I hate feeling stupid. But we’ve all been there: That Stupid Feeling that comes when we should know what we are doing and we don’t. Or worse, when we don’t have a clue as to what we should do and there is no one who seems willing to help us figure it out. That’s when a lot of us shut down and head to the couch and turn on the TV (if we can figure out the remote) and pretend we know exactly what we are doing or just watch others with That Stupid Feeling figure it out for us on the tube.
I’ve had a lot of That Stupid Feeling lately. Probably because I’ve been on vacation, and also because I am purposefully trying to do new things now that I’m 50 and the clock is ticking. (Truth is I get That Stupid Feeling at work sometimes, too, but I’ve had years of practice at working my way through it until I figure it out). I don’t have a mom and dad alive anymore to help me figure things out…and even when they were alive they had their few things they could teach, and I think I got what I could from their advice and experience. So now it’s up to me, and I realize that I hate That Stupid Feeling. But I hate it so much I’m determined to work my way through it, too.
Let’s take golf, for instance. For decades I dismissed it as a stupid sport. Then I took a lesson and discovered I love the feeling of whacking a ball really hard and far. Take that! But now…to actually play a game? I was lucky the first time: A wonderful woman named Liz Reap Carlson took me out for my first round. Despite the fact that she’s a world-class track cyclist, I’m sure she gets That Stupid Feeling sometimes, too, and she was willing to help me through it. It was fun, although I lost about 15 balls (there was a lot of foliage on the side of the greens!).
Unfortunately, Liz now lives in California, so it was up to me to be the one to know what to do when I took my teenage daughter out to play. It was a new course, and there were lots of stupid questions like, “Where do you get the cart?” and, “Where are all the bathrooms?” (and the Stupid Feeling answer to that one is there are not enough of them for woman to truly enjoy the game without planning in advance). Suffice it to say we played and had fun, even when I asked an old guy where the hole was and he said, “It’s on the other side of the hill, but you probably can’t hit it that far”—and then I did, except he wasn’t looking anymore.
And then I got mad for all the times—daily, actually—that other people make me feel That Stupid Feeling even when they don’t mean to. But they do. Although it felt good to play golf on a hot, sunny day with my daughter and cross that first hurdle together. Suffice it to say I finally understood the deep appeal of a club sandwich!
Later that day, I got That Stupid Feeling talking to a cyclist about foot pedals and all the different clip-in styles and what they do and don’t do, and I got both embarrassed and pissed because it’s so needlessly complicated and hard to figure out without getting That Stupid Feeling, when all I want to do is ride a freaking bike. A good bike. And I’m sorry that with my day job and kids who also like to do lots of things it’s hard to find the time to get out for a ride or a run or a round of golf. And sometimes I think people make it purposely complicated so they have an excuse to feel smart at others’ expense.
My first instinct when I came home from that day was to either a) cry, or b) hide and never tell a soul how I felt. But then I realized that c) I’m a blogger! And I bet there are other people out there who feel the way I do and who could use some sense that they/WE are not alone. And then I thought d) I run a company that can help people get over and through That Stupid Feeling. We don’t do it enough, perhaps. Some of our brands do it better than others.
So I’m determined. I’m determined to face That Stupid Feeling as much as possible and stare it down and get over and through it, and to help as many other people as possible to avoid it and get through it and know they are not alone. And also to let them know that there is fun on the other side of it. And things like club sandwiches!
And thanks to the few dear friends I have who have helped me through That Stupid Feeling (Liz and a few others who shall go unnamed). Thank you. Thank you.
Amen! It’s so nice to know That Stupid Feeling affects everyone. I’ve been having lots of those feelings lately, mostly while I continue to use my GPS just as a back up to get to and from work in a city that I use to know quite well.
When I first started dating my now husband, I had That Stupid Feeling constantly, because he is a PhD in Economics and MSc in Engineering, you can understand why. Everyone feels that way at some point because, no one KNOWS EVERYTHING! We are all smart and/or intelligent in that which we have studied and learnt. I figured it out. I am smart in my profession, which he and others knows nothing about, and others are (hopefully) smart in theirs. I’m not going to tell a lawyer, doctor, judge and shoe salesman their job, because I know little about it, and I’m sure they will not tell me how to mix drugs and calculate pediatric doses of drugs, they leave that to me! So, we have the right to Feel Stupid at any time. Those who smirk and turn their noses up at others who don’t know what they know, are assinine. It’s a coverup for the things that they don’t know. Just put them to the test. You’ll see!
