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Stuff I’m terrible at

December 21, 2011

So my friend Anna (who is really sweet and an amazing pillow constructionist btw) left a friendly comment on my last post asking if there’s anything I can’t do?

Before I start, let me say that I know Anna, and she has a heart of gold. I’m sure she meant nothing of it except to be awesomely supportive, *hugs to Anna*

…but my own insecurities suddenly went into overdrive…

Have I been getting to big for my britches? Oh no… Have I become that oppressive show-off hogging her little corner of the net?

You see I found myself cringing as suddenly I was 11, and seeing the sudden seething look of hatred my best friend gave me when her mom said “Why can’t you be more like Sonja?”

It seems to be a depressingly humourous ongoing theme in my life.

A couple of weeks ago, as I excitedly showed my pattern in the modern blocks book to some of my “mom” friends at school, one friend suddenly seemed so threatened, and made some uncomfortable comment about me being amazing at everything I do.

It seems that to many people I come across as that über talented doitall person is just naturally great at everything they do.

This is just not so, people!!

I just get really focused, like OCD focused, on stuff I’m bad at and I can’t seem to let things rest till I’ve figured the heck out of it. That’s all. I don’t think I’m especially talented in anything, unless you count the tendency to obsess over stuff a talent?

Ok, so for the record, there is a lot of stuff I’m terrible at. For example:

1 – I can’t run.

It hurts to admit it cause I was pretty athletic in high school, and my brain fantasizes my run looks like this:


However, I’ve been told by several people that I actually run like this:

2 – I have no sense of rhythm.

I blame all those years of classical piano lessons. Even though I’m sure they have nothing to do with it.

I was in the jazz band in school. I played the piano, since my then 13+ years of piano lessons made me a good candidate for the spot.

Our band was actually surprisingly good, mostly due to the extraordinary drumming ability of my older brother and placed highly in a couple of those music festivals. I remember our band teacher Mr. Smith proudly took us to a recording studio. And silly me thought I was all that, imagining myself as the next Thelonius Monk.


Well, in the middle of what I thought was a great go, he stopped the band, pulled me aside and said “Sonja, will you please find a beat. Any beat, just stick to a rhythm, your chord shots are so off it’s killing me”.

3 – I’m mathematically challenged.

God help me if I’m ever stuck without a calculator.

I took and failed precalculus in university 3 times. This wasn’t even first year math, it was the class you took cause you couldn’t cheat in your grade 12 final and just passed by the skin of your teeth. The best score I ever received was 3 out of 150 because I added right in one of the steps of one question.


Don’t let my sneaky iphone instagram shots fool you. (My computer has decided to just not turn on so I’m resorting to posting from my phone)

My knitting isn’t perfect. I see lots of weirdness in those mittens, especially since I’m too lazy to block them and used some unorthodox color-changing cause I lack a darning needle.

Actually, it’s the same reason I had to cram all the dangly ends inside the mittens so they wouldn’t show in the shot.


In fact, the first pair of mittens I ever knit were for my husband. One looked like some sort of mangled chain mail gauntlet belonging to the biggest lobster you can imagine.


The second mitten looked custom made for the 3 fingered, horribly disfigured hand stump of the grinch’s poor cousin.


You can ask my husband if you don’t believe me, I think that whole experience permanently traumatized him.

Ok, I feel better now.

All I do is practice and try try again till the cows come home or I’ve driven someone insane.

My little brother still knows the whole first movement of Beethoven’s Pathetic off by heart some 15 years after I stopped playing it.

12 Comments leave one →
  1. Jo Ann permalink
    December 21, 2011 6:32 pm

    Sonja – thanks for the great laugh! I fear that I may have even snorted while laughing! I thought your choice of photos was perfect. Please add humour to you amazing list of talents.

