About Feeling Stupid

Me nearby Lake McDonald. June 19, 2018.

Actually, I love driving. I mean, I want to excel at driving the way I feel good at riding a motorcycle. But driving makes me feel stupid. It feels like no matter how careful I am, I’m going to crash and get scolded. It feels like no matter how law abiding I am towards the traffic rules, I’ll eventually get a ticket. It feels like I’m not trying hard enough. It feels like I always forget to check this and that and it could put someone else at danger. I feel like a fool. It’s awful. And at some point it makes me believe that I should not drive. I cannot afford to buy a car anyway…

But then I reflect on this. And I wrote this on my Instagram: “Don’t make anyone feel stupid. Sometimes we don’t know that they’ve been trying their hardest. Believe me, if they could, they didn’t want to embarrass anybody with whatever they know nothing about. Sometimes it takes a lot of courage even to just ask for help because they want to learn things. If they could, they wouldn’t want to burden anyone. So teach them patiently. Unless you really love it that they are ‘stupid‘ so that they could keep relying on you, feeding your pride n ego, making you feel like a better or an important person, the only one who could help them. That is actually not nice, if you ask me. I know it can be frustrating especially if it’s easy for you, especially if, even though it was as hard in the beginning as for you, you managed to learn more quickly. It is exasperating, I know. Sometimes it takes a lot of patience just to teach/help/deal with such a person. But if you just be nice, trust me, it means heaven for them. Showing how stupid they are ain’t motivating at all. Instead, it can discourage them, make them feel so hopeless and lame so they have no more courage to even try any more. Hence, please teach them until they can do it on their own. So everyone, I’m truly sorry if I’ve ever made you feel stupid, if I’m not patient enough. Believe me, you ain’t stupid. It was just me being stupid for not realizing soon enough how awful it can make someone feel. Hope you feel better n happier. Hope we don’t make anyone feel miserable. God bless.”

Then I found this video on Twitter, which you can also find in YouTube. It’s about a girl driving a Tesla car in a gas station. The video shows that the girl was trying to “fuel” the car. It was about two-minute-ish long with the girl ending up not “fueling the car.” The person filming was laughing, and the comments were full of laughter, laughing at “how stupid she was for not knowing that Tesla was “different.” Well, I am not trying to be saintly here. Maybe I’m just being too serious. Maybe the girl herself will laugh at herself. Or maybe I will laugh too, later. I don’t know. But at least for now I seriously don’t think that it’s funny. I can imagine being that girl, well, I am that girl in other occasions.

The video is funny because it’s not you. And maybe because you don’t have insecurity and anxiety issue. Call me too serious, but I can imagine being that girl myself. I can imagine being that girl driving the Tesla car…feeling stupid, trying to figure things out, feeling embarrassed, trying to be quick, feeling uneasy and uncomfortable with people who might be watching and waiting for their turn, etc. A surge of anxiety, insecurity, etc. came in. And sometimes you end up giving up because you don’t want to stall others’ times. Sometimes you have to pretend you need to do something else just to make yourself look less stupid and less embarrassing when in actuality you are desperately trying to find a solution or maybe asking for someone’s help through your phone.  It’s not nice at all. It’s awful. (Especially now, you might be anxious because somebody might put you in a video and make it viral for all the world to see. It’s not nice.)

So yeah, I’m that girl. I myself do not know much about Tesla cars. Well, I don’t know much about cars in general. I’ve never had a car. My family cannot afford to buy a car. I hadn’t got a chance to learn or drive somebody else’s car either back then. These might sound like lame excuses for some, but what do you expect? I remember the first time I was learning to drive, I didn’t even know how to start the engine. I didn’t know how to turn on the lights. I didn’t know how to blow the horn. I didn’t know what I should do to give turning signals. I didn’t know how to turn on the wipers, spray some water before wiping, etc. I had no idea. There were so many things I didn’t know. There are still many things that I don’t know. Some people might be wondering, “How can you not know that? It’s easy. You can just try, or observe and try.” Some people might say, “If you don’t know, don’t drive.” But that’s exactly why we are learning, right? That’s why we need more practice so we can be more experienced, right? Unfortunately, those chances to practice are not always available… And sometimes even if they are available, it’s not given to us for one and another reason.

Me at Mt. Lemmon. January 2, 2016.

So yeah, that girl in the video might look stupid. But what she needs is help, not someone laughing at her or ridiculing her about that, let alone someone video-ing her, posting it on social media and making it viral even without covering her face. Some people thought she got what she deserved. Some scolded her saying that she should’ve known how the car worked before driving it. Well, I’m not saying they’re wrong. But sometimes there are circumstances where we simply don’t know, forget to ask, too shy to ask, foolishly assume it works the same, etc. I know this from my traveling experiences, especially when it comes to public toilets and hotel/Airbnb bathrooms. I find different models of faucets/taps that work differently. Sometimes I need to pull them up to have the water come out and pull them back down to make it stop. Sometimes I need to turn them to the right/left. Sometimes it’s automatic or hand-censored (?), in which I only need to put my hand underneath the faucet and the water will automatically come out and stop by itself. Etc. Etc. Etc. But I do not always instantly know how they work especially when it is the first time for me. When there are people around, sometimes I pretend to wait and see how they do it so I know and can do it myself later. But sometimes it’s not easy and it can make me feel anxious especially when it’s crowded and I know people are waiting for their turn. I’m worried that people would get mad and reprimand me. So when there is nobody around, I’m thankful because then I won’t look stupid while trying to figure it out myself. I can imagine, I must look stupid when touching the faucet, waving my hand underneath, trying to pull it up, trying to turn it around, etc. just to get the water to come out. Sometimes the soap is placed nearby and suddenly sprayed on my sleeve too. Imagine if someone records me without me knowing… heaven forbids. So yeah, it saddens me that people took such videos for their own amusement, neglecting the fact that it must be terrible for the person of whom they took the video. It’s sad for me because when I see such videos, I can see myself in them. I’m just lucky that nobody records me. And believe me, nobody wants to look stupid like that. And even without you guys pointing out how stupid we are or how stupid we look, we already feel stupid ourselves. And it’s terrible…

So back to driving and feeling stupid. I guess I am thankful and truly grateful for Eric. He’s my friend, the first person who taught me to drive in my life. He didn’t make me feel stupid. He knew I was trying my best and continuously trying to be better. And instead of pointing out how stupid I was, he appreciated my efforts and my progress, pointing out my potentials to be better. And, oh, I’m not using pseudonym here. It’s his real name. I think the world needs to know how good and kind he has been to me. We need to know that such a person exists. And maybe we need more people like him, you know, someone who would help and teach us, and understand that when we are struggling, that’s not because we’re stupid, not because we’re not trying hard enough, but simply because we are not familiar with it, because we’re not used to it…yet.

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