Anti-Self-Deprecation, More or Less

Can’t write the post I actually want to write because it contains too much sensitive information. Then I finally wrote around it only for WordPress to delete my draft. Not re-writing it.

Anyway, it’s been a mix of good and not-so-good lately. I can’t get into the detail. Dumb as this sounds, I could use the confidence boost so I’m listing a few more things I’m good at. Similar to The Anti-Self-Deprecation Challenge, feel free to play along at home or in the comments here.

I Have a Good Haftarah Chanting Voice

This is one of those talents that no one actually cares about except small desperate egalitarian congregations, but it still counts. Truthfully, I don’t consider myself a singer. I’ve flubbed too many auditions and gotten too much feedback like “you’re only in this a cappella group because we desperately needed altos – if we’d had auditions, you wouldn’t have gotten in” to delude myself. I’m not tone-deaf and I have enough experience at karaoke that I’ll sound a hell of lot better than the average drunk person picking up a microphone for the first time. But I don’t consider myself a singer.

That said, I have a really beautiful voice for chanting Haftarah. It’s the kind of voice you’ll look up and pay attention to. Multiple professionally trained singers have told me that my reading of Jonah is a highlight of their Yom Kippur [and not only because they don’t want to want to have to get stuck doing it themselves late on a fast day].

Update: I just realized that this is kind of a repeat of one of the things I already mentioned from the earlier challenge. It’s not easy thinking of things one is good at!

I’m Good At Convincing People I Am Good At My Job

Truth be told, I am actually not all that good at my job, which for anonymity reasons, I will not tell you what it is. It does not play to any of my natural talents. If anything, it plays to my weaknesses.

However, I am good at convincing people that I am good at my job by writing up my experience into an attractive resume and LinkedIn profile that makes me look 2 years younger and gets me attention from recruiters and interviews. Then I tend to interview well. Not always, and I’ve bombed plenty of interviews. But overall, I interview well. And then when I am in this job that I am not actually good at, I am good at talking to people as if I am good at it.

I Am A Good Writer

I hate this statement. It’s the kind of statement where you just know that the person saying it sucks because a good writer doesn’t need to say “I’m a good writer” – he/she will just show you with actual good writing.

But you know what? My poetry, though unpublished because I haven’t pursued where to publish and the whole submission process, is rather good. My parody lyrics are clever. I’ve written a few chapters of a novel, and even though I historically have not written fiction, thus far I’ve successfully written:

  • Multiple characters who are not me
  • Dialogue
  • Multiple conflicts, without a giant slab of expository backstory text
  • Humor

It is true that my novel has many issues, including, but not limited to, wrong point of view selection, massive plot holes, and the entire premise of the novel is flawed, unoriginal, and stupid, actually. But the scenes I’ve written are in fact, well-written scenes. Well-written scenes with nowhere to go, but that counts. I’ll own that remarkably stupid headline statement.

Alright, enough anti-self-deprecation for a Monday. Your turn. Put yours in the comments or on your own blog with a link back.

61 comments

  1. I just watched a documentary series where the voice-over for all episodes was done by one, Natalie Silverman. I know because I watched for her name in the credits, because I sort of fell in love with her voice. Let’s say, her voice is the exact opposite of Fran Drescher’s. So, that’s nice.
    My voice is vaguely, slightly Mafia-breathy, especially over the phone. I’ve been told. But I’m one of those people who cringe when listening to myself via audio recording of some sort.
    And I agree that you are a good writer, at least in the context of blogs, since that is all I have to go on. Being a really good writer is, I think, hard to pin down, because the very best writing is transparent. You got that. I can barely stand to read blogs where this is not the case, because, well, just because. You know what I mean.
    I’m good at fixing stuff when the proper material and/or tool(s) is not available. Back when I had a garage, I could often be seen wandering around in it saying to myself, “there’s got to be SOMETHING in here that I can use to fix that.” And I almost always found it. (It helps to have lots of junk piled here and there.) When I had to fix trouble in phone lines or transmission etc. my motto was “there’s always a way.”
    I suck at poetry, but I think I do OK with descriptive writing. I’m very much a novice but, specifically, I think I”m good at dialog and how to write it in.
    OK.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I concur with your assessment of your description abilities, as that is the best description of a voice that I have ever read. I totally hear you on the listening to recordings of your own voice thing – it’s so weird! I have a decent singing voice, but my speaking voice is totally unremarkable. Voice-acting is a true art. Should I ever publish a book of poetry or a novel and decide to release an audiobook version, I will 100% hire someone else to read/record it.