  2. December 21, 2011 7:35 pm

    Ah, and there you’ve hit on it–the true secret to becoming one of those uber talented craftsy people….constant unending practice! Don’t let the jealous (or lazy) get in your head or under your skin. Most things and people aren’t perfect be-alls–except from a distance. So, enjoy your successes (you’ve earned them through effort and persistance)–and keep your sense of humor about the failures–it’s why I love coming to your blog!

  3. December 21, 2011 8:22 pm

    Don’t apologize. You’re great. And generally speaking we tend to blog our WINS. Otherwise it would get very depressing in the blogosphere. Love seeing your projects!

  4. December 21, 2011 9:48 pm

    Rolling On THE FLOOR! You are some kind of funny, girl!!! Still, you are a great blogger; you’ve a wonderful sense of humor and self! AND you are A-W-E-S-O-M-E! I’m still laughing at those “grinch” gloves! I really love the work you’ve done with the paper piecing…love your blog…. so there….grinning!

    hugz and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

  5. ina permalink
    December 21, 2011 9:49 pm

    Embrace your talents! You’ve worked hard to get here so don’t let other people’s expectations or judgements get to you. Enjoy your successes and laugh at the failures…btw, I did hear that The Grinch is in need of new mittens! Send to Cindy Lou Who in Whoville. She’ll make sure he gets them. ;p

  6. December 22, 2011 12:46 am

    Oh that made me laugh! celebrate your success, everyone is human, we are all crappy at some stuff, we just don’t tend to show these but put our best stuff out there. Your work is great, I can see your designs from a thumbnail and know they are yours- such a strong style! For the record, I am brilliant at everything- hmm except, making curtains, setting in standard zips, cookies that need any sort of rolling out, driving ,making jam…I could go on

  7. December 22, 2011 5:13 am

    And you are funny too! Don’t let the occasional jealousy get you down. You made wonderful presents for the teachers that will be unique for them, something they won’t regift. I sent fudge and other candies today. Your girls are proud of you and their contribution to the gift. It will make them smile all day. That’s all you need. 🙂

  8. December 22, 2011 7:10 am

    Sonja, simply put, you are my idol. I love your work! You started about eight years ago or something with the designing. It just didn’t happen. Don’t let the jealous get under your skin, we all need brilliance and you’ve got some and more. I don’t think I’ve read so poignant a blog in a long time.
    Its inevitable that others will see only your successes. Its not easy being great at stuff and no one ever thinks of the things that are not so hot in your life. I laughed and laughed this morning reading this post. My husband had to come over and see what I was laughing at.
    Keep on keeping on, we love you, despite all that math failure, thank God for calculators!
    Cheers for the season!

  9. December 22, 2011 7:20 am

    Hey Sonja – I so understand your sensitivity. I’ve been told, rather unkindly, the following things about myself:

    – You intimidate me just walking in the room!
    – Don’t take this the wrong way, but you read too much.
    – Do you just sew all the time??? Don’t you have, like, a life?

    You’d think I was some freak that just walked out of the circus!

    So yeah, i totally get your feeling, but I can say this – you are not responsible for the insecurities of these other women. They suck, not you!


    Leah Day

  10. anna permalink
    December 22, 2011 10:15 am

    Oh Miss Sonja,
    Of course I meant my comment as a compliment. Visual artists have to be a little OCD, or something of that nature. So many ideas swirling around in our heads… I am glad you responded the way that you did. It made me see that we have more in common than I imagined. And I see other people feel the same way too. Keep on creating and setting the bar high. It helps me stay motivated and inspired to continue creating my own work. I look forward to seeing you at the January meeting.
    Best Wishes for the New Year!
    Ms Banana

  11. December 22, 2011 10:36 am

    I think I run like that, too.

    Some people do seem to be naturally talented, but I think the bulk of anyone, including you, who makes or does amazing things can do so because of practice and an inability to accept less than perfect.

  12. December 22, 2011 8:07 pm

    Oh Sonja! That was hilarious! Don’t worry. I can’t do everything either… especially run and knit!!! Merry Christmas!

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