A few months ago, after Halloween, I was standing at the food counter at the restaurant waiting for an order to come up. C, the hostess of the restaurant halloween party came up and stood next to me, thanking me for coming to the party.
"It was good to see you there. And C2, loved your costume," said C.
I just smiled and kept watching the cooks make food, "Thanks!"
"C2 says that you're super talented, but downplay it so people don't realize it. I think I agree with her."
The smile became a smirk, and I looked over at her. Without thinking I said, "Can you keep a secret?" She nodded. "I can do *ANYTHING* -- But don't tell anyone, because once they know you can do anything, they expect you to do EVERYTHING."
The whole "I can do anything" thought has been dancing across my brain quite a bit lately. It used to not be a big deal. I would try something, and while it might not have been perfect, it rarely ever FAILED. I can't remember my parents ever telling me "You can do anything you want to" but I distinctly remember them NEVER saying "You can't do [whatever]." And I think that's really what's going on.
Case in point. I sing. Many of you know this. Stylistically, I've run the gamut from Jazz to pop to international folk music to classical... it's all there. But apparently it's not supposed to be. Most of you won't know that for a very short time, I sang with a rather well known a cappella group (in the New England/East Coast a cappella scene, at least). I'd met one of the members doing a show, and consequently met and occasionally hung out with other members of the group. So, when they lost their bass, they asked if I'd be interested in auditioning. So I did. And I did two totally different numbers, "Blues in the Night" (jazzy) and "I Love the Way You Love Me" (country). Now, my friends had heard me do "Broadway" stuff, and some jazz, but the country was a bit of a surprise to them. My friend, L, just stared at me and asked, "How many different voices do you HAVE?" And I didn't know how to answer. "One?" And they all laughed. Apparently you're only supposed to be able to sing well in one or two styles of music. But no one ever told me that, so I just figured it was okay to be good at them all. Needless to say, I didn't stay with them for too long (I never actually performed at a gig) due to the fact that I learn music totally differently than they do, and it was creating some panic issues on their part. But really, it all worked out for the best, because after getting fired from a cappella, I started taking Improv classes... and we all know where that led.
So anyway, I really think that it's not so much an issue of "I can do anything" but rather "Since no one's told me I can't do it, I'm gonna do it..." And, to paraphrase Scotty from Star Trek, once people start expecting you to perform miracles, they're a lot harder to perform. So if you ever catch me downplaying my mad skillz, it's only because I'm trying to lower your expectations so you're more pleasantly surprised when I do manage to pull a miracle out of my ass.