Let’s face it, some people in this world are born gifted; be it academically successful, top of their field due to their sporting prowess or just plain capable overall. My husband is like that – capable; turns his hand to anything and usually triumphs (bloody git). But If I’m entirely honest with myself, I’m not terribly good at anything.
At school, I was always pretty much mid-table in most things (apart from mathematics, sciences or languages where I was the bottom-feeder; staring stupidly at the blackboard, watching how other children grasped concepts easily whilst I hoped anxiously that the teacher wouldn’t notice me). And when it came to physical education, yes – you guessed it, I was one of those kids chosen last for every team.
What’s more, things haven’t improved greatly in my adult life. I coast along in my daily tasks, hoping people don’t realise I’m a fraud. I’ve perfected the savvy, sassy lady routine, but really – I’m rather slow on the uptake. I’m sensible enough but nothing comes easily for me. I have to work hard to achieve anything; be it career-wise or even something simple like learning to drive a car! With difficulty, I’ve become sufficient at most things, but proficient at nothing.
Perhaps I’m being hard on myself, but I’ve only ever really had a flair for three things (and only three).
1) I could hold a tune.
2) I was a natural when playing another character.
3) I’ve always had a way with words.
Unfortunately, singing, acting and writing are terribly subjective endeavours; it’s hard to quantify who excels and who is piss-poor. Unless you’re Frank Sinatra, Anthony Hopkins or Salman Rushdie (i.e. you’re the top of your game and everybody knows it). But when you’re just little old Adele, well…let’s just say some can take me and others can leave me.
And the problem is, if your talents are indeterminable (like mine) and your confidence isn’t especially elevated (like mine), then you fall prey to the mistake of only ever seeing yourself as worthy in other people’s eyes. If there were one hundred people in a room, ninety-nine of whom advised me I was, say – a great singer, and one person told me I was totally tone-deaf, I’d believe the one person. Not that I would be dismissive of the other ninety-nine’s opinions, I’d just convince myself that they were merely being polite. You see, I’m my own worst enemy.
I’m not fishing for compliments or looking for sympathy, I’m just being frank with myself. And I think I hit the nail on the head earlier, it’s all about the confidence. I’ve known people who I’m certain are all flannel, they can talk the talk, but underneath all that, I know they’re knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers. But their confidence carries them through – they will be a success no matter what. That confidence is more important even than talent. Because you could be amazing at something, but if you don’t believe it, nobody else will either.
And my point is? The moral of the story would be..? Well, I’m not sure. If I knew how to bottle self-belief, I’d have done it years ago and not be in my forties still coasting along not achieving the goals I want to achieve. But I know I’ve got to keep working on my lack of confidence because it’s been holding me back my entire life. And if life is short, which it has proven itself to be for one of my loved-ones, I’ve got to buck my ideas up pretty damn sharpish!