I’m an adult woman with dyspraxia – realising that changed my life

Dyspraxia is particularly under-diagnosed in women, as we find ways to cover it up by joking about being “ditsy”. Being a dyspraxic feminist sucked, because I appeared “ditsy” despite my desperate efforts not to. I could never master pool in pubs, I discard debit cards like pistachio shells and, in my social group, I was the “ditsy” one. I hated the word, but I can understand now why many women gratefully embrace it. It’s a way for their shame and awkwardness to be rendered sexy. This is quite the upgrade.

My diagnosis cast a softer light on my memories of my waitressing days, when the chefs in the cafe dubbed me the “MAID OF CHAOS”, because I’d clatter down the stairs, sending cutlery flying. I was a very bad waitress. I survived, again, by being as smiley and charming as I could muster, and I got tips from customers who felt sorry for the clumsy waitress covered in tabbouleh.

I had to get very used to failure, because practice didn’t make perfect for me. I could try, try, try again and never succeed. Those trite little sayings about effort and success and failure didn’t work for me – I could do my absolute best to carry a cup of tea on a saucer or catch a ball and still screw it up. I fail at 50 small everyday tasks every day. Me and failure go WAY back.

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