My grandpa Bob passed away a little over three years ago, and yet I still remember vivid details about him. Like the way he would gently say “Easy now” to anyone acting a little too rough. Actually, that was his response for a lot of situations – when his wife shouted bossy commands, when my siblings and I fought, when someone cut him off in traffic. I can sometimes hear his soft words as if he’s still right next to me telling me to just take it easy. And although I have so many other fond memories of my grandpa; I think that “easy now” is my favorite because it’s something that reminds me to calm down and be kind to myself and others just as he was.
One thing that I’ve learned about myself is that I am my biggest critic. I am not easy on myself in the least. I thought about this at a recent visit to Starbucks. (which is a place I fear Joy and I are mentioning a little too much in our recent posts – doublevision blog is not getting any coffee kickbacks from sbux, although I can’t promise we’d refuse….) It was even busier than usual with crowds of people waiting for their beverages and four busy baristas doing some serious hustling to fill drink orders. All of a sudden there was a large “crash” followed by a “splat”. The woman who had just walked up to the counter to claim her drink had dumped her iced beverage everywhere. All over the counter where customers pick up their orders, all over the floor in front of that counter – ice and liquid traveling quickly across the floor. A barista came scurrying out with a mop and the rest of them continued making drinks. I was mortified for the poor woman who had knocked her drink over. As I watched her, I soon realized that I was seemingly more embarrassed for her than she was, which I think says a lot about me. Perhaps she was more humiliated than she showed on the surface, but her only response to this mess was to casually tell the barista “Sorry about that”, and then proceeded to give them her drink order again so they could replace the spilled beverage. If I had accidentally knocked over my drink in this same fashion, I am certain my face would have been red as beets for at least 15 minutes, and I’m not entirely sure I would have stuck around to wait for a replacement drink. I would have cursed RP in my head for “making” me have the accident and maybe there would have been a few tears when I got home.
Thinking back, there have been other accidents that I’ve witnessed – my husband bumping a wine glass over at a fancy restaurant, a friend tripping at the park, a cousin stepping on our poor little dog. None of these people had vision problems, and yet they still had accidents. I know that when these accidents occurred, these people felt bad and a bit embarrassed, but I don’t recall any of them being mortified over these mistakes like I would have been. I think I’ve let myself feel a lot of unneccessary shame about RP, which has caused me to be so hard on myself when I make mistakes – vison-related or not.
Oddly enough, I started working on this post about taking it easy before I read Joy’s recent posts. And after reading all the comments, especially the “mom guilt” ones, it turns out that I’m not the only one that is a little too hard on myself. In some ways I find that comforting, but it also makes me sad to think there are so many of us carrying around unneccessary guilt and shame over accidents. After all, if we’re this hard on ourselves, how can we expect to have grace for those around us?
So the next time I make a mistake, vision-related or not, I am going to try my best to remember to take a deep breath and whisper “easy now”.