I used to think whistling was something everyone learns to do eventually. Like walking, talking, and reading. Then, I met my husband. He can’t whistle a single note. I’m not talking about whistling through your fingers, the way people do when trying to call a cab, because I can’t do that, either. I mean the sort of tuneful lip piping that Snow White sang about while frolicking with the forest animals. No matter how much he purses his lips and puffs out air, my husband can’t sound a single note.
It’s fascinating to me that, even when there are no disabilities involved, some things come completely naturally to some people while others, try as they might, can’t do them.
My lovely mother-in-law insists knitting is easy, but I beg to differ. She tried to teach me and I was eager to learn, picturing all the cute sweaters, mittens, and hats I’d be able to make. My lessons started with great enthusiasm on my part. I gave it a good go, but never managed to knit anything other than long strips littered with dropped stitches interspersed with threads of yarn pulled too tight.
Knitting is not the only thing I stink at.
Like I said, although I can whistle tunefully, I’ve tried and failed to learn how to whistle using my fingers. I couldn’t do a cartwheel if my life depended on it. My son could hula hoop like a master by the time he was eight. I, on the other hand, cannot get the hoop to swing around even once before it clatters around my feet.
And in gym class at school, my heart would sink whenever we were told to climb up a rope. While it seemed all my classmates shimmied up with no effort, I never managed to pull myself up even a couple of inches.
These days, if I try something new and am utterly rubbish at it, I’ll do one of two things. If it’s something I really, really want to do, I’ll persevere and stick to it. Or, I’ll chalk it up as one of those many things I’ll probably never be able to do. Like the splits. I’ll decide life’s too short and time too limited to waste any more effort.
One thing I no longer do is let myself feel like a loser just because everyone can do something I can’t.
In one of my books, my heroine struggles with inferiority.
Vanya, in Lessons Learned in Love, comes from serious money. Although she works hard at her job, she feels as though she’s never proven herself or earned anything by merit. She can’t cook. She can barely boil water. And she’s tone deaf. She’s got a special place in my heart among my characters, because she’s trying to find her place in the world, a little corner in which she can shine. I really enjoyed writing about how she grew out of her impostor syndrome, discovered she had gifts she never gave herself credit for, and learned that her true value comes from her identity in Christ. And as a lovely bonus, she found love along the way, too. :-)
Is there anything you can do that the people around you can’t? Or something all your friends and family find easy, but you can’t seem to get the hang of? Let me know in the comments.