weekend so it could be fed and cared for. I took it home one weekend and was so excited!! But my 3-year-old sister got into its cage and um...loved it to death. Like, she accidentally smothered it. So, I had to tell the class on Monday — and replace the hamster. Several weeks later, when it was my weekend to take the hamster home again, it died of a heart attack (or something IDK). So, I had to tell the class AGAIN that the hamster died at my house. So, everyone hated me, and I was never allowed to take the hamster home again. It was traumatic and humiliating for 7-year-old me."
3. "Our middle school choir was doing a performance at the school assembly for Memorial Day, and I had a solo. I was a little nervous beforehand, which was making my stomach a little bubbly and upset. I got up and did my solo. With relief, I turned around to join the rest of the choir, but I was so relieved, I farted. And yup, the mic picked it up loud and clear for the whole school to hear. I told everyone it was my shoe squeaking on the floor as I turned, though I’m not sure anyone was convinced."
4. "When I was in second grade, I was trying to impress some boy, so I told him I could do the splits (which was true but didn’t matter after the fact). I confidently ran to the playground and jumped into the splits and ripped the entire crotch of my bright red capris. You could HEAR the tear, it was so forceful. I jumped back up and wrapped my hoodie around my waist, and by some miracle, I had a second hoodie in class that I wrapped around the front, basically creating a bulky loin cloth to conceal my ripped pants. It was the first public pants ripping I had, but certainly not the last."
5. "I loudly and proudly announced to my entire extended family, cool cousins included, that, 'My mom thinks my nipples are the cutest!' Everyone froze, looked concerned, and then burst out laughing. WTF did you just say?! DIMPLES. I meant dimples. My mom thinks my dimples are the cutest."
—Miranda, 27, Seattle
6. "I was 12 or 13, on my period. Several classes got invited to the gym to watch a movie (it was Remember the Titans). We all sat cross-legged on mats on the floor. The kid in front of me kept scooting backward, so naturally, I scooted, too, to avoid him. You know that horrible feeling you get when people around you are whispering and you think, 'Oh no, are they whispering about me?' WELP, on this occasion, my backward scooting had caused my pad to pop out of the back of my pants, and everyone behind me was talking about it. A nice girl finally told me calmly and directly, and I ran out of there. But I'll never forget the horror of realizing everyone was talking about me behind my back."
7. "I’m not sure how old I was; my guess would be 7-ish. My parents, younger sister, and I were at a pool party/barbecue. I got in the pool with a bunch of older kids. They started a whirlpool, and after a few laps, I felt the urge to poop. I was incredibly shy and was not about to tell these strangers that I had to poop. The whirlpool was so strong that every time I went to grab the ladder, I would get pulled away. I distinctly remember clinging to the side of the pool and yelling for my dad. My parents couldn’t hear me over the noise of the party. So, yeah, I couldn’t hold it anymore. I shit in the pool. That finally got everyone’s attention, and the whirlpool stopped. It was so traumatic, I literally don’t remember whose party or house it was. I blocked as much out as I could."
8. "Probably 8-ish-year-old me asking my dad if he had a banana in his pocket or if he was just happy to see me. I had no idea what it meant. I thought it was just a funny greeting. He couldn’t look me in the eye for days. It wasn’t until I was in my late teens that I realized what I’d ask him."
9. "I had a wonderful single dad who had a habit of overcompensating. When I got my first period, he damn near bought out the pad and tampon section. Then, he informed me we were going to this giant buffet restaurant for dinner, which was a big deal 'cause we were hella poor, lol. Didn't tell me he had invited our whole family, including my sister's hot new boyfriend. When the waitstaff asked if it was someone's birthday, my dad teared up, saying 'sort of,' and they brought me a giant bowl of Jello with sparklers, singing their congratulations song. Makes me laugh-cry now, but SERIOUSLY, the worst at 12."
