Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Fail, Fail, Win: Beginning to Accept Disability (complete with stickers!)

Some days, I am not good at being a grown up. This is shocking, I realize. Today seems to be one of those days.

As the Australian school year starts back, many of my jobs  swing back into full steam and this was the case today. I think the fail began when I forgot to wear my butterfly hair clips. I definitely failed worse when I had already started driving to work and realized I had forgotten the classroom keys. Then - there was the ultimate moment of failure. 

Dear internet, nobody can be an effective educator unless they employ the use of stickers. 

I had, of course, left my stickers at home. 


I considered for a brief moment explaining to the five year olds that they couldn't get stickers this week, but I would have them next week. The image was not peaceful. I might as well have said I killed the Easter bunny. So, I did the grown-up thing, and stopped at the overpriced news stand and bought some sheets of stickers. 

These suckers cost me almost 15 dollars. 

You've done something like this before. Don't lie to me. Particularly if you are a parent, you have done something like this before and sort of kicked yourself for not being more organized. Maybe you have run out of nappies/diapers and had to pay a million dollars and your left arm for ones at the all-night pharmacy. Maybe you have had to buy formula, like Pediasure, because you have left yours at home and you can just see it; in your mind's eye -  sitting in bulk - at home, and there is nothing you can do about it. Or maybe, just maybe, you've even forked out the money to go to the cinema and you are paying for snacks at the snack bar - just to see your kids happy. (Or to shut them up and stop them whining). (Or because you actually really wanted the popcorn). 

We do things like this for lots of reasons. Occasionally we fail at life and being a grown up. Sometimes we fail for good reasons. Today? I think I was distracted. Recently, I wrote "Dear Internet - I am an Idiot", and (excuse my German) but things have really been scheisse lately. That's the truth of it - there's no way to make it rainbow and bubbly.  There's no need to sugar coat it because what is the point in being dishonest? It has sucked. But, I have learned something I knew all along.

People do want to help you with your load. Think about this: when you see someone struggling with a heavy bag, or carrying lots of groceries, or struggling to push the pram while carrying the nappy bag, the other toddler and all the other paraphanelia - do you want to sit there and just watch? Or do you want to help? Even if you are unable to help, do you not want to do something to help?
(Please tell me the answer is you want to help...else we may need to have some more chats... I do have a background in psychology after all...)
Once people agree to share the load, very rarely do they pass you over the whole load. More often, we just give over something small - the lightest bag. It's like the grocery bag with the bread and the tissues in it. 

And it's a start. Maybe it just makes your load more manageable - even if your load is heavy, it might be less awkward; more balanced. Soon, they may insist on taking another bag. Or someone might even push the child's pram. Sometimes, when you are tired, people are sneaky - they take some of the load... and you don't even realize they have done it. It's okay for some others to even take the whole load for a little while - between even just a few people the load is so much more lighter and more manageable. Rome wasn't built in a day and it was not built by one single person.
So, now, I am feeling better. Genuinely and truthfully, I am feeling better than when I wrote the other week. Because do you know what I have realized? There is a lot that is going on right now that really sucks.

I have also realized something else.

I have a disabling illness.

And -

It's not my fault.

And -

I am also very able.

And -

I am really, really loved.

And for that: I am winning.

Sometimes you need to re-learn things you have known all along.

So I will reward myself. Not all stickers are for 5 year olds.

These ones? These are all mine, baby. If loving Scooby-Doo stickers counts as failing as a grown up, then I'm not sure why you would want to be winning.
Tell me: go on, tell me, you know you want to. When have you had a "grown up" fail?
Never forget to share the load.


  1. I'd like to think I'd help carry someone else's load. When I don't, it hangs with me a long time. Like two weeks ago I saw this guy walking along the side of the road and it was snowing here. I felt like I should have stopped to offer him a ride, but I had my almost 18yo daughter with me, and I just couldn't risk it. It still bugs me.

    Wanted to also tell you my dad has a form of aphasia called dysnomia (he has trouble coming up with nouns and named for things). It happened 20+ years ago when he had a stroke at the age of 63. He has a PhD from Columbia University and had to learn how to read all over again.

    (Visiting from Love That Max and sharing back some comment love!)

    1. The fact that it even occurs to you to want to help to carry a stranger's load, makes me think you would help to carry someone else's load.
      Also thanks for telling me about your dad :) I'm working on updating my blog at the moment so there are some more informative pages about me (because I'm just that interesting!)