By SARA BENINCASA
I am bad at a lot of things. I am, in fact, bad at most things. Here is a brief list of just a few of the things at which I am bad:
1. Brushing my teeth (my technique is all wrong)
2. Flossing my teeth (I always cut myself up)
3. Singing (I have no rhythm, no range, and no ear for music)
4. Cooking (I burn things)
5. Walking my dog (She walks me, really)
6. Drawing (I have no ability to render something pretty)
7. Painting (see “Drawing”)
8. Managing my money (It all disappears into books and dog treats somehow)
9. Managing my time (I leave assignments til the last minute)
10. Managing my weight (I just really like eating things)
11. Understanding sports (I call hockey “puckball”)
12. Relationships (HAHAHAHHAHHAHAHAH oh, we do have fun)
However, even though I am bad at all of these things, I do them anyway. Really! Not necessarily professionally or anything (though I don’t see how I’d be a professional tooth-brusher, unless I were my own dental hygienist, which sounds like an actual living nightmare).
When I was growing up, I thought, “Nothing is worth doing unless you can do it perfectly.” This is a stupid bullshit devil thing to think and/or believe. I now say, “Nothing is worth doing unless you can do it mostly okay.”
I recently got a puppy. I am historically bad at keeping plants alive, so one would think I could not handle a puppy. It turns out, I can! Mostly! I found people who were good at having puppies and asked them to teach me things about having puppies. I also read things about having puppies. And as it turns out, I am not entirely awful at having a puppy! I am mostly okay at it. The puppy doesn’t give a fuck. The puppy leads a life of joy. Her dog walker recently told me that she has a good soul, and you know dog walkers know their shit.
When you are raised to be perfect and then you inevitably turn out to be so very imperfect, it is tempting to stress out over every little thing in life. The fear of failure can emotionally cripple you to the point that you do not attempt anything cool or fun or great. You lead a life that is small and unhappy, or smaller and unhappier than it would be if you attempted something fantastic. And since most of us fail at more things than we succeed, it seems entirely rational to expect that you would, in fact, fail if you made an actual attempt.