In response to Jewish Young Professional’s Anti Self Deprecation post I am going to try and write about five random things I think I am good at… without being self deprecating. That’s the challenge.
- Spelling. I’m not a spelling wiz like those kids on that Netflix documentary who can spell words they’ve never heard or seen before through some kind of dictionary telepathy. And it turns out I don’t know how to spell wiz. But when we moved to an American school when I was half way through year 4, they moved me up to year 5 on the basis of my spelling and reading level. And looking back over old journals, I can see that I was very comfortable with spelling at age 10, more so than 10 year olds I know now. I have realised as I have aged, that this is something I should be very grateful for – this affinity with our weird and wonderful language – because knowing how to spell and therefore finding writing pretty easy makes a lot of things in life easier. To be fair, I still get corrected by my Mum. 🙂 Like last week I spelled lavender incorrectly.
- Chatting to people while walking the dog It pleases me that I can chat easily with strangers. I didn’t have a lot of fun (socially speaking) in the Australian high school I attended and it has taken me a long time to build confidence after that experience. So to wander about with our little white dog and enjoy frequent, pleasant interactions with the local dog-owners feels really good.
- Writing When I was in year 6, I received a “Principal’s Award” for a piece of creative writing I typed up on the school’s Microbee Computers (those were the days). It seems that this acknowledgement was all the push I needed to make me think I had something I was better than average at. I have worked at writing ever since. Of course, my inclination is to tell you how I have done nothing with it. But I will push on with being positive and tell you that I still cling to the belief that I can string words together in a way that is engaging and easy to read. And I love the challenge of coming up with an original image, or a different way of using a word, or a magical turn of phrase for my poetry. This blog has been a wonderful obsession to get me writing regularly. I’m quite needy so it’s just wonderful having an audience to read my poems and make comments. I almost feel ready to take the massively vulnerable step of submitting something for publication.
- Being a clown Once I get comfortable with a group of people (whether it’s work colleagues, a few kids, extended family, my friends, the classes I taught in China) I am quite happy to be very silly. I enjoy making people laugh and (in those comfortable environments) I don’t suffer much from self-consciousness.
- Drawing This is a new and amazing development for me. It wasn’t until I was 39 that I discovered any ability to draw. Honestly, before that I would’ve told you in utmost sincerity “I can’t draw to save myself”. The other night I looked at those horses I had drawn and I laughed out loud. I said to Mr Worms: “I am my own biggest fan when it comes to my drawing. I still just can’t believe that I am able to draw a horse like that!” And it’s true. It’s not that I think I’m wonderful or the best. It’s not that I have any aspirations to earn money from my art. It’s just simple delight and disbelief. I only wish I had found the love of drawing earlier, before my grandmother passed away. I would dearly have loved to share it with her. Instead, I fill our house with as much of her art as I can get my hands on.