Whether struggling to put a seat belt on or not understanding a cash register at work, I face numerous situations that leave me feeling defeated and ashamed. I hate looking stupid or incompetent. When others are around and (potentially) judging me, giving myself the grace to make an error becomes even more challenging.
“I’m not an idiot.” I repeat that phrase to myself daily. Is it because I truly believe it, or is it what I want to think?
Sometimes the mistakes I make can be attributed to my ditsy side. Other times, my desire for perfection and fear of making someone upset makes me so anxious that I struggle to focus. Interestingly, my struggles can also be traced back to sensory overload. When someone else is talking in the same room, I struggle to hear anyone speaking to me. If an item isn’t exactly where it should be, I can search fruitlessly as all the other objects around me start to overwhelm my brain. Or if I try to do a task in a new order, I often stumble over my words or forget an essential component of the task.
Sometimes people act me like I’m an airhead, but absent-minded would really be a better descriptor for me. That or clutter-brained. My mind is certainly not a void; it is full of creative ideas, trails of useless information, and an attempt to comprehend the overload of stimuli around me at every moment. I have so much clamoring for attention inside my head that I sometimes freeze or look clueless. My head doesn’t know how to process everything inside of me.
As I’ve matured, slowing down my thoughts or at least overlooking some has become simpler. People have also become more willing to see me as quirky and intelligent instead of weird and dumb. Yet, this is a process to deal with my own mind that continues every day.
So the next time I feel incompetent, I am going to try to slow down and see what is bothering me. Is there noise near me, a change in my routine, or some other challenge that is making me stumble? Knowing how to confront these takes time. However, I am willing to take a chance and try.
Trying has gotten me this far, after all. Going further yet is certainly possible.