On Not Being Good at Things

I’ve been thinking about being good at things.

You look at talented people. Artists, musicians, singers, dancers, actors, authors. People who are really good at design, or carpentry, or sewing. And you think, damn I wish I could do that.

The thing is, all those talented people started out untalented. No one just wakes up one day and knows how to play the piano, or paint a realistic portrait. People develop their skills over time, and with practice. When I first started sewing years ago, the garments I was making were barely fit to be worn out of the house. These days, I have a wedding dress under my belt and another scheduled. I’ve made costumes for plays. I’ve made and altered clothing for friends, family, and people who just happened to hear that I sew. And I’m pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. I’m not expert, but I’ve learned and improved over time.

A couple of years ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to paint with watercolour. Every so often I sit and create something, and sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s awful. And that’s OK. Because at least I can say I’m doing it. Again, I’m by no means an expert. In fact, I’m not even remotely talented where painting is concerned! But I enjoy the process, and sometimes I think that’s all that matters. Not comparing myself to talented artists who have spent years honing their craft. For me, it’s not a passion, but a hobby. And therein lies the difference, I think.

In the same way that I own four different string instruments and still can’t play a single one. The truth is that whilst I love the idea of being able to play an instrument to go with my singing, I’ve never dedicated the time to learn. I get frustrated when I can’t learn 20 songs in an hour, and then eventually give up. But if I spent time and effort learning them, in the same way that all the talented musicians I admire have learned their instruments, then I could add that to my small list of things I’m not-bad-but-not-awful at.

I blame my lack of time. I blame the fact that I’m not good at a thing (despite not being able to GET good at it if I don’t practice). I blame life, and commitments, and work and a myriad of other things. But hey, in 3 weeks I’m gonna be made redundant anyway. So maybe I can start actually putting in some time and effort to learn a skill properly. Instead of just trying it out every few months and giving up after a day. Maybe I’ll take a class or something, I dunno.

Anyway. The point is, that skills rarely come naturally. And even the ones that do still need to be worked on. And it’s OK to not be good at everything. And it’s also OK to admire in others, skills you would like to have yourself. But if you want to have those skills, you’ve gotta be prepared to work at them. But don’t let not begin good at something stop you from trying it. We’ve all gotta start somewhere.

Practice makes perfect, or something.

Leaps and Bounds

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You know how you can be at work, and not serve a single customer for three hours, and then suddenly get a rush of twenty people all at once, in the space of about fifteen minutes? That’s how I feel about 2020. With all the strangeness surrounding Life in the Times of Covid, this year certainly hasn’t been anything like I was expecting. To be honest, I kind of feel like I have spent most of this year just living the daily grind, dying slowly from monotony and boredom, and then all of a sudden in the last few weeks, BAM! Changes flying at me from every direction, smacking me in the face like a ten tonne truck…only without the complete obliteration that would come with actually being hit with a ten tonne truck.

So what has caused this sudden massive change? Well first of all, I got a new job. It is effectively a social media manager, working for this suuuper amazing little company based in my home town. It’s not a full time position, more of a side hustle really. But it was one of those things that just spoke to me, and when I took a chance on it, and invested in myself enough to put in the application, it paid off. It has been a whirlwind of excitement and mild terror (I may or may not be prone to occasional bouts of senseless panic, don’t judge me) but I feel, definitively, that it was the right move. I am so pumped up about the future of this new venture that I can’t actually put it into words! But if I could, all the words would be positive ones!

The second of these massive changes is that I have started coaching with a very good friend of mine and hoooly shit, what a ride that has been already. To give you a bit of an insight, this friend has recently completed a life coaching course, which has enabled her to move forward in her own niche coaching market, and start taking on clients. Which is amazing for her and I am so stoked that I get to be a part of her journey, whilst she helps me begin mine. To quote her, because she will categorise it far more accurately and succinctly than me, she is a spirituality and self discovery guide. I mean listen to that, aren’t you inspired already?!

What this means for me, is that in the two sessions I have had with her already, I have made some personal goals and taken actions to move towards achieving them. I have begun to feel a change in my person, not like I have become someone else, but rather that I have opened the door to the aspects of my personality that I have been too scared or conditioned to show up until now. These changes are not necessarily physical ones. You could say that I am opening my arms to embrace my own spirituality, and that in doing so, I am setting my very soul alight. It has been a powerful experience already, and I have noticed the effects in ways I never would have expected.

Finally, I have started singing with people again. It kind of happened out of the blue one day, when I was asked to have a jam with a couple of my friends. It’s been so long since I actually sang for anyone other than my shower head, so I threw myself into the opportunity wholeheartedly. We’ve been working on a couple of songs and it has given me all the warm fuzzies, because I am SO proud of what we’ve achieved so far. Seriously, the last jam we had I was so effing jazzed by the whole thing, that I couldn’t stand still. I had those moves like Jagger, and let me tell you, I was Jaggering all over the place.

So, that’s me. After months of nothin’, the last 6 weeks have made me a social media managing, spirituality discovering, slick dance moving (which here means entirely graceless but enthusiastic) singer and I am fucking here for it. 2020, you may not have been what anyone expected, but as I begin to move forward in leaps and bounds, I can’t help but think maybe you’re not all bad.