I’m not very good at thinking on my feet…it is one of my many weaknesses. I would be the worst improvisation actress ever. When someone says or does something I wasn’t expecting, it takes my brain at least 10-15min to catch up with what is happening…sometimes even 24hrs. I remember many nights in high school lying in bed peacefully then suddenly sitting up quickly and thinking… “wait a minute…what so&so said this morning was really MEAN. Wow”. Then I would lie back down and think about all the witty or cutting things that I could have said in return, but never had the opportunity.
This also makes me a “yes” person by accident. Not because I blindly like to agree with anything that anyone else says but purely because my brain has not caught up fast enough to say anything different. “Do you want to go to this party” “Of course”, “do you want to buy these highly impractical shoes?” “I guess so?”, “Do you want to volunteer for XXXX” “I can’t think of a reason why not too…”
At work, it means I am regularly caught of guard with unexpected questions or requests (which is especially challenging when you are in a group meeting trying to impress everyone with your knowledge and prowess) , or when someone totally doesn’t agree with me and starts suggesting an alternative but my brain cannot compute what they are saying. So I just respond with “err…right…ok”. And to make matters worse, my emotions are usually WAY faster than my logical mind. So I start getting angry or sad, and totally frustrated with people. And I end up sounded like some weird crazy person when I try to get some kind of logical response out of my mouth at the same time as trying not to cry, or scream, or get my bogan defences on (not the Executive image I really want to portray). Then 24hrs later I will think… “that was a brilliant idea so and so suggested”…and I start thinking of all these other ideas which build on that and work away like a beaver to come up with something amazing. Because my brain does work, I just need to be patient.
Which is why I am trying to embrace the phrase “let me get back to you”. If I can capture that moment when my brain is flung into a place it didn’t think it was going, as I am digging around the depths trying to form the right responses, this little gem can get me out of all sorts of jams. It gives me the breathing space that I need to go away, actually process, to let the emotions flow and go (I tend to react and then accept pretty quickly), and decide what I actually really want to say or whether I actually really do have the time to volunteer or go to that party.
Unfortunately, yesterday, I missed another golden opportunity to do exactly that and found myself yet again stumbling blinding in the dark during a work call wanting to punch the next person who spoke.
But, you know, here I am…24hrs later…remembering the perfect thing to say…better late than never…right??