This is a manifesto for all the clumsy people who always feel embarrassed when something disastrous occurs. Following these steps may not improve your clumsy nature, but it sure as hell will let you own it!
Laugh it out
When your clumsiness is in its prime, you just have to remember to laugh it out. I was my own Mii in a Mario Kart game – in my dream of course – and was taking the lead (obviously). Unfortunately, I was struck by a Red Shell and thrown off the edge in Rainbow Road, when in reality it was a rude awakening to realize I was also thrown out of my bed and came crashing down onto the floor… ouch is right. It gets even better! I tried to gracefully jump back into my bed, but due to my 4 ft 11 ¾ inch self and 8 inch bed risers, I slammed right into the side of the bed and met the floor again. I don’t know why I thought I was suddenly capable of jumping onto my bed. Not only did I wake up my roommates, but I greeted them with my graceful fall. I just lay there while we all hysterically laughed. Laughing it out made everyone in the room feel more comfortable with the situation, but who knew Mario Kart could cause so much pain in such little time?
Literally learn from it
Sometimes stupid decisions are just so dumb that all you can do is try to learn something from the situation. I completed my very first test in AP US History with a great first impression. One of the questions was: who led the Native American uprising in the Ohio River Valley in 1763? I was completely stuck and saw that my friend put an answer that started with a “P”, so I wrote down the first thing that popped into my mind. The correct answer was of course, Pontiac, but I of course put the whitest name possible – Patrick Henry. Let’s just say my teacher was not too fond of this answer. From this I learned to stop cheating and now that fact is imprinted in my brain forever.
Stick your landing
Being a klutz results in some complicated circumstances – like being tangled up in a tree. I love to snowboard, but sometimes I get a little too risky. My friend and I like to create our own glades, but this comes with consequences. I was simply riding and listening to music when I caught an edge, spun and actually rebounded off the tree and landed perfectly around 10 feet away from the scene. We almost peed our pants laughing too hard, and we got threatened to be kicked out of the park. On the bright side, however, I ended with a graceful twist. It was actually fantastic and sticking my landing (even if it was not on purpose) brought humor to the situation.
Take a bow
I was being questioned at an interview, and was asked what position I would like and why I would be good at it. I decided to respond with “anything that will strengthen my knowledge in production”, which is an amazing start. Less amazing is the fact that I did not know where I was going with that, so I ended the sentence “because I’m organized as f***”. Then to even make the situation better, when they said thanks for coming, I got up and tried to calmly push the chair back in, but ended up slamming the chair against the table, causing the entire room to have their eyes on me. I proceeded to literally take a bow and hey – I got the job. Luckily for me, students were the interviewers so it was not the end of the world.
Strike a pose
Sometimes taking a bow is the way to go, other times just striking a pose really brings the attention elsewhere – which can be a good thing. There is something about tryouts that gets to me. Whether it be sports or an interview, the clumsy tends to come out when people care the most. It was in the middle of the tryout when I decided to try to show some extra skill… well, bad idea. This is what I was supposed to do (skip to 1:35):
And this is what actually happened:
After this happened, I strutted my stuff and owned that hit, which made me internally stronger.
“Smile and wave boys”
Ever watched Madagascar? Well sometimes to make a streak of embarrassment shorter, you just have to “smile and wave boys, smile and wave”. Little sixth grade me with the Abercrombie zip up and zebra yoga pants (that I still wear) was just minding my own business taking the pacer test when I tripped over my shoelace, fell face first to the ground, and proceeded to have an asthma attack. GO ME!!! You can tell middle school me was extremely popular back in the day. I literally had to be taken out of the gym in a wheelchair. And no, they could not wait for the next class to start, the nurse had to push me while everyone was walking around the building. So, in this case, I said F it and just smiled at everyone and waved as if I was a queen in her throne.
“Just keep swimming”
Sometimes pretending like nothing happened and moving on is the way to go. Or, as Dory says, “just keep swimming”; my driver’s test being exhibit A. Since I’m lacking in the height department, the instructor told me that I could press a button to move my seat up. I saw two possible buttons. One that would move the seat up so I could reach the pedal, and the other – the button that opened the trunk. Luck was not on my side that day (or any day), because I pressed the latter. The trunk popped open and well… long story short, I failed. But, I knew I could not let it get to me, so I just got over it and passed it the next time.
“I meant to do that” attitude
Attitude means a lot in handling situations and keeping your head high will throw the judgy people right out of your mind. This experience is probably one many college students can relate to – spilling your food in the dining hall. To avoid extreme embarrassment from your clumsy actions, you have to own the incident and act like you meant to do it. It will surprisingly boost your confidence and lower your anxiety.
Own up to it
On the opposite side, owning up to the situation can be very difficult, but very rewarding. Once during my freshman year of high school, I was running late to class and carrying two large textbooks. Like something as big as this:
(but not as many textbooks; I’m not the strongest). Me being me, I tripped up the stairs and tried to catch myself falling. Instead, my two textbooks flew over the railing and soared two stories down, landing right on someone’s head. #oops. In utter embarrassment and actual concern for the other person, I owned up to my action and checked up on her. This made me feel better about injuring someone because of my inability to walk correctly.