Recently, I took my first pottery class in over a year.*
Here’s the thing: I love pottery. So much. But I’m not very good at it.
I’m not being humble here. It’s just the facts. I’m typically the worst student in every class I take. Yes, even the ones where everyone else is a beginner, too.
Part of this, I imagine, is that I lack visuospatial intelligence. I’ve mentioned this in passing in other essays, but I have aphantasia, am rather clumsy, and easily get lost without directions (the advent of GPS was a lifechanger for me). I’m fantastic at most math but was terrible at geometry at first (had to learn it a completely different way than other people to understand it).
Nowadays I’m a good dancer (used to teach/demo at a dance school), but I was very bad at first. No natural talent whatsoever.
So much of working with clay requires finesse and a sense of what the clay wants, what it’s been through (clay has a memory), and where it’s logically going to go next. Some people have instincts about this. Not me. Again, this isn’t humility. It’s the truth.
I don’t know that I’ll ever be a particularly good potter. (Although I am definitely getting better at the wheel, however slowly.)
But I really like playing with clay. It’s relaxing and fun — satisfying in a very specific way.
So, even though I’m bad at it, I’m gonna keep doing it.
I feel weird saying that, like I’m rejecting everything I was raised to believe. Because it feels truly indulgent to keep doing a hobby that I have zero natural talent for simply because I enjoy it. Weird maybe, but I always felt this pressure to be good at things — and to spend my time doing the things I was good at. Not farting around at something where I’m the world’s slowest learner.
But you know what? I’m gonna keep doing it. Because it’s fun. Because I like doing it. Who cares if I never get good at it?
*Masked in a studio that required everyone to wear masks and I was fully vaccinated.