I still remember little Millie – I must’ve been about 6 years old – being told to go up to the McDonalds counter on my own to order a soft serve. Slowly making my way up the queue, I was telling myself over and over ‘you can do this. It’s not a hard thing to do’. When I finally got to the counter at first the lady didn’t see me and called for the next customer who, thank goodness, could see me in all my lack of height and said that I was first. Nervous as anything I spat out the words ‘can I please have a soft serve’ she said ‘yes sure that will be 50 cents’ I thought yes. I have done it. Till I looked at the money mum had put into my hands and noticed I was 20 cents short. A regular human would’ve excused herself and ran to get some more money. But not me. I stood there; and I cried. My little heart couldn’t take the failure and I just stood there and completely embarrassed myself and cried.
This was but one of many embarrassing encounters including, but not limited to, making phone calls, receiving phone calls, speaking at doctors appointments, handing in resumes, grocery shopping, and actually just going anywhere on my own. None of which anything actually happened that was particularly nerve racking or embarrassing. But I would still have mini heart attacks at each encounter.
So I, and everyone that knows me personally, knows how useless I am on my own. But I am really trying to work on it. It’s the little things that make me feel strong. It becomes harder because once I find someone that can help me, I tend to lean on them way too much (another flaw of independence I am working on). So when I find I am alone for the day or a few hours, instead of getting out and doing something, I am more likely to sit inside stewing over all the horrible things that could happen to me if I go outside on my own (such as people looking at me, trying to buy things and failing, not being able to speak the language. Truly terrifying things)
So today when I found myself with the day to myself I said no, I am doing something. It literally took me hours to get myself out of bed and stop coming up with excuses to stay inside. But when I finally went out into the scary world (turns out; not so scary), I was confronted with friendly people that helped me to buy new jeans and shoes. Even though we both spoke limited of each others language, no one died in the process and I left with new clothes feeling on top of the world. I celebrated with bubble tea, which I bought completely in Vietnamese (the lady was very impressed). I told you, it’s the little things.