10. "When I was maybe about 7 or 8, I went to a mid-week kids' bible study and had to poop, so obviously, I went to the bathroom. After I finished pooping, I realized there was no toilet paper. I waddled around the bathroom trying to find an extra roll, but there wasn’t one. I didn’t know what to do, so I took off my underwear and wiped myself with it. I didn’t want anyone to find the evidence, so I rolled it up and PUT IT IN MY BIBLE CASE POCKET. I left the bathroom and went back to bible study with no underwear on and a bible pocket full of poo."
11. "I was sitting in the front row on a stage in a dress for an awards ceremony WITH MY KNEES OPEN. All of the faculty were in the front row, and the pictures made the yearbook. I still shudder when I think about it."
—Anonymous, 33, USA
12. "My dad took me to the pool one evening when I was about 4 years old. I’m not sure what happened, but something in my tiny brain short-circuited. As I stood beside the pool psyching myself up to jump in, I inexplicably tore off my swimsuit and leaped into the crowded pool totally naked. I immediately realized I’d messed up and did a major walk of shame back to my swimsuit and my very confused dad. He regularly brought it up for at least 20 years after the fact."
13. "I was trick or treating with my friends, and our home base for the evening was a girl's house who lived in town. We got back to her house, and I ran up to her porch and opened the door. Except it wasn't her house. Her house was two doors down, and I had just barged in on a family having dinner."
14. "Picture state testing in high school. The class is dead silent. I farted, hoping it would also be silent. It was not. Everyone starts looking around, and my best friend looks right at me and mouths, 'Was that you?' I point to my shoe and said it rubbed against the chair and made a squeaking noise. We keep testing. I couldn't believe I got away with it...until 30 seconds later, when I stress farted FOR A SECOND TIME. Let's just say, there were no doubts after that about who did it. Even the teacher was having a hard time breathing he was laughing so hard. 15 years later, I'm still waiting for the floor to open up and just swallow me."
15. "My grandpa (my father’s stepdad) passed away when I was around 11 or 12. I had just gotten braces and was still getting used to the way they fit in my mouth, which caused a lot of saliva and also made it hard to close my mouth fully. As I was leaning over to sign the guestbook, a little drip of drool escaped the corner of my mouth and plopped right on the guestbook page. Mortified, I looked up at my dad with a look of shock and fear. Well, from his point of view, the spot on the page looked like a teardrop. He patted my back and told me it was alright to miss grandpa. My dad assumed I started crying about my grandpa, and I was too embarrassed to correct him, so, until this day, no one knows I accidentally drooled onto my grandpa’s funeral guest book. RIP Grandpa Russ."
—Anonymous, 29, Texas
16. "My middle school principal was really young and hot and was one of the chaperones at my 8th-grade semi-formal. For some reason, they had closed off the bleachers in the gym where the dance was being held — I didn't get the memo, though, and was sitting on the top bleacher during a slow song. The hunky principal walks over and waves me down, yelling something at me that I couldn't hear over the music. So, in my INSANE 13-year-old puberty brain, I thought to myself: 'Well, OBVIOUSLY, he MUST be calling me down to slow dance with him because he sees me sitting here alone and is trying to be nice, that's the ONLY logical thing that could be happening right now!'"
17. "When I was 14, I had the notion to take the advice from Dolly magazine and write my crush 'the perfect love letter.' Not only did he laugh when I gave it to him, but he also showed most of our grade."
18. "Back in elementary, my mom used to send me to school with yogurt as a 'healthy snack.' I don’t know why she thought dollar-store yogurt would age well over the course of the school day, but that’s what I had. My classmates saw me eating room-temperature soggy yogurt and started making fun of me for eating soggy yogurt. I don’t remember being upset, since I didn’t really want to be eating soggy yogurt either and they weren’t being mean. My teacher overheard the other kids making fun of me, but she completely misheard what they were saying."
"So, she announces loudly in front of the entire class that everyone needs to stop teasing me for having bad breath. No one was making fun of me for having bad breath…until that day. My teacher somehow gave the entire class a reason to make fun of me, and they did. I still cringe almost 20 years later."