It's okay to suck at stuff you like doing.

When I scroll through my Instagram or my recommended videos on YouTube I get confronted with beautiful pictures and gorgeous well thought out videos and its easy to forget that these feeds I see take a lot of work. That video on how to cook the perfect lemon chicken or that image of how to hand letter the word minimum is all made by someone who has put in the effort to get good at something.

Hand lettering class.jpg

I, on the other hand, have never put in the effort to get good at something except backstroke, I can backstroke like a champ (swimming). My house is littered with hobbies that my husband and I put a lot of money into and well sometimes we get good at things like hosting board games nights and some get left behind quickly, like my quest to bake the perfect cupcake.

In art-making there is a term, the fear of a blank canvas. Sometimes lecturers will make you paint a canvas, a variety of colours just so that you aren’t afraid of screwing it up anymore. I think this applies to hobbies as well when you are just starting there is that sheen of omw this is going to be amazing and then when you start to do your own thing suddenly it becomes the “blank canvas” and the fear of screwing up or it not being perfect puts you off.

Recently my mom and I went to the Reitvlei nature reserve to practice our photography and instead of just relaxing, I found myself making excuses of “oh it won’t be a good photo” and being intimidated by people that had better equipment than me. Just their better equipment freaked me out, I have no idea if they know how to use their equipment. While I did take quite a few dud photos, I forgot the awesomeness of having seen a rhino and a jackal and I have a pretty amazing photo of a zebra foal. Also taking photos of birds is fun. Seriously I have no idea what they are called but it was a lot of fun just snapping photos of nests and little birds dancing off twigs.

Sometimes with hobbies or anything really, there is a lot of focus on the beginner stages and that is perfectly fine, but we seem to forget that between beginner and master there should also be amateur and intermediate stage. Wouldn’t the Olympics be a different sports event if there was no differential between the worlds best and people that started the sport as a way to keep fit and be social and practice like 3 hours a week? When you have Bolt running against Gary who does park run on a Saturday morning before going to bunch with his in-laws?

Sounds a bit ridiculous right? So why aren’t we just giving ourselves a break? Enjoying our hobbies not because oh this will be amazing content on my Instagram feed but because they help us to relax. Or because they give us the ability to explore parts of who we are that our jobs don’t let us explore like hand lettering or that group game of risk.

Here are the things I like doing, that I kind of stopped doing:

  • Magic the Gathering- This is a card game that is a competitive deck builder. I used to play this every day and because it seemed weird when I went to university in my social group I stopped. I sincerely feel the need to play again but often feel left behind.

  • Shooting YouTube videos: I got intimidated and busy so instead of following that age-old advice of the more you do it the better you get, I just quit.

  • Painting. Ahh, the problem of having not enough space to work and all the other excuses that come with it. I stopped painting because of so many reasons but my heart misses seeing that moment when oil paints transform into something magical.

  • Sewing: Again I have so many excuses none of them is valid but surely I can still sew in a straight line?

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