When Modesty Forces You To Eat Your Own Words

Remember these?


Buttons/lapel pins/whatever you want to call them, they were popular back in the day. I had a few. Still have some of them. One of my favorites was this one that said “My charm, beauty, and honesty are only exceeded by my modesty.” It was my favorite because it was funny, and kind of true. I was often told that I was too modest because I had/have a hard time accepting praise for my accomplishments.

Yesterday I posted to Facebook a picture of the sweater I made for myself. I’ve been working on it most of December and I finally finished it this past weekend. I had to unravel it when I was halfway through because when I tried it on it turned out the size was much too large. (For some reason, I still think I’m bigger than I really am.) Here’s the picture:


I received many compliments on it. “Beautiful,” “gorgeous color,” “very pretty.” “Thank you so very much,” I replied. But then someone invariably commented about how talented I was. And that stopped me dead in my tracks. It always does. I don’t feel talented. In point of fact, whenever someone tells me to list my talents I’m always stuck for what to list. Reading isn’t a talent. Cooking? No, most people can cook. Oh wait! I’m kind of funny. Oh, well, I’m sometimes funny. Okay, maybe I’m not so funny? I can write poetry but is that really a talent? Besides, it’s not very good, is it? Well, I CAN clean and do laundry but I’m thinking it doesn’t really take much talent to pick up clothes and put them in a hamper, or to put dishes in the dishwasher. In fact, my four year old can do that, too. He must be really talented. Oh, and I can knit. I taught myself over seventeen years ago. But that’s really not a talent. It’s just a skill. Anyone can do it.

Can’t they?

Apparently not. One friend, *coughGINGERcough*, seems to think that she can’t. My niece thought that she couldn’t because she’s left-handed. Lizzi was taught but it didn’t stick. And it did take me a while to figure it out. But I still learned, and I taught my Southpaw niece by having her mirror me until she caught on. I even taught myself to knit left-handed at the time so I could show her some tricks. Recently, I taught her how to knit a sweater and use her right hand to knit. And, really, knitting is an ambidextrous skill. I have to use both hands to knit, never just one. Yes, it takes some getting used to. You have to retrain your brain to think in terms of both hands. It’s like playing piano or any instrument. Even blow drying your hair. But is it a talent? It really made me think last night. What exactly do they think I’m talented at?

I didn’t design the sweater. I used a pattern someone else designed. To me, that’s talent. To envision an unmade object and then create it in a physical form requires abilities I don’t have. Could I learn them? Probably. But do I care to learn that talent? Not at the moment. So, I’ll use the pattern a talented designer created. Oh, wait. I get it now.

Just to be safe I decided to look up the actual definition of talent because to me, I’m still not talented. I just developed a skill.

According to Merriam-Webster here’s the definition of talent:

Simple Definition of talent

  • : a special ability that allows someone to do something well

  • : a person or group of people with a special ability to do something well : a talented person or group

  • : people who are sexually attractive

  • Full Definition of talent

  1. 1a :  any of several ancient units of weight  b :  a unit of value equal to the value of a talent of gold or silver

  2. 2: archaic :  a characteristic feature, aptitude, or disposition of a person or animal

  3. 3:  the natural endowments of a person

  4. 4a :  a special often athletic, creative, or artistic aptitude  b :  general intelligence or mental power :  ability

  5. 5:  a person of talent or a group of persons of talent in a field or activity

synonyms: gifted, skillful, skilled, accomplished, brilliant, expert, consummate,masterly, adroit, dexterous, able, competent, apt, capable, deft, adept,proficient;


Well, damn.