Is being Clumsy Hereditary… or am I just a Klutz?
Yesterday I was at my daughter’s school having a chat with her teacher. “She seems to always be complaining that she has hurt herself,” he remarked. “Is everything okay at home? Or is she just attention seeking?” My heart started to beat wildly and my eyes stared down at the floor. How would I tell him? Would he understand? Did it even sound plausible?
The truth was a simple one. My poor daughter is just like her mother and her grandmother and her great grandfather before her. She has what I call ‘Clumsiaitus’. It’s not contagious, it comes with few symptoms and most people can live normally with their affliction… but it’s annoying as hell.
“Errr, the thing is that she IS always hurting herself,” I said. It sounded dodgy even to me, but it’s the truth. She comes from a long line of clumsy people.
The amount of bruises on my daughter’s legs is enough to make any teacher or doctor suspicious. My seven year old could trip over a feather. She’s fearless and makes stupid decisions like any young child, so yes they all fall, but she still does things most normal people don’t. Open the car door on to her own face? Run away from her sister straight into a wall and make her nose bleed? Twist her ankle when simply walking and then insist on a bandaged leg for eternity? That was all in the space of 48 hours! I’ve had her eyes, ears, balance and general well-being tested. She’s fine. She’s just clumsy. And as much as scientific research says otherwise… I think it simply runs in my family.
I am incredibly clumsy. When I go to a family member’s home for dinner they serve wine in short glasses because I always, and I mean always, knock at least one over – maybe even two or three after I’ve had a drink. I drop things, a lot. I fall over, which is not a good look for a woman in her late thirties. And I manage to hurt myself in the most stupid of ways…
– I poked myself in my own eye while driving once. It took weeks to heal.
– I dropped the hairdryer on my own foot last week.
– I fell down the stairs while carrying both children a few years ago, resulting in me needing crutches (luckily the kids were fine)
– I can’t tell you how many heels of how many shoes I have broken…
– …or the amount of dog mess I have stepped in.
– I walk into walls, doors and always underestimate the width of my arse
– I shut my finger in a gate
– And I drop things on to my head. A lot. (I’m quite short and I do a lot of jumping at things on shelves).
It’s non-stop. And I think I know why.
A short while ago I wrote an article about being a High Octane Woman. Now, if you know what that entails then my clumsiness may make more sense. I have more energy than most, in fact I am so highly charged that I get electric shocks every time I shut the car door. So how does that make me clumsy?
Well, it means I am never actually concentrating on anything that I am doing. Because my mind is like a computer screen with ten thousand tabs open all at once. For instance, if am filling a hot water bottle up I am rarely thinking of the hot water bottle… I am more than likely ten steps ahead thinking of the other million items on my ‘To-Do’ list. So I pour water on to my hand (that was last week).
And I think that’s where my daughter goes wrong too. Doing one thing and already thinking of ten million things at once. She will pass you something and walk away before making sure you have a hold of it, and therefore drop it. She also falls off her chair every bloody dinner time because she’s only half on it, because she is only half interested in her dinner, because she’s already thinking about going off to play.
Or I can just blame my mum, her grandmother, who holds the record in our family for the most ridiculous ways to hurt yourself:
There was the time she stood on a stool to take the frozen chicken out of the freezer and it fell on her head, giving her a black eye.
Or the time that she fell over outside the supermarket with a full trolley of groceries, tipped it over and landed beneath it scattering her handbag and food all over the pavement. Luckily, the young men running towards her helped her up and didn’t run off with her purse.
Or the time that she nudged herself while applying mascara and poked herself in the eye and ended up having minor surgery to fix a torn retina full of makeup. Actually, she’s done that twice.
Clumsy people could easily be advised to avoid driving or handling hot drinks, but we all need to eat and wear make up for goodness sake!
But don’t worry if this sounds like you too… all is not lost, there IS a way to reduce your clumsiness. Here is what you can do to stop being such a klutz:
1. See a Doctor
Firstly ensure that your clumsiness is not due to any medical condition. Eye sight, ear problems, lifestyle choices and neurological disorders like Multiple Sclerosis can all impact on your co-ordination, balance and spatial awareness. So if your clumsiness is seriously worrying you or affecting your life then seek medical help and don’t laugh it off.
2. Sleep more
Sleep deprivation affects your hand to eye co-ordination and concentration levels – just ask a new mum who hasn’t slept in six months. But the good news is that no matter how many nights of sleep you have missed out on, you only need one good night to recharge yourself. So rest when you can… or don’t handle any dangerous machinery until your child is in college!
3. Stay calm
Anxiety can cause clumsiness. Stress is also a serious issues that should not be taken lightly. Our very own The Duchess has talked about her struggles with anxiety and ways that you can manage it. An abnormally stressed nervous system can act erratically and can cause muscle-control and movement problems, as well as extreme fatigue. So look into ways of managing your stress – be it with something simple like meditation or medication, or seeking help from a properly trained counselor.
4. Train your brain
It has been scientifically proven that some people are born with slower response times, therefore are more likely to fall over things they didn’t see or have a prang in the car. But luckily accident-prone people can train their brains to react faster and be more alert through online exercises like this one. Or through playing sports like tennis that can help you enhance your hand eye co-ordination as well as reaction times, or even snooker where you can develop your spatial awareness skills. Let’s face it, if you can pot the black you are more likely to be able to put your coffee on the table without missing!
5. Stay present
This is a pretty obvious answer but… concentrate. Get off your phone, look all around you when driving or walking, do one thing at a time and really be present in the moment and not daydreaming or worrying about the next thing. I don’t do any of those things and I have the scars and embarrassing memories to prove it. So maybe I should start practising what I preach?
And if all else fails just blame your lineage. After all, my grandfather famously cut off the end of his welly boot while mowing the lawn. He was fine though. He just put his grass-covered toe in a tissue and drove himself to the local doctor’s office where they treated him. Because if you are born as clumsy as we all are… you soon learn to toughen up!