There are many things I’m good at. Some I even excel at, when I apply myself, or at least I like to think so. I make award-winning meads and wines, I write stories that set my readers on edge and give them the creepy crawlies (deliberately…), and I do a downright decent job of mothering my son.
Other things, I could give a rat’s petunia about. It’s called priorities, and I have them. I don’t need to excel at everything, and you don’t either. I’ve picked my handful of awesomeness, and I revel in it. When I find something lacking, I take a class, a workshop, find a mentor, you name it, and I get ‘er done and learned, strap on that new skill and move on, the more the merrier. On lucky occasions I’m very happy to outsource my needs when funding permits or the job is too large or doesn’t fit me. Either way, things move forward.
Now, there are those nasty nellies who will call themselves your ‘friends’ who, in the interest of friendship, will lord their perfection over you. I will cite two personal examples, and I ask you to take them to heart. If you have similar cases in your own life, ask yourself, are these people actually my ‘friends’, or just petty tyrants using you to feel superior?
Case 1: The ex-boyfriend who wrote perfect haiku. He wrote amazing poetry. He looked at my writing and petted my head, while shaking his own. It’s just so sad how pathetic my little attempts were, you understand, next to his complete perfection of form. Instead he’d have me read his work for hours, or read to me, in hopes that I’d eventually ‘get it’. I didn’t write anything for years after that relationship ended. Now, note, I’m now published, and although I haven’t tracked his progress, I’m sure his form is still perfect, but whatever, all he used it for was to belittle other writers.
Case 2: The female friend who took chef training classes and stocked her kitchen with all the perfect chef equipment. Especially knives. After taking her classes and realizing she’d have to give up her high-paying job to actually work in a kitchen and move up the ranks, she gave up her dream of chef-hood, and instead reserved her wonderful cooking for friends and family, occasionally taking new classes here and there. Each time I visited she’d ask for my help with something, and invariably I’d have to cut something, using one of the amazing knives. And, invariably, I’d do it wrong. Did I care? Well no, I never aspired to chef-hood, and I generally manage to use knives on a day-to-day basis without eviscerating myself. And yet, she’d never fail to make a public spectacle over the event, gasping how I was about to cut off a finger because I wasn’t holding it correctly, and couldn’t she just teach me? Well, no, thanks, I’d decline. Then, she’d make fun of me in front of her other guests, and I’d make a joke of it, asking for her ‘baby knives’, which she had none of. Everyone would laugh, and it was all in fun, right? Funny, then why did it always feel like a ‘I’m better than you’ dig?
So no, I don’t write haiku, and I don’t use sharp knives. And no, not because of the above people, but because they aren’t important skills to me.
One of the great joys of life is we all get to embrace and follow our dreams, build our skills, and share our wins with others. The challenge we have is then sharing without lording those wins over others. For instance, I can talk for hours about obscure wine knowledge, but I rarely do so, unless whomever I’m speaking to leads the conversation that way. I know wine talk can get tedious for others, so I don’t push, even though it’s a joy for me to talk about. Everything in moderation. Share what you love, but share gently.
And when someone lords their awesomeness over you, they simply aren’t awesome at all. From what I’ve seen, the awesome folks come by it naturally.