Not Quite


Every day, I run across something that makes me wonder if I’m capable.

Usually, it’s a computer programming something or other. I try to do my job and while I have soaring victory sometimes, a lot of times I have pallid, miserable failures. I come up short way more often than I come out on top, and when I do, it sends me plunging back into the books and videos in hope of finding that silver bullet, the one I need to make me a full-fledged computer programmer.

But it’s true in other areas of my life too. The one where it hits me the hardest now is when I read someone’s writing and it makes me feel deficient, incompetent, and stupid for just trying. The words on the page seem to flow, and I sit there longing with a fiery jealousy in my heart burning a hole in my soul. The words, the voice, the structure, the beat – all of it is exactly what I hoped, dreamed, I’d be by now.

All I can do is keep trying, but it doesn’t ever seem to make any difference. I can’t sit and write enough to make a difference. I have no idea how I’d do that. I used to think I had raw talent, but now, I dare not. I dare not. I don’t come close to what I want to be, and some of the people I’m envious of are exactly what I want to be. How do I bridge the gap? How can I get from here to there? I just…can’t seem to do it. I can’t be the writer I want. I can’t find the voice I want.

I get so frustrated sometimes I want to cry. Other times, I just want to give up, forget it all, move on.

My dad used to say, “There’s always someone out there better ‘n you.” Whatever you think you’re the best at, there’s someone out there a little more skilled, a little more practiced, a little more polished, a little more talented…whatever. A little more. And I never seem to be the one who’s the better one.

I’ve been on top of the world last couple of days because of something I did at work. Something my predecessor never did, maybe couldn’t do. But he had the benefit of speed on his side. He could get it done. He did get it done. So whenever I get a little too big for my britches, I try to remember that. He did it in hours, or days. I take weeks or months, if I can do it at all.

And I guess I had it coming this time. I was bragging today about what I did, but then, when I got home, I read a little something. Nothing big, just a snippet from a deviantART writer I happen to watch. It’s amazing to me how good this guy is, and yet, he doesn’t do much of anything with it. For all I know, the months he spends between his posting are all spent polishing and honing that one piece. Never know, right?

Still, his finished work is what I want mine to be, and I can’t seem to get there. I can’t seem to hit my stride. I can’t seem to find the voice, the verbiage, the style I want. I struggled that way with comic art too. I struggled that way with martial arts. I struggled that way with everything I’ve ever tried, it seems. I’m always second fiddle, next best, not quite.

You ever feel that way? You ever get a little depressed because you can’t…quite? Just not quite?

I bet most of you never had that happen. Maybe you can look in admiration and not be envious, because you know you’re awesome at something.

What is it you’re awesome at? What do you want to be better at? What are you “not quite” with but struggle for every day?

-jdt-

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3 thoughts on “Not Quite

  1. “I bet most of you never had that happen.”
    I bet EVERYONE has had that happen. At one time or another, at least. We all know what that feels like. And of course your dad was right–there’s always someone better. So if you measure success in being the best ever in the history of the world, then you will always be disappointed. But you know this. I know you’re just venting, and yes, I’ve wondered why success (however I’m defining it at the moment) seems to hover just out of reach.

    Thanks, Sher. I know it comes and goes. This particular writer has JUST the qualities in his writing I want, and it’s hard to see someone else with it when it seems to elude me. But like everything you and I do, it seems, confidence comes hard.

  2. I’ve always been jealous of people who can swim. I took swimming lessons from age 6 to age 12 and was always terrible at it.

    I went to the high school that had the best music program in Toronto. Kids were driven in from all corners of the city to attend that program. When I started playing violin in 9th grade, that was the first time I’d ever picked one up. By grade 11 we were all required to join the Senior Strings and Symphony Orchestra groups, with prodigies who’d been playing since they were toddlers. (No exaggeration – you can do that with the Suzuki Method and teeny tiny instruments.) I practiced one hour a day every day, plus took private lessons, school lessons, and went to hours of group practice every week, but I could never keep up with the prodigies. It was pretty frustrating.

    I can imagine. That’s a pretty good analogy for how I’ve been feeling of late, what with being stymied and everything in Appmageddon, in writing, everything. Thanks for that, Spark. I appreciate the sharing.

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