I can’t whistle. I tried SCUBA diving once and almost drowned in the shallow end of the practice pool. I’m not great at math (once I got past algebra), and my handwriting is often illegible even to me. I can’t apply eyeliner, mascara or eyeshadow. I can’t do much of anything with my left hand. I’m extremely bad at buying pants that fit me (out of about 15 pairs of pants in my apartment, four fit). I have lost my college ID twenty or thirty times. I can’t eat spicy food without my head filling up with snot. I can’t draw straight lines. I’m horrible at remembering things so I have to write nearly everything down. I set my alarm clock an hour early because it’s really tough to get me out of bed, and when I do get up, I’m a grumpasaurus for at least another hour. My nightstand is just a pile of books and dvds and Pop Tarts wrappers. My desk is worse. Birds and fish creep me out (something about their weird flat eyes). I get sunburned really easily and I hate the feeling of lotion, so my skin is disgusting. Even the thought of a mani/pedi makes me squeamish. I’m bad at standing up for myself, and I tend to apologize for things that aren’t my fault.
I can parallel park like I was born to, in anything — little cars, big trucks, power steering or not, automatic or manual transmission. I make brownies so good you want to join a religion based on them, and a carrot cake that will bring you to tears. I’m a good swimmer (and fairly bouyant). I can figure out how to thread and operate almost any sewing machine, given enough time. I can plan and execute a cross-country move by myself (and have done it more than once). I can tell you when and where and how to use an adverb instead of an adjective and a semicolon instead of a comma or a dash. I can give you directions to anywhere I’ve ever been without using Google Maps, and I can give you general directions to plenty of places I’ve never been. I have some sort of subconscious energy aura that makes babies and dogs love me. Seriously, dogs will lope up to me like they know me and babies cry when people take them away from me. I can throw together a meal without much planning and without a written recipe. I am good at being alone and I can read a 400-page novel in a day, carrying it to the bathroom, the kitchen, anywhere. Once I decide I want to take on a project, I take it 100 percent, until it’s finished.
I feel like I’m just about breaking even sometimes, and sometimes I feel like I’m coming up short. I don’t ever feel like I’m edging over to the plus side, where my talents outweigh my flaws. Maybe someday, if I keep working at it, I might, but until then, I’ve got to keep working.