My Dyspraxia

a foot bridge with missing planks

Dyspraxia comes in two flavors. I have experience with both:

Physical: If you are graceful, it is because you practiced your moves. You, early on, sucked more than most people at sports. People on the playground made fun of you. You may have to work hard for physical confidence because quite often, when you needed it the most, your body betrayed you.

Mental: You may have a hard time carrying out an unfamiliar plan.

Behind you is most likely a trail of unfinished projects.

If you have accomplished anything substantial, it is because you developed systems for finding and remembering things. You are, most likely, a very disciplined person and a prolific writer of lists.

Whether it’s a difficult conversation, a physical maneuver, an artistic endeavor, or a career change, a person can’t follow through on a plan if the information she needs scrambles or disintegrates before she reaches her goal.

I think of plans like rope bridges, the beginning on one side of a chasm and the end on the other.

When I am attempting a previously untried or especially ambitious project, I can see the other side, picture the end product, know the desired result.

I clearly see the first few planks of bridge beneath my feet, I know the rest of the bridge exists because I have seen others cross over.

I step out boldly. I make it partway across, confident and firmly committed… but then…I run out of bridge. Now, standing right over the deep yawning mouth of nothing, I am paralyzed. It becomes monumentally difficult to figure out what to do next. From my precarious vantage over the abyss, there is no next step.

There are people in my life who have stood next to me and with patience and encouragement talked me the rest of the way to the other side. These people and experiences are as rare and valuable as white tigers.

More often, the terrifying obstacle was mirrored back by those around me as frustration, derision, ultimatum and punishment.

The more common experience is the one that imprints itself on the brain. And it is frustration, derision, ultimatum and punishment that I heap upon myself whenever I run out of bridge. Asking for help is almost as terrifying as the journey itself.  Too often I have had to crawl as gracefully as I could back to the beginning side of the chasm, defeated.

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