There is something in me, or about me, that gives me embarrassingly high levels of self-doubt. I know it’s in me because none the external forces that would hinder someone from believing in themself exist in my sphere. I have a smother you with love type of family and an insanely supportive group of friends who have always encouraged me and made me feel safe to be myself. I have no cognitive challenges and no physical issues that would keep me from accessing any and all resources. I have relative financial security, a partner who pushes me in all the good ways, and a world-class education.
And all these wonderful supports lead me to have an overall cautious optimism about life and a general sort of confidence in myself. I feel good about who I am but I don’t see myself as particularly talented in any one arena. I have a very ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ sense of myself. It’s not a bad thing or a good thing, it just is what it is.
Occasionally, I surprise myself. For years and years, before I just started running for no apparent reason other than boredom with walking, I wrote myself off as un-atheletic. But I just keep running and running and getting better at it and I still love it. Look at me, I’m athletic! Nothing changed. I didn’t suddenly become better at sport. I just gave it a try, put in some hard work, and discovered some skill where before there was only doubt. Now I feel strong, powerful and if someone asks me to try some new athletic feat I think ‘meh, maybe I could do it’ instead of ‘no, no, not me.’ The first item on a list of things I am good at and not ashame to say so.
Similarly, I have spent years and years telling myself and others about my lack of creativity. I don’t feel creative, generally. I don’t see myself as artistic. I don’t consider things that I do as a hobby, such as writing, to be something of particular worth. I know how insanely self-deprecating that sounds, I hate myself for even typing the words.
But I don’t mean as a VALIDATE ME VALIDATE ME cry for help. I’m generally not bothered by overall adequateness instead of specialized excellence. Do I wish I had one talent that is clearly superior to all my other talents? A talent that makes me special, marketable, successful in that craft? Sure, that’d be fun. Especially if it was like luge or ship in a bottle making or something. But oh well.
I see Dave with hockey, the way he loves, is good at it, how he excels and is compensated for that achievement, and while that’s truly a wonderful gift I realize there are downfalls to that way of being as well. Dave knows what his special talent is, other people recognize he, he is living it, but it has an expiration date. (March 2014? Just asking.) So while I have this vague sense that all my general talent will allow me to try any number of professions if someone will just give me a chance, Dave has this acute anxiety that no one will give him a chance since the time spent on his one great ability has left him without that overall skill level that makes you adaptable in the wider world. We’ve all got problems, yo.
So lately I’ve been focusing on shutting down the thought that, though I am a writer and spend considerable time ‘creating’ ever week, I am not creative. I am. I think of things then I write them down then I make them longer or shorter and mold them and shape them. And sometimes I share what I created and other people read it and it resonates and if that’s not art I don’t know what is. So I am. Creative. I can. Write.
Jack of all trades, working on mastering the next one. Working on it and putting in some hours so I can surprise myself just like the time I found out that I could run and run for miles and miles.