I hate messing up. I really, really do.
It doesn't have to be a big mistake. I don't have to burn anything down or fall on my face or hurt someone's feelings. It just has to be something that I think I could've/would've/should've done better than I did. Spilling a drink at the dinner table, driving over a curb, calling someone by the wrong name.
It makes me feel foolish and inadequate, and I feel like, somehow, it identifies me. As if that person will only ever know me that way -- the drink spiller, the bad driver, the idiot-who-calls-me-Larry-when-my-name-is-Dave. My cheeks burn and I immediately feel tears well up. No one even has to see the mistake for it to happen either. It is one of the absolute weirdest things about me. I know that there are probably deep-seeded reasons for it, but it makes me feel ridiculous.
I'm even embarrassed about feeling embarrassed right now.
I messed something up today at work while I was at a training. I made a work mistake when I wasn't even at work. I mean... who does that? It wasn't huge. It wasn't on purpose. But when I realized it, I almost had to leave the room because it upset me so much. Because it would have embarrassed me more to leave, however, I didn't. The person who alerted me to my mistake told me "It's okay. It happens." And, in my logical brain, I know that's true. But my tear ducts don't talk nicely with my logical brain.
It has always been difficult for me to just "let it go". I don't want to be the girl who caused a problem at work when she wasn't even at work. I've known for a long time that this isn't normal for other people, and I've always theorized that maybe I freak about the tiny things because the big things seem far too big to muster up enough freaked-outedness to properly apply.
I've developed coping strategies over the years -- making a self-deprecating joke, allowing myself a 5-minute cry, or forcing a big, deep laugh. It feels weird to force a big, deep laugh, but it's hard to sob if you're laughing. And sometimes a forced laugh becomes a real laugh, and that, too, is far better than scarlet cheeks and watery eyes.
Especially when you're far from the exit.