      Fixing stuff is a very useful talent, especially when you don’t have the right materials or tools.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Just read the link you listed in your response. I think we can not judge ourselves completely without an internal bias (good or bad). Glad you appreciate puns. Sex-derived puns are too easy and too plentiful. It’s harder to make a clever pun on a topic that has not already been pun-ised to death. Sort of like crime and pun-ishment.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m one of those who fits the cliché “Jack of all trades. Master of none!” I manage databases with hundreds of millions of dollars in capital improvements for school districts and universities at one moment, and the next moment I’m fixing a toilet in the ladies room. My first task this morning was the toilet repair. Fine way to start the week.

    Liked by 4 people

      • Might have been a crappy start of the week. Since we own the building, I’m having to learn to repair all kinds of commercial systems that I know nothing about. When the air went down in the tenant’s space, I had to reprogram the thermostats. After I got one unit repaired, the air-conditioning tech went over to the tenants space with me to check the thermostats. I had to reprogram the thermostat again. The tech asked how I knew how to program the thermostat, because he can’t figure them out. I told him I don’t know how to program these thermostats. I was totalling guessing, pressing buttons and searching menus until it looked right. Since the tenant hasn’t complained, I guess I got it set.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I do hate interviews, where you have to pretend to be the bee’s knees. It took me a while, but I got decent at them. It’s like a performance. I could have won Oscars.

    Self-deprecation is the way forward. Love a bit of that. It’s an artform.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. You are a good writer and have a great sense of self-deprecation. I am an un-redeemed punster which can be either clever or annoying depending upon how bad the listener determines the pun to be.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. You are a good writer! I love your poetry.

    I’m great at tests and games. I’m still pretty good at memorizing stuff. Sometimes I’m funny. I can occasionally come up with a piece of poetry or fiction that others find enjoyable to read. I’m generally helpful, reliable, and kind. I am super organized!

    Liked by 5 people

  6. I love this! And the fact that you’ve added struggles that you overcame in each category too. Chiming in agreement you are a great writer; enjoying the comments here.

    I am good at the learning process, both in memorisation and being tested, and on the flip side communicating and coaching others what I know (the exception being while driving and giving directions while in the passenger seat).

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is so hard not to be a backseat/passenger seat driver!! I’m not an exceptional driver or anything, but there are definitely times when I’m in the passenger seat just biting my tongue. Maybe this is why I don’t really like passengers in my car. I assume they are judging me as much as I judge them, lol.

      You are really good at the communication piece. I really enjoy reading everything you learn through your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I like your writing. We’re all good at something. I’m good at listening. But not remembering. Sometimes tgat is a good thing. I’m pretty unshockable though I’ve heard some awful things. I should have been a priest I sometimes think. Otherwise I can occasionally make people laugh. I was a good educator. I live people. I’m bad at lots of things

    Liked by 2 people

    • Listening is one of those criminally underrated skills. Seriously, we do not value listening, nor the people who do it well, enough.

      Eh, we’re all bad at lots of stuff. I could write a book of everything I’m bad at, and unlike my novel in progress, it would not have good characters or dialogue or humor, so it would be a long and shitty book. At least this blog post tries to be amusing.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. There’s this quote that stuck with me “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” There are many times in our lives where people (with or without meaning to) shake our confidence. It’s wonderful that you know what legs you can stand on (or fins you can swim with or voice to sing with 🙂 ).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ooo this sounds like a fun theme. Let me tell you something about me. I can drink coffee and not feel anything. How’s that practical? I don’t know. But boy am I GOOD at it. Sucks to write an entire post only to lose it though. I know that writing it once kinda imbues your being with the story (so you could rewrite it again if you wanted to), but it’s the work that’s the issue. Anyway, you DO write well!

