Thursday, January 21, 2016

31 Days: I Wish I Knew How

31 Days of Writing Prompts: What is the one thing you wish you knew how to do?

three things, actually, and all things that i once tried when i was younger but gave up on because i was lazy and unmotivated:

1) speak another language fluently. i was so big on linguistics that twice in my life, i almost pursued it seriously: once in elementary school, when i was offered the chance to transfer to a french immersion school, and once in university, when i considered minoring in a language. although i didn't go down either route, i stuck with french all throughout high school, and i took german in university. there's also the fact that i taught myself japanese when i was a teenager, but couldn't continue on in university since it was a super popular course and always at capacity (which actually ended my ambition to minor in japanese studies, because i could never register for one of the fucking required courses). i'd always secretly had the wish that i could fluently speak a language other than english, because it seemed to always open up more opportunities in terms of jobs and travel, but it never came to pass. i can still get by decently with both french and japanese, though.

2) play a musical instrument. as you could probably surmise by how deeply my life is entrenched with music and musicians, i once tried to be one myself (before i learned it was hard, and i have little to no innate talent, and i'd much rather be the muse than the musician). i circled around a bunch of different options, including piano when i was a kid, then vocals when i was a teenager, followed by guitar. (i even spent my senior prom money on an electric guitar instead of a dress and had to borrow one of my friend's outfits.) i was only ever so-so at all of them, and i fell into a predictable pattern: i'd putter along at them during lessons but never actually put in a lot of practice time, then eventually i would get defeated by the fact that i wasn't getting much better (ie. i wasn't a prodigy), and my confidence would cave in to the point that i would start telling myself that i suck and i should quit, so i would. there's little more fragile that a teenage girl's confidence, i can tell you. so i stopped piano when i was young because my teacher was a moron, i quit vocal lessons because i competed in the kiwanis festival and, although i got two a- grades, i still had such bad stage fright that i cried for hours after i finished, and i gave up on guitar when i moved to toronto. i don't really regret it - i now know what musicians go through, and it's not the life for me - but it would be a nice skill to have.

3) fight people. little-known fact about me: i have a green belt in karate. for real, i do. (i mean, it's not great -- it's halfway to black belt, but still.) i also know some rudimentary weapon fighting with tonfa and bo staff. again, this was an interest i had as a teenager, mostly owing to how much i loved fighting games and how much i wished i, too, could fight people. it was never a self-defence thing for me, although it's often preached as such for young women; rather, to me, i just wanted to be able to hold my own in hand-to-hand combat. which is a weird ambition to have, but whatever, i was 15. anyway, i only made it as far as green belt - four belt levels in - before i realized how much i hated physical activity and quit. (also, the same scenario above repeated itself: i took part in a tournament, got stage fright, did terribly, and my confidence nosedived.) not to mention the dojo was full of mirrors, and this was during the worst of my teen years: the baby fat, the awful skin, the greasy hair. also, white gi + not knowing how to handle adolescent menstruation = bad news.

oh, and one more, but it doesn't really count because i don't really wish i knew how to do it: drive a car. i don't have my driver's license and i probably never will, because the very idea of driving scares the crap out of me.