When I was very young I used to dream of becoming a cartoonist. Something about creating characters and bringing them to life and entertaining people greatly appealed to me as a child. I remember attending drawing classes and art workshops to try and learn how to be an animator. Try as I might, however, I lacked the skill and dexterity to draw well.
In high school, I enrolled in piano lessons because I wanted to learn at least one instrument. My extended family is musically inclined. All my first cousins, both on my father’s and mother’s side, all have some proficiency with the piano. My cousins often shared how our (paternal) grandfather would drill into them piano lessons when they were growing up. Sadly, I didn’t have much luck in piano lessons either. Maybe I lacked motivation or was just uninspired but I could not bring myself to practice reading notes and playing pieces every day like one needed in order to get proficient.
Growing up, I attributed my lack of artistic skills to my personality. I was often shy and withdrawn, preferring to keep to myself rather than engage in group activities. Artistry is an expression of oneself. There’s an element of vulnerability when showing off one’s artwork or playing music. That’s something I never got comfortable with. Also, I was just never very talented.
The only activity I ever showed any aptitude (or at least interest) in was writing. Granted my efforts were mostly limited to writing short stories (both original and the occasional fanfic) and opinion pieces (reviews and blogs), but I like to think that I must have some degree of proficiency in it. Unlike music or drawing, writing afforded me a way to express myself without the vulnerability that comes with playing in front of a crowd or displaying an art piece. Sometimes when my head feels too crowded, I have to let out my thoughts by writing them down.
That isn’t to say I don’t regret never learning to draw or play well. I envy anyone who is musically or artistically talented. I’ve friends who are very logical and intelligent yet also artistic and free spirited. Some of them can sing, act, draw, compose, make films, you name it. Their art can reach and touch others in a way that my words never could and as a result their lives just seem so much more colourful and complete when viewed from the outside. It makes me feel very one-dimensional when compared to some of them.