Growing up, I was known as the family klutz. My parents loved to tell everyone about the multiple times I fell down the stairs without even moving. No matter where we were, they couldn't wait to bring it up. I know they thought it was funny and didn’t mean any harm, but it still hurt and didn’t do much for my self-esteem.
I was 9 or 10 when it happened. I was standing at the top of the stairs and without moving a muscle, I managed to fall down the stairs and cut my chin open. When I got the bandages off a few weeks later, I did it again.
That’s my first memory of being made fun of for being clumsy. At 52, it still happens. At first, I played along. I would laugh, while inside I felt embarrassed and humiliated. Now, it’s hard for me to hide the hurt and anger I feel when I’m made fun of for something I have no control over.
Some of it has to do with my balance, or lack thereof. I hope I’m never stopped by the police and made to walk a straight line. I’d fail in a big way. I couldn't walk a straight line to save my life.
For years, I felt like an idiot for falling, running into walls and stumbling over my own feet. No matte