Playing Different Instruments

If I want to be honest with myself, I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing.

Sometimes, I get to cook for big groups of people. I get really excited for about 20 minutes, and then I get scared.

Because I think deep down that I have no idea what I’m doing. That I can’t cook and that I’m fooling everyone around me.

This too, is fleeting.

Seldom is anything scary, not worth it. Making big moves is hard. But you grow and shed your shell time and time again. Like a crab during its seasons, realizing it needs a bigger place to dwell.
In some part of my brain, I rationalize my fear with fact and experience. “You’re really not that great.”

And while it’s humbling, it’s not helpful.

I don’t like being around people who constantly think they’re terrible human beings. It’s funny. We generally end up laughing at it, but it’s just not true. Most people I know are good, though we all think about terrible things from time to time. It’s just what we do.

So when I find myself getting beat up by yours truly, I have to leave the situation. I sleep on it and wake up. Much like restarting a machine that’s running shitty, only to realize you were the one who needed to flip the switch. (And sometimes, we need someone on the outside to see it, too.)

When you come out of it, you feel like you can do anything.

And you can.

I mean, there are the rules and laws and guidelines written by people, but they don’t define you. No one can define you. If they do, don’t listen because they are filled with their own battles. You have enough on your own.

I say “easier said than done” here, because I don’t really know what else to say. I go back and forth with this stuff.

I’ve been listening to this podcast with Marc Maron and Louis C.K. It’s long winded, but they battle a lot with the human condition and their own need to self-depricate. In a weird way, it’s comforting to hear people doubt themselves so much because you don’t feel alone. You feel like someone is finally sitting next to you on the bus. (Not that that’s something people necessarily want in public transportation these days.)


They were talking about being jealous of each others jokes. And Louis C.K. talking to Maron said, “Well, yeah, you play a different instrument…”

It hit me like a sandbag had landed on my chest. I felt the weight because I knew this all along. I think we all know, to some extent, what we need to know about ourselves. But we do need the tools to get them out. Sometimes that tool is listening and letting something soak in.

Hannah often tells me, “I have no idea how you do what you do. There’s no way I could remember those orders.”

As I respond, “There’s no way I could be in grad school. All those papers. Gross.”

Same with a mom or dad who stays home to take care of their babies. I have no idea how they do it. But they do. And they’re so good at it.

We all have these different instruments, ya see? Some of these things fit us as though we were built from its cloth.

Other things, we learn to accept its defeat. We’ve all been there. It’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up. Remember, entire civilizations have failed and fallen — just because I completely screwed up that gnocchi will not make me kick cooking to the curb.

But whatever it is.

Use your instrument.

Keep it close.

Take care of it.

Because regardless of being your own worst enemy,

you’re damn good at it.

And above all,

…listen to yourself.

3 responses to “Playing Different Instruments”

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