24 January, 2011

Interlude: Growing Up and "I Can't"

Is growing up a good thing?

What happened when you grew up? When did you realize that you said “I can’t” more than you said “I’ll try?” I remember being a kid and diving into things like drawing, coloring, sculpting, building, pretty much anything that made a mess or promised a 50/50 chance of losing an arm, I did it without hesitation. And if my dinosaur looked less like a triceratops and more like a Rorschach test, it didn’t matter. It was all kinds of awesome and I was damn proud of it.

As I got older, as I learned more, as others showed me what they could do; that’s when it happened. That’s when “I can’t” entered my vocabulary. That’s when I objectively looked at things that were far beyond my skill level, and realized that “I’m not good at it.” It’s a shame that it happened, because it undoubtedly led to the discarding of the many things made me smile as a kid and it certainly took away a great amount of pride and that feeling of accomplishment.

So, here we are today. There is a plethora of things that I don’t do well. Yes, it’s because I haven’t practiced it, haven’t been trained in it, haven’t truly made a passionate effort to do it. I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I can’t dance. I can’t ride my bike with no handlebars1.

And the only difference between now and then, is that then, it didn’t matter that I couldn’t do it well, I just did it. Now I have to think about it, weigh the embarrassment that may come with my lack of “skillz.” I don’t think about how much I might enjoy whatever it may be, and there’s the greatest tragedy. How many times have you not done something for those very reasons, because you’re afraid that you aren’t good enough? And the simplest thing is, that you’re never good at new things because they're new, they're unfamiliar. So instead ask yourself, “what can this teach me?”

So with that in mind, I did this the other day:

And as unprofessional, as unrefined as they are, I am damn proud of them. And best of all, I enjoyed making them. I enjoyed making the mess, I enjoyed seeing everything come together for the final product. And I enjoyed teaching myself something new, so that I can become better at in the future. And as an added bonus, I did not lose an arm in the process.

So I will draw, I will sculpt, I will color, I will paint and I will encourage you to try something new (or old), and enjoy yourself. You’ll undoubtedly surprise yourself. And as a side note, it still may take some convincing to get me to dance, but in the end, I will do it. And it will be all kinds of epic.

PS: The same goes for change. It happens, it's never going to stop happening. Get over it. Next time you see a major overhaul to your addicted social media site, quit making claims that you hate it, that you'll delete your account if they don't change it back. We all know you wont. You'll grudgingly use it until it gets changed again, at which point you'll tell everyone you hate it and that you'll quit if they don't change it back. There, now that I'm done with that soapbox, I'm going to fill it with clay, and paint, and maybe a crowbar. And most definitely a toy or two.

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