Trash talking your own talents

Beginner A

Rachel of House of Pinheiro wrote interestingly earlier this week about how you work out what level your sewing is atIt chimed with something that’s been buzzing around my head recently because I’ve noticed that when asked about my sewing aptitude, I describe myself as ‘kind of rubbish’ or ‘not very good’.

It’s not so much self-depreciation as self-sabotage. And I know I’m not alone in this kind of behaviour, I hear people talk down their own achievements in all kinds of arenas. Is it anticipation of getting a kicking? A fear of appearing arrogant? Embarrassment at being a learner? It often feels like a conditioned response.

And with so much talent on show in the blogging community, it can be easy to compare yourself and find lacking. That’s in no way laying responsibility for that instinct at other people’s door, it’s all going on in my own brainpan!

So I want to put a halt to it. I’m a beginner and proud! Hear me RAWR!

Anyone else fall into the same habit?

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13 Responses to Trash talking your own talents

  1. Gillian says:

    What an interesting post! The same things came up today a bit on Twitter, since a bunch of us were writing applications to the Sew Mama Sew Sewing Bee… kinda odd to try to pump up how great we are as sewists! I’m in interview mode for work right now, so I can handle ok… but even then, my pitch was basically “I’m not formally trained or very experienced, but I represent everyone just giving it a go!” I guess when push comes to shove, I think I’m quite good at some aspects of sewing (intermediate at knits, for example), but with no experience in tailoring or “fancy” sewing!
    So there we are: I make a killer t-shirt or knit dress! Rawr! 😛

    • Knits are the best. We should all have RAWR statements! I have an eye for badass fabrics, rawr!
      Applications are a tortuous art. I think in a lot of social interactions, people, or perhaps I mean UK women, are frowned on if they appear to rate themselves. But professionally you have to shift modes into this new persona!
      Fingers crossed for your sewing bee application! Can’t wait to see how that shapes up.

  2. The most important is to enjoy what you are doing – sewing, creating, created garments/things…. you are learning by doing… ENJOY! 🙂

    • You’re exactly right! There’s so much sewing knowledge out there, so many skills to learn that you could be tempted to look around and feel ignorant. But the breadth and depth of it as a craft is what makes it so enjoyable and rich.

  3. Marie says:

    I definitely fall into the habit of downplaying my skills, because compared to everyone else, I never feel good enough! But we need to step back and acknowledge our achievements and stop comparing ourselves to others ;o)

    • Agree! I imagine even the most experienced and skilful sewers will have moments where they feel they’re falling short. I also think it’s important if you’re talking to people interested in taking up sewing that you don’t start picking apart a garment’s flaws or reeling off all the mistakes made, there’s a danger it makes it seem more intimidating.

  4. House of Pinheiro says:

    Its so hard to promote our own skills in any area in life, its seems to be somehow ‘vain’ to say how good you are in something. What I love about our sewing community its ok to be a beginner … not because you just started cannot mean you not already cool! Go Go Girl x

    • Definitely, I feel like the online community is really welcoming to beginners! Sometimes I’ll hear sports followers or members of fandoms talk rather dismissively about newbies, or those who are late to the party (thought that might just be a schtick). I don’t get that impression from more experienced sewers online.

      • senjiva says:

        I feel like sewing is a very valuable Life Skill in addition to being a very pleasurable pastime for some and means of income for others. It doesn’t matter if you have been sewing for a few months or many years. There is always something new to learn and skills to hone. Each successful garment can be a triumph and things that didn’t go so well are a chance to refine your approach.

  5. Jill says:

    You are reading my mind. I just had a meltdown Sunday about this and the comparisons we make to other bloggers that are “better” or “quicker”. The first person we kick when we’re down is ourselves, a gut reaction, and a shame. I was upset because I had set up a (ridiculous) goal for myself over the weekend, and didn’t meet it. One of the projects I completed was a maxi skirt that I felt was subpar. I wore it to work Monday anyway. One of my co-workers asked what I did with my weekend and told him I sewed. Asking what I sewed, I pointed at my skirt. He said,”oh wow! You are like, really good!” Granted, this was from a non sewist, it doesn’t matter, goes to show, we are the toughest on ourselves, no?

    • Definitely know what you mean about setting up really high expectations about productivity and then being crushed when reality takes over! Think I do this every weekend near abouts.
      Just checked out your recent post about your weekend ‘fail’ though and I’m totally in awe of how much you tackled and the lovely skirt and leggings you made for yourself. And your bump too! I’d say you’re hitting it out of the park.

  6. Pella says:

    If you make things, you probably are self critical about them. (Though some people seem to be able to brag happily ). Mostly the faults, failures, problems and not quite right bits don’t show to third parties, other people’s work seems about perfect. That’s the quandry, its nearly impossible to be objective about one’s own efforts.

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