It’s Okay To Suck At Stuff
I like to be good at things. As a kid, that was my whole persona: the girl who is good at things. It’s a sweet position to be in. You get to succeed at almost everything you try because you hardly try anything you think you won’t be awesome at. Why would you? You’re the person who is good at things!
To this day, a lot of my self-worth is wrapped up in success and accomplishments. If I am working and doing good work, then I am a good person, but if I am not working or doing bad work, I am a bad person. There’s no separation.
Whenever someone says, “Oh, man, Gaby, you just work so hard and do so many things.”
I say, “Thank you. I appreciate that. But I am a crazy, anxiety-ridden perfectionist so you know, all of it is filling a deep emotional void. But you know…thanks.”
Now, I’m figuring out slowly that it is okay to suck at stuff. It can even be fun. For example, at the gentle suggestion of my improv coach, I am taking an acting class. I like comedy, sure. Do I want to necessarily be a serious actress? Not really. Am I good at acting? Oh, certainly not.
I am not, and never will be, the best actress in my class. I am all right. I am passable. But I’m not making people tear up or gaze in awe at my acting skills like I am some angel sent from the Heaven of Helen Mirren and Don Cheadle. I’m more…adequate(?)ish, even terrible, and less the heir apparent of Queen of Everything Meryl Streep.
I have also started doing yoga and guess what? I suck at it! I fall over, I can’t maintain poses, I can’t remember mantras. I am legit bad at yoga. A thing people do to relax. But I’m still doing it.
And guys, instead of being in any way demoralizing, it just feels great.
There’s something to be said for doing something just because you enjoy it and not because you’ve got any particular skills. There’s something to be said for doing something you’re not the best at and just keeping at it. It’s freeing.
Is there something you’re curious about but not trying because you think you won’t be good at it? Toss that anxiety away! It is really okay, great even, to suck at stuff. Go hard at sucking! Suck the worst in the whole class, on the whole team, whatever! Revel in the sucking!
That’s not to say you shouldn’t try, but you know, just stop making yourself crazy about it. You’re not going to be the best at everything. There will always be someone better at certain things than you. And that’s great!
I have a pretty hard time with this. I am competitive. I don’t really feel motivated to do anything I’m not going to be at least, pretty above average at. But it’s been really good for me to participate in activities where the exact opposite is true.
So I am sucking from here on out!
I am sucking at dramatic acting and I am sucking at yoga! Hooray! (What follows is one GIANT “that’s what she said” but come on.) So: Let’s all suck together in one massive global conspiracy of suck! Let’s commit to not being afraid to suck, because who cares, right? Let’s suck and then move forward and keep going.
This is my new stand, guys. For a crazy workaholic perfectionist nutbag like me, it’s a big one. It is okay to suck at stuff. It doesn’t mean you have to quit. It doesn’t mean you have to worry endlessly about it. It doesn’t mean you’re bad at everything. Being the best is not the endgame. It doesn’t make you a better person and it doesn’t make you more worthy of doing that activity you enjoy. Go forth, take a deep breath and keep on suckin’.
Embrace it! Have fun! You suck!
A | A | A
If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”