It’s odd to realize something about yourself that you hadn’t really thought about much.
I was reading this Making Light comment about not ever being allowed to be wrong. I realized this dynamic defined my family and my relationship to it in a lot of ways.
With my dad and to a lesser extent with my grandfather, if you didn’t do it perfectly the first time, you might as well not even try. And that meant you were a failure at it and must be forevermore, of course.
The thing is, my process of learning something is the exact opposite of that. When I do something the first time I am usually absolutely, laughably terrible at it. I’ve had teachers and instructors describe me on many thing as the “worst I’ve ever seen” or as “completely untrainable” after they experienced my first few attempts.
That’s at first. But I learn quickly. Really quickly. And with usually less practice than is required for other people. Usually, after a little while I am better at the thing I am attempting than everyone else, with less time invested.
But at first, observing me with any other beginner side by side, you’d assume I have some sort of major disability.
So not being allowed to ever do something wrong in my family really hindered me, and makes me reluctant to this day to do something new in front of anyone else.
That’s why in general if I can’t teach it to myself, I don’t learn it at all.
The only exceptions are math which I believe I do have some sort of actual deficit* in, and dancing as I am wholly uncoordinated and tend to do things like fall down/up stair as my feet are never in sync. No amount of practice or conceptual understanding will or can make me better at those two things, alas.
But everything else, I seem to be the worst one (by far) at something when I first attempt it, so bad that many people have told me that I’m hopelessly terrible at it and should stop trying.
Then I kick their ass at it handily a few months later.
*I’ve practiced math over the years for I’d estimate 10,000-12,000 hours and still can’t do middle-school-level algebra problems reliably, and it’s not because “no one has shown me the right way.” I’ve been shown every way. It doesn’t matter. My brain is just not wired that way. Math is also extremely uninteresting to me as well, so no great loss there.