“What are you really good at?”
It’s one of those questions that from the onset can appear rather cliche but is actually rather cumbersome to answer. Well, it’s cumbersome for me to answer.
I have never been able to answer that question neatly. No thematically-sound ribbon and bow to cap off the package like ‘cricket’, ‘excel formulas’ or ‘wet t-shirt contests’. While others seem to build a consistent narrative around their interests, mine often feels like randomly torn bits of paper strewn haphazardly on the floor. ‘Naming kaiju species’ may score you geek points with an overgrown 90s latch key kid but most people would probably give you nervous smiles while ushering their kids quietly out the back door. And ‘lazing around and binge-watching TV shows’ is not really a skill, no matter how good you think you are at it (I’m really good). I was told recently that I am good at explaining concepts to people in a relatable way. But that’s still a few words too many compared to ‘cooking vegan meals’.
There appears to be no supporting infrastructures for the things I am interested enough to develop. I love writing, but I did not develop an interest in it because I used to read a lot. In fact, I only picked up reading nearly a decade after I started writing for publications. Yes, the horror. I love football, but not quite enough to head to a field and kick a ball myself. I played music for nearly 20 years, but had very little interest in hitting music stores unless I absolutely needed to.
Perhaps it has to do with just how fundamentally non-obsessive I am. I certainly retain an interest in many peculiar things but nothing quite enough to shape my existence. They are but stringy moments of unadulterated passion that never amounted to a season. Ironically, when I was a raging discontented teenager, I used to aspire towards being a balanced adult.
I may have taken that aspiration a little too seriously …