Mary Beth Writes

8/3/2023

Every year I’d pick an armload of lilacs from the thicket that grew in a field not far from our house. The place had once been a settler’s cabin but those people, whoever they were, had abandoned their homestead and only the lilacs remained.

I always brought the flowers to my mom. She put them in a antique vase that I think was from her grandmother. I must have been in high school by the time I thought to mention to my mom that she made the flowers look so pretty.

“It’s my one talent. I can arrange flowers.”

That threw me for a loop even then. My mom could do so many things so well. She typed 100WPM. She and my dad and later my brother ran a successful printing company. She invented and coordinated programs for kids, church, and service organizations. She played the piano; baked cinnamon rolls that people still remember. She was gifted, skilled, and talented, but like so many women of her generation and sometimes ours, she didn’t see or claim her talents.

I still get irked when adults put themselves down. Let’s be done with that, okay? Let’s claim and say what our talents are. Self-esteem is worth practicing.

So what are our talents? Instead of listing the talents we immediately think of – art, athletics, public speaking, let’s ignore that cliché old list and ask some helpful questions instead.

What’s an activity that, when you see others struggling with it, you step in to help?

What are ways you like to help others? What are those activities?

When you are tired or frustrated and need some time by yourself, what do you do? Or watch? Or listen to?

Those are your clues to your talents. Sure, by now some are also skills, but mostly we learn to do well what we enjoy doing at all. Give us time and our talents will pop like lilacs.

We spend too much time trying to be good enough at things that are not our thing. Organizations ask for volunteers and we show up to do what they want us to do. But is it our talent?

Acknowledge your talents and those of the people around you. Is it time to make ourselves scout sashes with talent badges? What we claim becomes who we are.

From the ever-perspicacious David Sedaris: “Hugh consoled me, saying, "Don't let it get to you. There are plenty of things you're good at." When asked for some examples, he listed vacuuming and naming stuffed animals. He says he can probably come up with a few more, but he'll need some time to think.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

Thank you, interesting...
Mary Beth's picture

Thanks for reading and commenting. I appreciate it.

I like this! Definitely a feel good article!
Mary Beth's picture

Hey thank you!

I think often people (especially women) tend to minimize or deny what they have to offer out of a sense of needing to be humble - not a "show off". If we look at ourselves with an open heart and self-compassion - as we would look at a loved friend - we might see ourselves in a kinder light, and be able to free ourselves to bring what we have to the world.
Mary Beth's picture

Perfectly said..

Everyone has special talent, but not everyone enjoys "blowing one's own horn." There is in many people the need just to do and not to worry about reward or commentary.

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Hot Weather Diary #3

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Today was another hot one and right now, it’s still 93 degrees in my backyard.

Hot Weather Diary #2

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What the Dickens?

The photo is from Barnados, a childrens charity in London in the 19th century. 

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Swan Story

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I’ve been reading a lot of other people’s writing lately and I have decided there is too much to read. Much of it is very good but there is JUST TOO MUCH!

So my goal going forward is to write shorter posts, more often, that might remind you of the glory, power, and goofiness of your life as well as mine.

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..

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