If there is one thing about me (and there are actually plenty) that I don't want my daughters to inherit, it's blushing. I used to be one of those people who blush over everything. And the worst thing is many people think it is OK to tease these people when they blush. Which makes it so much worse.
I used to blush when I even thought about something embarassing. Even if I wasn't embarassed. I'd blush at the memory of blushing. I'd blush if I felt someone didn't believe me, and then blush even more because I thought that my blushing would make me out to be a liar. And then if they commented on my blushing I would blush even more.
I swear I have been assumed to be guilty of all kinds of things because of my blushing. I have been known to blush when someone senior at a workplace has walked through the open plan. As if I was doing anything other than sitting quietly at my desk, working. I used to work for a very big company in the City, and one day it was announced that the very flamboyant chairman, known for speaking to everyone, even the amoeba like myself, was going to tour the whole building the next day to meet and greet. Reader, I bunked off, because I was scared I would embarass myself by blushing.
You might think that this means I am chronically shy. That's never been the case. It is to do with self-consciousness, and when you attract attention to yourself by blushing easily, it becomes even more of a handicap. Later in my career I was an in-business trainer, and my blushes were a standing joke among my trainees. I believe there was a department (mainly men) who would come to individual sessions with me and report back to the team on how much they made me blush.
I can vividly remember numerous occasions where I would feel a blush coming on. In personal or professional situations. And my mouth would go dry, and my heartbeat would speed up, because I was panicking about blushing. And the more I panicked the more I blushed. And it is surprising how many people found fit to comment.
Trainees, colleagues, friends, family, family in law. I had a boss who would notice me blushing silently over no idea what - possibly just some memory from deep in my past - and would draw the rest of my team's attention to me. Immature? Yes. Bullying? Yes. Did it help? No.
It stopped being as much of a problem relatively recently, though there are occasions when I curse myself for blushing at times when I am in no way embarassed or uncomfortable. I am pretty aware of what has happened to get it under control, but it's not something I will go into here, right now.
My latest parenting goal, however, will be to do my damndest to ensure that self-consciousness is not an issue for my daughters. I won't be able to stop them blushing, but I hope I will be able to help them feel confident, and good enough about themselves, to give them a fair start.