I was explaining to my son that I want his dad to take the unused trampoline apart as I’d tried and failed to do it myself.
“Can I have a go?” He asked.
“You won’t be able to do it, I’ve tried and can’t, so I don’t think you’ll be able to. Let’s wait for your dad.”
I know, your feminist ears might be bleeding about now as I layout this weak woman trope. I’m sorry, but please stick with me.
He turns to look straight at me and says, “You don’t know what I’m capable of; neither of us does until I try.”
You don’t know what I’m capable of; neither of us does until I try.
Imagine my mind is the cartoon character, Roadrunner, charging along at a lovely pace then coming to a screeching halt because Coyote has set up a dastardly trap with dynamite. Except my coyote is my fourteen-year-old son and it isn’t dynamite about to blow my mind, but a heavy dose of wisdom. I shrug and wave at him to go for his life, while my mind is wondering if my child is Merlyn living his life backwards.
He tries to do what I told him he couldn’t, and…he couldn’t. Ordinarily, I would have chalked this up to a mama triumph—after all, don’t mama’s always know best?
Apparently not, as regardless of this effort, my boy is right, I don’t know what he’s capable of. What he’s capable of is likely beyond the reaches of my (anxiously over-protective) imagination.
I sat with that a while—an inspiring and terrifying revelation. And I sat with it some more until I considered that we humans don’t even know what we’re capable of ourselves. So how do we dare to believe we know what others are capable of?
Had you asked a ten-year-old me if I were capable of leaving my little village in the middle of England to one day live in California, I’d have thought you stark raving bonkers – California is where movies get made, not the dreams of village kids. Yet, here I am because I dared to try.
If you’d asked a thirty-two-year-old me, who’d not long had a total colectomy and ileostomy bag, if she could grace the pages of magazines as a vintage model, she would have thought you were a hopeless dreamer. Yet I did it, because I dared to try.
If you’d asked a forty-year-old me if I thought I could write a historical fiction novel I would have laughed in your face with a big, “er, no, I love to write, but that’s a whole other level.” Yet, here I am four years later with one completed manuscript and the outline of another. Yep, you’ve guessed it, because I dared to try.
Today, people ask me, “When will your novel be published?” My tiny minded, unbeliever of possibility mind says, “Never, I can’t do that.” And that part of me is a massive, all-consuming, really annoying negative Nelly that consumes most of my mind, most of the day. Then, my son’s wisdom pops up out of the ethers like a cuckoo from its clock, and shouts, “You don’t know what you’re capable of until you try!”
And he’s right. So, I will try, and who knows? I might surprise myself once again. Stranger things beyond my imagination have happened.
Is there something you’d love to do, but tell yourself you’re not capable? Have you tried?
Let’s keep trying, shall we?
All of my love,
Photo credit: Lilach Raz
PS: Take a look at Lottie’s Library where you can request a personalized book prescription and check out my TV and Book recommendations below.
This Month’s Recommendations
All of my recommendations are based on personal experience only and are unpaid, however, I will receive a commission for any books purchased through the bookshop.org links I provide for your convenience. All commissions received will be collated and donated to my chosen charities and funds every year.
Miss Scarlet and the Duke (PBS Masterpiece) – I’m super enjoying Scarlet’s kick-arse, snarky, on point, tell it how it is, take no shit attitude.
Prosecuting Evil about Ben Ferencz. This man is one of the greatest humanitarians alive, and at one hundred years old, he’s had a long and inspiring life. Watching this documentary reminded me there are still many humanitarians doing what’s necessary to make the world kinder.