Another list inspired by Laura Tremaine and her amazing new book, Share Your Stuff.
1. I wish I could paint.
Walls, furniture, impressionist masterpieces on canvas . . . you name it, I wish I could paint it in a way that turned out to be exactly what I imagined it to be. So far, not so good. For example, we tried to do the painting ourselves when we renovated our old house, and it went so badly we had no choice but to hire a professional painter to come in and fix our mistakes. Seeing the bits of paint that were stuck to the popcorn ceiling because we didn’t know how to ‘cut in’ properly along the roof were a constant, rage-inducing presence that haunted me every single day I had to look at them. So although I’ve managed to progress far enough that I can actually enjoy a paint night, and I did chalk paint a chair, I’ve resigned myself to relying on the experts for this one.
2. I wish I could actually style my hair.
I mean, I know the basics of how to use a blow dryer and a straightener, but if I had better skills I’d curl my hair in those loose effortless-looking curls that turn perfectly in the right directions. I’d style a messy bun that made me look cute instead of like an ogre who doesn’t own a hairbrush. I’d use bobby pins and products with confidence. And it’s not that I’ve never had the opportunity to learn how to do my hair properly. In fact, I took cosmetology class in high school (which I didn’t want to take, but the timetable is what the timetable is). I did well on the first few modules that consisted exclusively of book work, but once it came time to transfer this knowledge to a mannequin, I’d met my reckoning.
I was assigned what seemed like a simple task: to curl a mannequin’s hair into ringlets. I will give myself credit here, because I tried. With my curling iron and hairspray and comb doing goodness knows what, I really tried. Yet when I presented Ms. Mitchell with the end result, she grimaced in the nicest way possible. “That is not a nice head of ringlets,” she said, shaking her head sadly. I couldn’t disagree.
3. I wish I knew how to politely explain to someone that I’m talking to that I actually know more about the subject matter than they do.
It’s a lose-lose situation. If I do mention something I know about the topic, or that I’ve actually taken entire courses on the subject or read entire books about the issue, I risk sounding braggy or rude. Or, at least I’ve been conditioned to see it in this way. On the other hand, if I don’t say anything, if I don’t correct the person’s misconceptions, I have to live with the fact that I’m a chicken who doesn’t have the confidence to express what I know.