I’m not creative. I am not good at being girly. I don’t know math. I’m not athletic.
These are all things I have said about myself. Many times.
A few years ago I was in Hawaii visiting my friend Jessica and her lovely family. We’d met through blogging and it was my first time meeting her in person (I saw her again a few years later and my husband got food poisoning and threw up on her couch…another story, another time). We were talking about make up and how I rarely wear it, and I made some comment about how I just don’t care and am fine with how I look without it.
She asked if maybe “intentionally” not wearing makeup and avoiding fashion was a way for me to hide my insecurity about it.
There are a few things people have said to me that stick in my memory, like the girl in high school who told me I have straight-across eyebrows, which is true and which I think about every time I pluck them. And as soon as Jessica said that to me I knew it’d stay with me.
But it’s not just makeup and fashion that it’s true for.
I’ve never called myself “creative” or “athletic” because in my head I either was those things or I wasn’t. There was no way to cultivate either characteristic. If I didn’t feel comfortable working out I never would, and I’d certainly never be good at it. If I didn’t know how to sew or draw or write immediately after trying, I’d never learn how and it was best to just leave it to people who were more gifted than I was.
But then I turned 30. My metabolism slowed down and I realized how goddamn stupid it was to write off whole skills without even trying them.
So I’m learning to sew. And I made an elephant that sucks. But I also made a few cloth letters and a drawstring bag and a pillow that only suck a little bit.
I started going to the gym and for once in my life I actually don’t hate it. I’m following this plan and just focusing on what I do instead of what other people might think. There’s a guy there who I think is hitting on me.
I’m realizing that life’s too short for a fixed mindset, and as a mom, I don’t want my daughter growing up thinking that she has a set list of talents that will never change and that she should never push or challenge or grow beyond.
Learning things is hard. For me, sucking at them for a long time is even harder. But I gotta say, finally getting good at something I’ve worked my ass off to learn is light years more satisfying than the things I was good at right away.