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DOING THINGS BADLY

I was walking out of my Continuing Ed watercolor class with one of my classmates.  “How are you liking the class?” I asked. I was pretty stoked about it. I have this bucket list of things I wanted to do when I had more spare time. The time had come—learning to paint was on it.

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“I’m so bad at it,” she said discouragingly. “I thought it would be fun but it’s a lot harder than it looks.”

“No worries, I do a lot of things badly but that doesn’t stop me,” I told her.  I refrained from saying that very few things stop me if I’d decided upon doing them.  Not all the choices have been good ones, but I have reached my fifth decade so that’s saying something.

I knew in kindergarten being a great artist was not in the cards for me. It may have been my uniquely ugly, crayon creations that tipped me off. They were perfect eyesores.  They didn’t even warrant a place on the fridge, but I wished I’d archived them for kicks and giggle later.

My classmate sighed heavily, walked to her car and I never saw her again. I finished the course and thoroughly enjoyed it. My professor would often shake his head, bite his lip, and make a few suggestions. I’m pretty sure he pitied me, but I was enthusiastic and I made it to the end—six out of fifteen of us did. I felt sorry for him then. He’d given up his time to teach others about his passion and the badness factor had kept the rest of the students away.

The point here—yes, there is one— is that I’m all about the means, the journey,  the interesting stuff I learn along the way when I take up a new hobby. So far, I sew badly, I play the guitar super-badly, and I paint badly. I also park badly, but that’s a whole other blog.  It seems such a shame that people insist that they have to do whatever they do first rate, top of the class, must be the best at it, or the thing isn’t worth doing.

Can’t we just do it without the judgment of “bestness?” It’s being the best, doing the thing well or not at all, that cripples us. I’m not saying it hasn’t taken me years to get to this philosophical oneness with my badness, but once I did, I’ve had a lot of fun trying out new things and not worrying whether it’s good or bad. It just is. Isn’t that what having fun is all about?

So embrace your inner badness (the kind that goes with hobbies) and go out and have fun. If you’ve already reached this place—major kudos to you.  I won’t subject you to my watercolors, that would be cruel but I’ve archived them this time—you know, for posterity.

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