The Dirty Thirty: Things I'm Bad At & Lie About Erin Foster

I constantly say things that I don’t mean. Well, it’s not that I don’t mean them, it’s that I don’t understand what they mean when I say them. I like to have an answer for things. I like to know how I feel about something. I’m very opinionated, although if you described me as opinionated I would say that was rude. It sounds negative, even though I don’t like people who aren’t opinionated. See, like why did I say that? I just DECLARED that I do NOT like people who aren’t opinionated and while it was coming out of my fingers I remembered that one of my best friends Lexi (@LEXIJO8) is very unopinionated and I would be so happy being stuck on a deserted island with her. I’m filled with lies. My feelings start feeling before my brain starts thinking. I just think that I know so many things that I don’t know yet.

I always tell people that I’m not competitive. “Oh, I’m just not a competitive person,” that’s how I say it. I learned to say that I’m not competitive early in my life when I realized that I was really bad at many things. I was never someone that people would refer to as someone who “does everything well”. In fact, I became known for my failures. I think that’s when I started leaning on being funny. See, I had a sister, I still have her (can’t get rid of her) who was just a year and a half older than me and was one of those irritating people who did everything well.

We were put on the same club soccer team for six straight years. Every single year she made it to the All Star team. Every year I did not. In fairness to the coach, whenever he put me in the game I would get really overheated and my face would turn red and I would mouth to him, “TAKE ME OUT.” It was just too damn hot out there. After a game of less than mediocre performance from myself I would think, well it’s not like I want to be a professional soccer player, I just like hanging out with my cool sister and our neighbor who’s on the team, and I love the orange slices that my mom keeps cold on the side lines. It stopped bugging me that I was bad.

Soon I would discover that I was also alarmingly bad at tennis (also takes place in the heat), running, swimming, tag, softball… and it wasn’t just sports. I was also terrible at Math, Science, listening, focusing, spelling, testing, and remembering. Oh, then there is the story of my piano lessons. See, my dad is a musician. Like, a really good one. He has a weird savant thing where he was playing piano at three and has perfect pitch, and all these things really should be genetic. So, he had me take piano lessons. We wanted to see if there was possibly some genius lurking inside of me. So, I took the lessons after school for months. Honestly, I didn’t like it. But I loved the idea that maybe there was a secret talent hidden in me and maybe it would just come through my fingers without me having to really do anything. I was expected to perform a recital. So, I prepared the song I was going to play and my dad came to watch. I remember this so clearly. I finished the song without any obvious mistakes, and I noticed my dad standing in the back of the auditorium. I walked right up to him. He patted me on the shoulder and said, “Well, you can quit piano lessons. You don’t have it.” I felt two things in that moment. Relief and shame. I don’t think I need to explain to you why I felt those. When I tell that story to people they seem to view my dad as a bit of a monster, but I don’t see it that way at all. When he was a kid he felt like he would die if he didn’t play music. He broke his hand once when he was little and was instructed to not play piano for six weeks. He didn’t know how to stay away from it though, so he kept playing, and the cast had to keep getting moved up further on his arm to stop him from playing. I didn’t feel that way about piano. He wanted me to go find the thing that I would keep doing even if someone said I couldn’t do it anymore.

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  1. Yay! This is great – very inspirational! “I’d rather be considered crazy, than not considered at all” I could have thought of that. ;-)

  2. you sound like one awesome possum to me

  3. You are also bad at not capitalizing “math” and “science.” Seriously, the overwhelming majority of people are not good at anything and have not seen “The King of Comedy.” So realize that you’re normal at worst, and close to awesome at best. After all, you write for a nationally-televised show starring the retarded kid from “Gigli” and the sexually-confused guy from “Girls.”

  4. Oh my goodness…I feel like I could have written this article myself, except I still have not seen The King of Comedy. Also, my parents were so cool and supportive, I thought that I was AWESOME at everything, until I realized years later that maybe I was not a natural at dancing/writing/debating/singing? Now I am afraid to be confident and then disappoint and embarrass myself.
    This was good advice though, and very encouraging. Thanks for writing it! I thought I was alone.