Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thoughts: on those moments of inadequacy

I remember the spelling bee in 5th grade. It was so nerve-wracking.

The students all stood up round after round, giving me a nerdy adrenaline rush every time it was my turn. Suddenly only three of us were left, and I walked up to the microphone that was just as tall as me.

And then I misspelled "inadequate."

Quite the ironic blow, right? But I have to smile a little every time I remember that moment -- and I'm surprised by how often that is.

It comes up often in my mind because the topic does first. Inadequacy. Do you know how often girls talk about that, directly or not? It's heavy on our minds, and hearts too, because girls are like that. We all know it. We want to do our best, always, at everything. And when we just aren't understanding why that's not happening all the time, our feelings of inadequacy spill into our words.

"I didn't get enough done today."
"This doesn't taste very good. At all, actually."
"This entertainment center shouldn't have taken 34 man hours to finish."
"I feel inadequate."

That last one comes out on those terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days, or when we give up trying to have our minds read by the other gender.

But you know what? I've realized that the times I feel inadequate are when I'm challenging myself. I feel inadequate when a project takes longer or costs more than I planned -- but that means it's a project I've never done before. I feel inadequate when dinner is ... meh... and the leftovers aren't even that, but that usually means I tried something new. I feel inadequate when I have to practice someone's piano accompaniment over and over and over. and over. But that means it's a song that's pushing me.

So I guess I let those moments of inadequacy hide what I'm becoming. They find a way to steal perspective, then I forget that I'm doing what I should be doing. I'm trying to better myself, to ditch comfort zones, to learn. Little failures are not a reflection of who we are. Big failures are not a reflection of who we are. They're just a time to be patient with yourself.

I think even the most patient person has some trouble with that one.

But be patient, because "He will turn your supposed inadequacies into recognized strengths."

Supposed inadequacies. That's all they really are.


  1. I love this post!!!! You're such a great writer.

  2. Then of course there was the time in your middle school spelling bee when your father, who was the official announcer of each word, (like a DJ is supposed to know?) gave you your word--and mispronounced it...causing you to misspell it. Thankfully an astute mother (of some other kid) was there and pointed out my gaffe; you got another word and went on it? Or come in second?'ll have to remind me. And just what was that word?

  3. love this outlook! I never thought of inadequacy that way that way.


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