Owning my limitations

I have a confession, and anyone who knows me will appreciate how difficult it is for me to say these words. I think I may have some limitations. When they read this blog, my husband and my dad will probably read the italicised sentence a few times, just to make sure they read it correctly. I hate admitting I can’t do things. Quite frankly, failure makes me feel weak and pathetic, and instead of learning from these experiences and moving on, I persevere until I’m certain it can’t be done.

Alison has recently started nagging me to teach her how to use a skipping rope and hula hoop. As I have serious coordination issues, I can’t do either, and it makes me feel stupid. I fob her off with ‘someone else will teach you’, but sooner or later she will want a straight answer to these questions and just like that, I will be forced to once again accept my shortcomings while hating myself just a little inside.

There was, of course, a time when I was completely oblivious to what my limitations were. Here are some of these times. Rest assured that I am sitting here blushing behind the glow of my laptop screen.

  • I love writing, as in writing things down by hand. To feel the pen glide (or dart when you have involuntary movements) across the page is one of my guilty pleasures. Alas, my handwriting makes the doctor’s worst scribbles easily legible. As a child, I loved writing in notebooks and diaries (as all little girls do) and fought tirelessly with my parents because I couldn’t see why I couldn’t write like the other kids. I wrote all of my Leaving Cert notes by hand because that’s how I remember things best. My parents cruelly forced me to use a computer and laptop instead. Sure, doing so enabled me to go to university after doing my Leaving Cert, but that’s not the point. I will never admit they were right (pig-headed, moi)?
  • I spent about a month when I was eight trying to cycle a normal two-wheeled bike with stabilisers that Santa had brought me. It was only after about seven falls, countless bruises and a deep scrape that went from my thigh to my ankle that it dawned on me that this wasn’t going to work.
  • I tried both skipping and French skipping in the playground. These trials didn’t last long as I didn’t know how to jump. After a while, I gave up, but I wasn’t very happy about it.
  • I was never good at knitting or sewing, but I kick ass at weaving, as I discovered in second class. The teacher gave me a weaving loom, and with that I wove a scarf, a headband and a purse. However, when I took Home Economics in first year in school, I was given the task of making a collage while the other girls did their cross stitching and used the sewing machines. The experience scarred me to the extent that I can’t bring myself to make a collage with Ali.
  • I remember getting brochures in school about really cool summer camps that included activities such as skating, bungee jumping, Qazar, water fights, football, basketball and hurling. My parents would look at each other and my mother would say, in a suspiciously bright voice, ‘How would you like to go to a better summer camp, where you can even sleep over?’ This place was Clochan House, a respite centre for people with disabilities just like me. They couldn’t go skateboarding either, but once I overlooked the fact that I hadn’t gotten my own way, I enjoyed myself and even nabbed meself a husband! Best camp ever! (bet you’re sorry now, eh dad?)
  • I took guitar lessons in TY much to the amusement of my classmates. At the end of a three month course, I could play E minor. I’m ashamed to say that in my family, at least four of us can play the guitar. I am not one of them.
  • Much to my disappointment and relief, I will never be a slave to fashion. High heels and me = disaster. In an effort to look elegant I wore high –heeled shoes to my school grad. They came off within ten minutes as I fell over for the fiftieth time. I looked pissed, and I desperately wished I had been, but no.
  • I think my mum wet herself the day that I announced that I was going to try and get a weekend job in the Bridge House or something, as a waitress, to supplement my college income. ‘Er, your studies are far more important’, she insisted through her tittering. Hmmph.

There are times when having so many limitations can be a real pain in the ass, and it does get me down sometimes, especially when Alison asks me to skip, climb and run after her. But then I think, no, I’m not exactly like every other mum in the playground, why should I be? Time to focus on the positive:

        • I have a handsome husband and beautiful daughter
        • I can work, write and spend time with my family (although I’m still working on the balance)
        • I have a degree from Trinity College, where I learned to live independently
        • I love, and am grateful for, my life at the moment.

Don’t get me wrong, the way I am wired means that I’ll probably always be pushing the boundaries, trying to achieve the most unrealistic goals. If I achieve them, I will be delighted, and if I don’t, I’ll come to terms with that too.

But I won’t know until I try.

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4 thoughts on “Owning my limitations

  1. As usual your words are thought provoking and humorous while getting your point across. Well done. Great piece ☺️

  2. Sarah, I found this very humorous as usual. Your Ali may not have a cart wheeling mum but what you lack in physicality you 1 million times make up for, in your super duper intellect and mothering skills. She is one luck little lady!!

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