Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Mission statement

When I was a small child I was ridiculously good at a handful of things almost instantly. Much fuss was made about this (I picked up the word 'formidable' from my dad at age 2), which was all in stark contrast to the things that I, being a small child, was ridiculously bad at, namely everything else.
I did not like being bad at things. It seemed like a horrible waste of the precious minutes of my short life. My mom often recounts the stories of my berserk episodes that were initiated by me failing to, say, complete a four-piece puzzle, and then flinging the pieces across the room. Puzzles still piss me off to this day.
As I grew a bit older, I found out that there was a plethora of things I was especially bad at, and did not get better with age. These things included but were not limited to: math, accepting information, not dropping things, being a girl, not saying things that would make me cringe in embarrassment years later when I'm trying to sleep, and making friends with my peers who always failed to conform to the norms of heroic morality that were presented to me in the books and movies I devoured like a little monster. I only learned at the tender age of 15 that people don't like it when you insist on correcting their grammar. I was much like Hermione, except not cute and unable to do magic (I tried).

Confronted with this dizzying array of things I sucked at, my natural instinct was to avoid them as much as possible, and instead coast on by on the things I knew I could do well without trying, which surprisingly more or less worked until I was in my early twenties. It was then that I started to be confronted with a second problem. Things that are impressive at 2, like, say, being able to call colors by their proper names or knowing an awful lot about dinosaurs, tend to be somewhat less impressive at 25. And so, much to my horror, the collection of things I knew I was good at was apparently shrinking. Still, this didn't present a particularly acute problem, because the glorious thing about being in your twenties is that you are supposed to suck at stuff. Not to belittle those special few who complete their education at 21, travel the world at 22 and make their first mortgage payment at 23, but people in their twenties are expected to fuck up. After all, they're figuring out life, and will grow out of it in time.

I, on the other hand, very much wasn't. Instead I was locked up in my apartment like a hermit, spilling drinks down the front of my shirt and basking in the warm glow of the internet where you are never alone even if your thing happens to be that you get off on Hot Girls Who Went Chestnut Gathering On A Beautiful Fall Day And Now They Have One Of Those Little Chestnut Spikes Lodged Underneath Their Fingernail And Don't Know How To Get It Out1. The internet will embrace you even if you never learned to cope with the everyday realities of things like supermarkets, public transport and anything that will ever resemble a real people job. It will not judge if you spent more time in the past few weeks figuring out in minute detail what your plan of action would be in the zombie apocalypse than you have wearing clothes that are not pajamas, and it understands that the last time the HR department asked you to complete a form illustrating where you see yourself in five years, you drew a picture of yourself riding a unicorn. The internet can relate.
Meanwhile I watched in dismay how the people outside my room slowly turned into adults, had kids and careers, drove around in cars and attended Sunday brunches. Panic ensued. Prescriptions were filled.

But all that is going to change.2
I decided 32 is as good an age as any to accept the fact that if you are going to live life at all, you are going to have to suck at it, and it won't be pretty. If spending all this time on the internet has taught me anything, it is the simple truth that no matter what you think you are good at, there are small children on Youtube who can do it better. And that has to be ok, because if it wasn't, no one would ever do anything anymore.
So from now on, I will make it my mission to go out and suck at stuff. Not just that: I will revel in it. I will celebrate it. I will be the high priestess of sucking at stuff. I will change what it means to suck at stuff, so that the proper translation of the phrase "You suck!" will be "Godspeed, brave warrior facing fear and embarrassment without flinching, many children will be named after you!"
I will go through life as a cake wreck with legs, screwing up horribly whatever adventures may cross my path, and the caption will say "Nailed it!". It will be terrible and glorious and unhinged, and I am going to share it with you while somehow staying true to the part of me that feels it's important to remain a snarky asshat. After all, you gotta have a code.

In the end, I am going to be just like you.

I am already terrified.

Why thank you, Oxford Dictionary. I'll try to keep that in mind.

2 Feel free to read the following paragraph as narrated by Ewan McGregor at the end of Trainspotting.


  1. I think I need to go out and suck at stuff. Playing it safe has only gotten me so far. And your sucking is inspiring! (Aided by the fact that I hadn't checked in a few days and so had this and the couple you wrote after to read all at once.) And I totally Ewan McGregored that last bit. Rar!!!!

  2. This blog even sucks at sucking! Such kind of ingenious reflexive relation is worthy of a philosopher. :)