A Klutz's Conundrum

I struggle with what’s not so commonly referred to as ‘Self-harming Klutz Syndrome’. What this means is that on any given day, I’ll be doing something like- washing the dishes- for example, and chaos will erupt, seemingly out of nowhere.

See, I’ll be standing there at the sink as scorching hot water is poured into a pan that is coated with stuck food, and my brain will naturally tell my body,

“Keep your hands out of the hot water, it’ll burn you”,

The problem is, almost as soon as that thought is completed my “oh so defiant” subconscious, (I’m not sure if it’s really my subconscious doing this to me, but that’s what I’m blaming for now), has already decided that it’s going to cause my hands to randomly flip the pan over, and not just a gentle flip, like a sudden, violent flip that is backed with so much force, that it causes the scorching hot water to fly out of the sink and pour all down the front of my shirt,..... scalding me.

Now, to someone looking on, they’d probably witness that and think, “Dear Lord Tara, you need to be more careful.” But see, THAT is exactly where my frustration lies.

I was being careful, or so my brain thought, but for some inexplicable reason, that I have not yet figured out, my body does exactly what my brain told it NOT to do. Typically resulting in an injury of some sort, or maybe just an entire slew of messes.

Here’s another example, one of my favorites, that tends to happen more often than I care to admit.

I’ll be walking into the living room with a full glass with some form of liquid like staining red juice, milk, or water, in my hand, and my brain will spot the table beside the couch and then say to me,

Sit down and gently put the glass on the table beside the couch.”

OK, simple enough, so as I’d sit down, I’d lean over and gently place the glass of full liquid on the table. All’s good, right? WRONG! Because in one swift motion, as I’d go to return my hand back to my side, it’ll suddenly smack the glass, of course knocking it askew and causing it’s once calm and contained liquid, to projectile vomit…. everywhere,

and I do mean EVERYWHERE.

It’ll be running all down the walls, down the back of the table, down the couch, down me, down my husband sitting in the chair beside me, and typically ultimately collecting all over something valuable that’s on the floor below like, my Bible, or my husband’s books, our Laptop. (That thing has escaped so many near death by spills, I’ve lost count!)

Anyway, it ALWAYS happens this way. I have tried so hard to set that glass down nicely, and sometimes succeed without incident, but again- due to some force of nature that is out to destroy me, every so often my retreating hand will make an unexpected jolt sending that glass and its contents, sailing.

Again, to the onlooker (usually my husband), I look like a total flailing fool who does not pay attention to her surroundings, but that’s just not the case! I really, consciously, try super hard to do the right thing, but I can’t control when my subconscious decides it’s time to sabotage things for me.

I realize both those examples involved liquid so let me give you one last scenario that doesn’t include catastrophic, staining messes, and will also help explain further as to why I have labeled this syndrome to be ‘self-harming’. (Oh yes, I should mention that it’s me who named this issue the ‘Self-harming Klutz Syndrome’.)

Yesterday, as I was collecting my two children, their two back packs, and my own personal bags, while trying to make a clean exit out of the side door of our house to the car, my brain again, as it does each morning, said to me,

“Be careful not to catch your heel on the bottom of the screen door as it shuts”.

First, let me quickly explain why my brain reminds me of this each morning. What it’s saying is that I need to be sure I remember to push the screen door open extra hard in order to allow time for me to lock the main door behind me, pull the key out cleanly, and then shove myself and all of the kids and baggage through the opening fast enough, so the screen door can slam back to its resting place without catching a chunk of my left heel as it rushes by.

So going back to the story, after getting teed up and hearing my brain give me the quick pep-talk, I grabbed my daughter and all our bags, opened the door and give it the proper nudge, with what I felt was the right amount of force needed to allow me enough time to exit, however, just as I thought I had made a clean escape, my subconscious suddenly decided to tell my hand not to crank hard enough on the key in order to lock the main door quickly and then pull the key free so, naturally, (as all things like this happen), in an unfortunate series of split second events, my hand held onto the key just a second too long, causing the final seconds of me picking up my left foot to clear the bottom of the screen door, to be just a second too short and WHAM…..

Say hello to the new two inch gash on my ankle that has now made it's little home right next to the ever growing scar from previous encounters with that dang door.


Why, when I try so hard to be so careful, and so aware, and so gentle, why do all of the odds just turn against me and cause me to fail?

If you thought I was going to answer that question, well, you’re sorely mistaken (pun intended) because I have no earthly clue.

Being a klutz is a conundrum. One that I am unsure anyone can ever, truly explain….only simply relate to.

It has to be one of the most frustrating, life-long issues that I, and those who are like me, have to deal with.

So, I just thought that if those reading this are possibly one of the ‘outsiders’ who is forced to watch people such as myself do seemingly avoidable, stupid things, and is unsure as to HOW it’s even possible, well… my hope is that these examples I gave you help you see- WE DON’T KNOW EITHER, but trust us when we say, if we could choose to not be like this… we WOULD!!!

Lastly, I want to say something to my patient husband who has had to deal with crinkled up book pages from water spills, continually jumping to action before I nearly fry the laptop, or going on emergency runs to the store for Band-Aids (because for some reason we always seem to be out of them when major blood bath incidences occur), such as the time I accidentally cut our child’s little finger when my brain knew to lower my shear-bearing hand DOWN as he threw his pudgy hands UP to feel his fresh haircut, only to do so in a perfectly timed moment that resulted in me slicing his finger open causing an insane amount of bleeding that wouldn’t stop. (That was a bad one, which hurt me more emotionally than physically because of my crying son.)

Anyway (took rabbit trail there, sorry)….. The point is, I’m trying to say THANK YOU, baby, for not binding me up in a straight-jacket and throwing me into the loony bin after one of the umpteenth times an untimely “klutz moment” has occurred.

I swear I’m trying hard. I’ve started to put lids on my drinking cup, and carrying less things out of the door at a time, so your patience is extremely appreciated while I continue to struggle along every day, pondering the question as to why my brain wants to protect me, but my subconscious wants to destroy me.

Alas, my love, this is an eternal battle being a ‘Self Harming Klutz’ that will be ever raging, and now as he grows older, has seemingly been passed down to our son. (I am sorry about that one.)

Just, please keep taking those deep breaths and remind yourself, when needed, that your rewards will be plentiful….... up in Heaven!!!!

To all the other ‘Self-Harming Klutz’s” out there… I just want to say…..

"We’ve got this! "

So, pick yourselves back up off the floor that you just slipped and fell on (over nothing)- straighten your now stained shirt, and mush on! (Just make sure you don’t mush right into the door frame…. those can be tricky at times!)