Hah! You took her out for a round!! Yay! How wonderful. The best advice I ever got in sports is fake it ’til you make it. I was a total newby when I got on the track, and just made myself show up week after week after week (after week) until the butterflies went away; then asked question after question after question (you get the point). Look forward to another round!
I can’t even figure out the remote control because it is always changing and you have to use 2 to 3 different controllers to record a program. Things are intentionally made to make you feel that way.
One would think at 51 I should have conquered the “stupids”, but I haven’t. You can not be stupid at something you have never done, been taught or saw. I have gotten very good at laughing off my stupid doings but I have a saying, “Don’t try to make me look stupid, that’s my job and I do it very well!” :))
I am totally intimidated by bicycle clips. Atleast you ventured there. And if you did, now I know I will get that stupid feeling when I ventue there. But I suppose I will. Soon.
Thank you for having the courage to post about this topic!
My goodness. I live in the Stupid Feeling lately! I am trying to build a business by doing work that I love, and help people live better lives. The working and helping comes easy. But the business part is HARD! Here’s to working through the rough spots, and finding success 🙂
Ah, yes. We all know that feeling of helplessness and absolute horror. It is a ghastly feeling.
What we often forget is that absolute wash of relief and pleasure that overwhems us when suddenly, without warning, “we GET it!”
This summer was my ephinany–after years of teaching lost and frightened entering college freshmen–I was plunged into a different kind of teaching situation in a totally different college.
Did I know how to log-in? No. I didn’t even know where or how to get a password. Had I ever used the Voiceboard. “What? Huh? I never heard of a Voice Board. What’s that?”
And now it is September. After a summer of felling lost and confused, I understand better where my students are coming from.
Back in my usual classroom, making absolutely sure that every student of mine knows where to get a password and how to log in. Today my whole class used the Voice Board and produced their own radio talk show on “Reconstruction.”
What an awesome day! Watching the students’ faces light up as the lightbulbs clicked in their brains was glorious! Seeing their astonishment as they listened to a “radio program” they had produced, all by themselves, was a joy!
Sometimes grownups need to start at square one. It makes us better, stronger, and more empathetic people.
Ok, so I don’t know how to work all of the remote controls, so sue me! I’ll take my time and eventually learn. It’s not the end of the world, and I have more important things to learn how to do! I seldom watch tv anyway.
You should have seen me when I first started college. I had no idea where to go or where any of my classes were. I was given my papers with the classes on it, and some of the directions, but little did that help. It was pitiful! (I did find the campus bookstore). It was no consolation though because I wasn’t looking for the darn BOOKSTORE!!!
Talk about feeling S-T-U-P-I-D! I learned to ask,(I didn’t want to) and finally navigated my way around campus, feeling like everyone else looked, smart and knowing everything!
Being clueless and feeling stupid used to bother me in school. But Mum said, “clueless and stupid folks have their rights too, not that you’re either; everybody feels that way some time or the other.” And that gave me the gumption to walk into places and do things my way and not care if I came across as dumb. I ask questions, help those more clueless than I am, and smile my way through as I believe I have every right to be at that place and be as dumb as I can be. Fact is there are lots of genuinely dumb folks out there and they are always smiling.
It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that way. I know that feeling of wanting to hide!
Maria, so glad I discovered your blog. I am enjoying your writing so much. I think I thought that as I got older I wouldn’t have that stupid feeling as much and be worried that I looked like I didn’t know what I was doing! The truth is I don’t care generally as much what people think of me but I still have and hate THAT STUPID FEELING. I feel like there are alot of things that come more easily to my 22 year old daughter and the high school students I work with because it does! Their brains just simply work more efficiently at their age than mine. I have years and years of experience in my head and sometimes it takes me awhile to focus and pull out what I need. But I like your advice to just push through that STUPID FEELING and that is what I am doing for now.