With my disability comes a feeling of apprehension towards quite a few social situations. It all centres around the idea that I, in my immensely cumbersome chair, will immediately upset the balance of any tranquil environment – even if I’m literally doing nothing at all. This morning I had only one task that required me to venture outside, this being that I had to buy some first class stamps. Nine times out of ten this is a perfectly innocent engagement that is all done and dusted in the blink of an eye. Bear in mind that all I had to do was glide into the shop, ask for the stamps, pay for them and glide out again. Easy peasy.
I had never had any reason to buy my own stamps before, however, and although I’d discussed exactly what I needed with Mum earlier on I was still stupid enough to expect an imminent catastrophe. Of course, such a thing did not unfold, but reassurance that I could buy stamps in Superdrug at all only came when I saw a sticker on the till proclaiming rather conclusively that I could “buy first and second class stamps here”. Mere minutes later I was away, carrying my purchase and the ear to ear beams of the cashier with me. Thinking back over this and other situations has led me, within the last hour, to the simple fact that I am a massive wimp.
Everybody has at least a mild wimp somewhere inside them, as these are what lead us to fear such things as spiders and the dark. For me, however, it has been stronger on occasion. During the later stages of sixth form I’d get myself worked up through a worrying lack of logical thinking, as one of my English teachers once pointed out. It’d be clear that a situation posed absolutely no risk to me, and yet I could still be easily driven into a blind panic. This all developed from the fact that I wasn’t always very good at asking for help or advice where my work was concerned. If I didn’t have my planner to hand so that I could record whatever homework we’d been set, I’d just pray that my brain retained the instructions by itself. Time and time again, of course, it would fail me, meaning that my more reliable classmates were often badgered for the full details. Eventually, in English and Media, the aforementioned teacher had to write my homework for one half term down on paper so that I couldn’t pester her again either. All of this could have been easily prevented had I simply opened my trap and asked for what I needed to know.
I think of this now that I’ve left education, and especially when I’m sending emails to potential employers. To click the “send” button is to make a miniature breakthrough. I’ve made an enquiry and when the reply comes, my mind is instantly put totally at ease. I know that only good can come from being proactive, even if it is only a small step I’m taking, and with each one – or so I hope – I’m getting just a little bit closer to being a little bit less wimpy, indoors as well as outdoors. Don’t confuse that with being outspoken, though – I still like to take my time before making bigger decisions…