Monday, November 08, 2010

I'm not saying I'm good, I'm just saying I don't suck

I had a dream the other night that I went to a blogging conference and everyone there was really mean to me.  In fact, they locked me in a closet and I had to crawl out a heating vent to escape.  In an attempt to make myself feel better I flew to New York to visit the twins but then everyone in New York was mean to me and they they locked me in a closet too.

Even in my dreams I am insecure.

Insecurity is my operating system.  It's a way of life for me.  I've always wanted to learn to sing.  You know, take voice lessons and whatnot?  But in order to do that I would have to actually sing in front of someone and I worry that they might say "Please never sing again" so I'll never do it.  Instead I only sing to my kids ... who then ask me to stop.  I want to learn to fish but I'm afraid that if I try I won't be able to catch a fish so I pretend I think fishing is gross.  I would like to throw a dinner party but I'm afraid no one I invite would show up and everything I cook would be gross so I just don't do it.

Humor is the way I usually try to deal with things.  If I try something and it doesn't work out I am the first to point it out and then to mock it.  I learned a long time ago that it's better to have people laughing at your joke than it is to have them laughing at you.  (Not that this means I think I'm funny of course.  I have to point that out in case anyone reads this and thinks "What?  She's not funny!  I've never laughed at anything she's said before!  Who does she think she's fooling?  I'm going to compose a rage filled email about this!)

Even when I succeed at something I'm quick to put it down.  For example, last year I made the turkey for my family's Thanksgiving get together.  People kept telling me how good it was and someone said it was the best turkey that had ever had.  I kept saying things like "Oh, I just threw some stuff together.  I really don't know how it turned out that good." and "I just got lucky I guess." and "I don't know, I think it's kind of dry and it could have used more salt."

I'm afraid that if someone tells me I'm good at something and I agree with them that I would be making myself really vulnerable.  Maybe if I say "Thanks!  I'm really happy with how the turkey turned out!" you'll say "Although it is a little dry and it could have used more salt and way to suck at life."

That stuff is a lot easier to hear coming out of my mouth than it is coming out of someone elses.  I can't handle it so it's easier to pretend that I don't really think I'm good at anything but it doesn't really matter to me anyway.


Except this.  Photography.  I like it. I think I'm good at it.  Even when I look at my pictures with a critical eye I feel like there's a glimmer of talent in there.  When I look at the pictures I took just a year ago and compare them with the ones I took yesterday I see vast improvement.  I feel like I'm getting better every day.  I take and process pictures every day and I really feel like it's paying off.  I'm getting more comfortable with the technical stuff and I think I have an eye for the creative side of it.

Oh geez, do you know how hard that was to say?  I mean, to type?  I mean, maybe now you'll come along and tell me that I suck and that I should never pick up a camera again who the hell do I think I am and could I please step inside this closet for a minute?

So why admit all this?  Because photography is something I want to do.  I want to continue to practice it and to get better at it but I also want to go a step further.  I want to come up with a business name.  I want to have business cards made and hand them out to people.  I want to have a price list.  I want someone to pay me for doing something that I love and I want to feel like I deserve it.

I just need to get over this fear and this doubt and this constant second guessing of myself.  I have to be able to say that I am good at this and then be ok with saying it.

I can do this.  Right?


Avitable said...

Yes, you most definitely can!

Shannon said...

I feel the same way. Insecurity is my middle name. But your pictures are great and more importantly, you feel good about them. Since I mostly feel insecure about everything I think that if there is something I feel even just the teensiest bit positive about my ability to do, then I'm probably right. :)

susan said...

Meh, your pictures are all right, I guess.

I'm totally kidding. They are really, really good!

Mormon Surrogate said...

You are definitely good at that! You should try other things too though. Believe in yourself. I love to sing. I doubt the voice lesson teacher would tell you to stop singing. Go for it!

Anonymous said...

Jen, your photos are totally awesome! I'll help you brainstorm on a name. Business cards are easy and reasonable on Vista Print. I'm going to check when I get home. I know I have some information where you can sell your photos on line. You need to advertise!! The only way to get over insecurity is to just go ahead and do!!! A coach told me once, that even if you don't think you can do something, pretend like you are doing it, and pretty soon you won't have to pretend anymore. And you are so fantastic at so many things. I have eaten meals you have made and they have always been delicious, you are a creative writer (many of my friends with whom I have shown some of your blog posts have enjoyed them immensely and have LOL) and your garden and canning are wonderful. Don't sell yourself short... you are totally awesome!! Your MIL... Judy

Neil said...

Really nice stuff. And I operate the same way. I cannot come up with reasons why most of what I do is worthwhile in the ultimate scheme of things. Perhaps rather than being insecure, we are just harder on ourselves than we are on others. Or maybe the two go hand in hand. But I am impressed that you escaped from that blogging conference closet through the heating shaft. Like a TV show!

Unemployed in PDX said...

oh my god. i adore you.

your photography is amazing. i even show people who have no idea who you are and they think so too.

Stimey said...

Hell yes you can. Your photos are beautiful. Do it.

Telling yourself—or others—that you are good at something or taking a compliment is one of the hardest things. I don't know why.

I think you're good at lots of things, including McGyvering your way through your dreams.