There have been a series of small (and medium-sized) mishaps and mistakes on my part over the past couple days. Dropping the ball on social engagements, misplacing my keys multiple times in one day, a lost iWatch, one Nike shoe gone rogue, a forgotten suitcase, a misplaced prescription refill. I can rationalize why it’s happening: I’m working more, I’m traveling more, I’m sleeping less, and we’ve being living remotely for the past 75 days. Even so, I’m enjoying my work, I truly don’t mind the travel, I don’t necessarily feel tired, we have a great living situation with my in-laws, and a drama-free general contractor.
And yet, there are warning signs.
Lately, those small mistakes feel like little stones pelting my sense of self-worth. The littlest mistep is followed by a swift conclusion that if I don’t have my shit together, I will never accomplish any of my goals. My small successes? Just dumb luck. It’s not rational, but man it feels so true when I forget to drop off the mortgage check the third day in a row.
Last weekend, Joe and I stopped at the house to show our friends the renovation progress. As we were locking up, I couldn’t find my purse. It took a good 5 minutes of looking in the same place twice, only to find it was sitting on top of a stack of empty boxes, right in plain sight. Joe was sitting in the car waiting for me, and as I walked towards him I felt ashamed that I couldn’t find my purse…yet again. I wasn’t afraid of his reaction, I was afraid of being a burden. I got into the car and apologized for being so disorganized, so all over the place, for being a burden. All over a stupid PURSE.
He turned to me, unfazed and said, “I really don’t mind when you’re like this. It makes you human.” At that moment, I realized I was actively trying to hide parts of myself from the person I love most.
Sometimes we let our egos drive interactions with others. In projecting the best versions of ourselves, we think people will see us as we desire. I think that’s a reason it’s so hard to see ourselves clearly, and it’s so easy for us to see others for the traits they don’t see in themselves.
So, I’m going to not try so desperately to act like I have my shit together.
When I misplace my hotel key tomorrow (a likely scenario) I’m not going to stress about it. I will acknowledge these things are harder for me (a person with anxiety and ADHD), and recognize that even after all the reading and the therapy, I have to fight my own internal shame and stigma associated with the disability. I’m not going to apologize for who I am, and instead, let people get to know the side of me I wrestle with the most. Because as hard as I try to get my shit together, I am who I am: a scatterbrained but well-intentioned grown-ass woman. And that’s enough to do all the things I want to do in my lifetime.
BY Kate Arends - August 13, 2015
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.