    Liked by 3 people

    • That was me in college – I had such a caffeine addiction and sleep deficit that I’d drink coffee and fall asleep. It was pretty bad. I’m now down to about 2 cups/day like a normal person but I totally get it. Thanks! That feedback means a lot coming from you!

      Like

  10. I’m really tempted to try this, just to lighten things up a little bit. It sounds like you’re going through some crazy ups and downs right now, and it’s good to be able to stay on course by not letting your thoughts about yourself skew towards the negative. I am very jealous of your singing voice. As you’d probably guess, if I were in the congregation, I’d be in the back, lip-syncing along with you.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Well, I’m trying. It’s definitely hard not to go down the rabbit hole.

      Things have definitely been a mix of good and bad. Mostly good things mind you, although my reaction to the less good overshadows everything. It’s been hard to write about.

      You’d be surprised how much of singing is teachable. With voice lessons and practice, one can really improve, should you decide to one day pursue it. In any case, always love the lip-syncing support.

      Liked by 1 person

    • We had a woman at my synagogue who really loved to sing the prayers alongside everyone and really loved to harmonize. Loudly. And not 100% hitting the target note. But I had to admire her spirit. Sadly, I haven’t seen her or her husband return to in-person services since the pandemic (I believe they are ok, just not open to the risk of exposure). Services do feel less spirited and less joyous.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. You sound like me. I could have written this but no, I would not have written it as well. I sang for years, in front of people, at church!! Some said I was a singer but I had (and still have some) great stage fright. I shook sometimes uncontrollably. I have stories. I love to sing, mostly about the Lord but enjoy many kinds of music.

    I am a writer not because I have books (although I have written a few poetry books, one not published), but because i write. Period! Working on a memoir.

    I don’t write well, never took a formal class because I am afraid of assignments and grades, but I take on many challenges from prompts. I think they are good until I start reading others. Then I know I know nothing how I ought.

    I write short stories. I submitted a couple to contests. I didn’t win. I Someone told me once that a story is just a string of details joined together. Just write one detail at a time.

    I write to process what I think. I am dyslexic, have a reading disorder, ADHD and do not have a good memory. These are labels. I am trying to ditch them. Repeating them does me no good.

    I love to laugh. Would love to write humor but I’m better at it naturally when I’m not planning it.

    I was somewhat good at my job. Because of personal circumstances I am no longer employed. It sucks not having a schedule. No schedule means no purpose. NO IT DOESN’T! Trying to ditch that one too!

    Enjoyed your read. I needed it. See, you have purpose!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can so identify on the singing front! I most don’t get stage fright so much these days, but that’s less because I’m such a reliably good singer (ha! not the case at all…) and more because I’ve survived the humiliating bombs so many times that I know I’ll live. (https://jewishyoungprofessional.wordpress.com/2021/10/13/humiliation-doesnt-actually-kill-you/) Also, getting drunk at karaoke (https://jewishyoungprofessional.wordpress.com/2021/03/16/7-life-lessons-from-competitive-karaoke-because-i-learned-nothing-from-the-pandemic-year/) is another good way of reducing stage fright. I can’t claim that it makes your performance any better (ha!), but it did help reduce stage fright, for better or worse! Singing with the congregation is nice because you can feel like you’re doing something positive even if the performance is less than ideal (I have definitely been in that situation.) I’m sure you’re not giving yourself enough credit on your singing skill.

      Writing is tricky because so many people write and read for so many different reasons. I’d like to think I have sufficiently thick skin to pursue submissions to literary publications, but having not done this yet, I can’t claim that I do. I think it’s also easy to get stuck in a writing comfort zone. I’ve never attempted short story! That’s interesting about the idea of story as details strung together. I’ve heard poetry described similarly as images strung together. Hmmm…

      It’s really hard not to link full-time employment and purpose. So hard. I have a full-time career that’s fine – pays the bills and then some, sounds cool to other people, etc. but I’m not in love with the industry. Sometimes, I think about leaving, but it is so hard to not associate job and identity, even though it’s a terrible habit to do that. Wishing you the best with finding and following your purpose.

      Like

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