More than one person has noted that I am rather self-deprecating. Hell, I noticed this myself and wrote a whole post about it. Thus, I’m trying an experiment: I’m going to try writing a post of things I am good at.
This is a weird post to write because my natural inclination is to disclaim for accuracy, which other people interpret as needless self-deprecation, but from my end, I feel like I’m trying to be accurate. Like honestly, I used to play a pretty mean game of Scrabble, but I haven’t played in ages so I’m out of practice now. If I wrote “I’m good at Scrabble” without qualifiers, I just know that someone would challenge me, I’d lose, and then I’d be called a liar. Writing this post feels very risky.
I’m telling myself that “Good” doesn’t have to mean the best, doesn’t have to mean that there aren’t people who are better, and doesn’t have to mean that I’d win every time.
So with that, a list of things I am fairly good at:
1) Shepherd’s Pie
I am a mostly mediocre chef. I love reading recipes and watching cooking shows, but I just don’t have the interest or patience when it comes to actually cooking well. However, I make a mean Shepherd’s Pie. And by “Shepherd’s Pie”, I mean technically Cottage Pie, but seriously, no one calls it that. Dad raved about it.
Not that Dad is a reliable source of objective opinion because he also raved about my potato latkes (fried potato pancakes traditionally eaten at Chanukah), which were not that great, solely because Dad hates making potato latkes and was trying to convince someone else to take over the job. However, people who are not my dad have also raved about my shepherd’s pie.
2) My Non-Native-Speaker French Accent
I’m not going to claim that my accent sounds “French”, because that would be awfully bold of me. But I can confidently say that my accent does not sound American.
However, this is actually kind of a bad thing, because then people assume I can actually speak it in normal conversation, which I cannot. Fear/lack of opportunity means I have little experience conversing in French with actual speakers, which means my listening comprehension is poor, and my vocabulary is whatever useless phrases they teach you in French class that you would never have reason to use in real life.
Once, I bought a phrasebook of inappropriate French slang so I can learn things like how to buy drugs and how to hire a prostitute and tell said prostitute exactly what I would like to do in bed in French. I haven’t read it yet though.
3) Country Music Karaoke
I have a complicated relationship with my voice generally and it feels really uncomfortable to characterize my voice as “good”. But I feel like I can say that I have a pretty good country music singing voice for karaoke.
Don’t get the wrong idea though. I still lost all the time in competitive karaoke, including during Country Music week with what I thought was an awesome solo performance. Btw, I also failed the audition for the Jewish A Cappella Group in college, even though “Jewish A Cappella Group” sounds tailored to me and my audition was amazing.
Wow, it is easy to go back down the self-deprecation rabbit hole…
4) Leyning (Reading Torah)
This is the one I probably have the most skill in by far. Of course, only egalitarian congregations that allow women to leyn actually care. [Traditionally, Orthodox Judaism does not allow women to read Torah – this is one reason (out of many) why I am not Orthodox and have no intention of becoming Orthodox]. The egalitarian congregations definitely care, and they do appreciate it.
Also, I’m good at sight-reading Haftarah. This Yom Kippur, I was asked at the very last minute to read Jonah for Yom Kippur. Granted, that doesn’t really count as sight-reading because I’ve done it before. But my Jonah reading was excellent. One of the few things this Yom Kippur that actually went well. (Yom Kippur was a clusterfuck, due to my own incompetence). The sermon went well too, actually. I’d still characterize Yom Kippur this year as a disaster overall, but it should be noted that I am a good public speaker.
5) Functioning On 4 Hours of Sleep Per Night
Thus concludes the anti-self-deprecation post experiment. I can’t decide if this did anything positive, but I’m turning into a challenge for the rest of you anyway. Please don’t challenge me to a shepherd’s pie cook-off.
Challenge time! Tell me: What are your 5 talents / 5 things you are good at? I want to hear it all: the good, the “I do this professionally”, the exceptional, the ever-so-slightly-better-than-average, and the thoroughly-mediocre-but-still-going-to-count-it-anyway. I want to hear the useful and the utterly useless. I want to hear the ridiculously niche. Tell me in the comments / on your own blog without deprecating yourself. Go!