When I was 13 years old, I took my younger brother’s skateboard for a ride. Not really having any skills, balance or business being on such a thing, I rode anyway. Slow and wobbly to start, I soon found my footing and picked up speed. As I curved around a park on a paved path, I remember thinking, “Hey! This isn’t so hard. Maybe I should do this more often. Maybe this should be my thing. I should skateboard.” I’m sure what followed next in my mind was visions of the cool skateboarding friends I’d make and, more importantly, the new awesome wardrobe that would come with such a hobby in 1985. Visions of Vans and Jams danced in my head or clearly something did as I hit a tree-lined section of the path lost control of the board and landed on the pavement squarely on my tailbone. The tailbone bruise is a special kind of hell that nothing can extinguish. I even used this bump on my backside as an excuse to get out of a myriad of unsavory tasks for years to come- “I’d love to take that geometry test but my tailbone has rendered me useless.” Anyway, I tell this story not to inspire you to fall on your tailbone and get back up again. No. I’m taking this bumpy trip down memory lane to remind myself that every time I start to believe I’ve got it down and don’t need help, I fall on my ass.
I’ve recently started a new gig which routinely places me in a line of fire of not knowing everything, asking questions and making a ton of fuck ups. Luckily, I’m not diffusing bombs or doing heart surgery. But still, it’s embarrassing. After years of working alone in my pajamas, I’m now expected to show up, play by somebody else’s rules and operate in a totally foreign environment. Yesterday, I just couldn’t get anything right. Even simple stuff and the more frustrated I got, the worse things became. And before I knew it, the afternoon and my work in it was a comedic hot mess.
This shit show of a shift came as a surprise as earlier in the day, I thought, “Hey! This isn’t so hard. They’ll probably want me to be in charge here.” And just like that, I was back on my tailbone. Ouch.com.
My first instinct is to beat myself for not being perfect which is ridiculous. I’ve only done said gig 4 times and sporadically. And I’m a human being. I screw up. It’s kind of what we do. Worse case scenario is these little errors really tick them off and they ask me not to come back. That would suck for sure but it wouldn’t be the end of the world. This is a highly unlikely outcome for my screw ups but if it happens so be it. Falling on my ass hurts the tailbone but for extreme narcissists like me it really bruises our gigantic egos. And thank god for that. I need a steady stream of messages in humility that say, “Slow down. It is okay if you don’t know everything.” Bruises don’t get better if I dwell on them, however. The best I can do is let myself fall, learn from my bruises and then finally pick myself up and do it all over again.