“She could burn herself on a cold tap”. That’s what my mum and gran used to say about me when I was a kid. I say it about my own daughter these days. But it’s still true for me too!
I’m one of life’s clumsy people! I like to think that it’s because I have so much intelligence up there in my brain, there’s no room for simple basic practicality ;)
Actually, the more I think of it, the more I could convince myself of this to be true. There are many examples of “a few sandwiches short of a picnic” moments in my life relating to practical life!
But thanks to my clumsiness, I did have a bit of an insightful “ah ha” moment very recently which I’d like to share with you.
Now, I really have had some awesome belters as a grown-ass woman. Like the time I ran into a large window in an office I used to work in. In front of everyone! It was winter and work had just finished. It was dark and had started snowing. Of course, there was a rush to the office windows to have a look.
I was no exception. Despite having grown up in countries where snow is pretty much a given every year, I still get excited when I see it!
I ran towards the window to have a look and…smack. And I mean proper smack! Now in my defence, I will say that there was double glazing and it was dark outside, which in my mind justifies the smacking as it was a little harder to judge where general space ended and glass began!
Oh, and what about the time in the nightclub in my 20’s?! On stage, dancing away, fell over and boom…turned it a cheeky dance move so no-one would notice. At least that’s how I imagined it went…
And it hasn’t really gotten much better. We took the kids to Zealandia recently. For those of you who don’t know Zealandia, it’s an ecosanctuary in Wellington with wild birds and small wild animals.
There are lots of little pathways surrounded by trees and foliage. A couple of times, Rob or one of the kids had walked on ahead for a minute or two, hid behind a tree and jumped out to scare the others.
Of course, I thought it would be a good idea to join in, after all, I’m the ‘sensible’ mum who spends most of the time on outings like this making sure no-one hurts themselves! I walked on ahead a little. Turned to make sure everyone else was distracted. Then put my pedal to the metal (pushed off at full velocity to run as fast I possibly could) and as I turned back around to ensure I hadn’t been seen…yeah…you guessed it. I face/body planted a giant tree trunk, at about.. well at least 30kmph I'm sure. I mean there were bruises!
And whilst there have been multiple incidents in between. The most recent one was where I had my insight.
Last weekend was my friend’s housewarming and Rob and I were taking the kids round. My friend has a ‘thing’ for collecting cool teapots! I love it! So obviously I was going to find her the most random looking funky teapot I could find.
As Jaya, Niamh and I hunted for a teapot we discovered that what I wanted just wasn’t in any of the shops in town! I remembered the local garden centre. It has a great gift shop area as you walk in. Yes, they would have a random funky teapot.
By the time we got to the carpark, the girls were feeling all shopped out and decided to stay in the car while I quickly popped in. I hadn’t had my daily coffee hit so thought it would be a good opportunity to order a take away from the garden centre’s café, go get the teapot round the corner while my coffee was being made, then grab the coffee and back to the car! But it didn’t quite go to plan…
I found and purchased a pretty spectacular looking teapot, if I do say so myself. And as I turned to head towards the café, the two girls, who had abandoned the car, came running down the gift shop, laughing and calling me as they came. I thought I would be funny. So I started to run and wave my hands about as the girls chased me! “You can’t catch me…suuuuuuuckers” I shouted back at them. They had almost caught me up when I entered the café area. The one with the concrete floor. That you really shouldn’t run on. Especially wearing boots with a bit of a heel.
But I did. And yes…all of a sudden, my feet slid from under me and I crashed, rather unladylike on to the concrete floor. In the middle of the café. Right beside all the people sat at the tables eating their lunch. And it was pretty full that day.
Luckily, I saved the teapot! The girls came up laughing their heads off. Everyone was looking at me in that way where you see someone fall and for just one moment you don’t know where to look/whether to laugh! Of course, I was laughing too. You don’t get to forty-two having a spent a life-time of being clumsy not to laugh when you do something this stupid.
Besides I still had to walk through the rest of the café and get the take-away coffee I’d ordered. Which of course, wasn’t ready yet! “I guess I’ll just stand here, in front of everyone then…”
Needless to say, I walked out of the café area a little slower than I had entered. “Just keep upright..”
About twenty minutes later I started to ache. My wrist where my bangles had smashed against it. My other wrist that had been flung into some weird shape to save the teapot. My tailbone, my thigh, my ankle!
Along with the aches though, I had a bit of reflection. You see I wasn’t at all embarrassed. Not in any of the previous examples, not in the examples I’ve not told you about (and I can assure you there are several and many!). And not in this case.
I pondered on this. I decided that subconsciously I really didn’t care, not one bit about how I was being perceived. And that’s it, isn’t it? You see I was basing my opinion on my perception of how others were perceiving me. And I must have thought on some level that I wasn’t being perceived by them in a negative light.
Sure, they may have thought I was drunk or high…running around the garden centre, laughing…apparently to myself. After all, the girls were round the corner, and not yet in view of these people until I was actually in a dazed heap on the ground. I'm okay with that.
Anyway, if me feeling embarrassed about a situation or assuming I’ve been seen in a negative light by others is mostly just created in my own head (what I think other people think rather than what they actually think), surely then, I’m the one judging myself!!! Am I projecting my beliefs and values over everyone else, even though they don’t know it? And using this to conclude how they feel? Am I judging them, judging me, even when they might not be???
Wow, that’s a lot of overthinking that happens in a split second!
What if I could apply how I felt in the garden centre to all those other times I have felt judged? like when I have just met someone for the first time or given a talk and gone over the conversation/talk in my head, chastising myself in case I “sounded like a dick”.
Now, of course there will be times I do sound like/behave like and/or look like a dick. Sometimes like all three! Yeah, true story, it happens ;)
But for the most part, what if I could take that basic garden centre insight and apply it to other areas. What if I could take a moment when I feel like I’m being negatively judged, without anyone actually opening their mouths, and ask myself…how much of this is my shit? How much am I projecting? Why am I judging myself so harshly? Why I have decided I am a mind-reader?!!!
So, I’m going to try harder to apply this “garden centre” principle to my everyday life. I think it’s one of the keys to the art of not giving a fuck!