When I have to teach my students the word ‘habit’ and how to use it, I often go around the room asking each one of them what their worst habit is, and sometimes the bold ones will turn the tables on me and ask me what’s mine. I often respond along the lines of drinking too much coffee or eating too much chocolate. But I’ve just realised that my worst habit is actually far worse than that.
My worst habit is that I am forever starting things and then not finishing them – a habit that stems from childhood. I feel like I should stand up in a room and declare, “Hello. My name’s Mrs. D and I’m a quit-aholic. It’s been two hours since I abandoned my most recent project.”
Think I’m joking? Think again!
At sixteen, I gave up A-level French because after being top of my French class for years, it came as a shock to find that I was struggling with the language at non-phrase book level.
“You give up too easily,” said one of my classmates.
Well I couldn’t argue with that!
Fast forward several years and I’ve lost count of the number of home study courses that are still incomplete; the lessons for singing, dancing, and various instruments that I stopped attending early on; those books that are falling off my bookcase on subjects I’d always said I’d wanted to know more about but never managed to get past the introduction; the language CDs and DVDs which taught me hello and goodbye in many languages but not much else. Then there are the craft kits that are collecting dust, the work-out equipment that looks just as it did when I brought them home from the shops, the blog posts I started last year but haven’t got round to finishing; the drafts of plays, short stories, and novels that I always mean to work on; my ideas for new business ventures that remain just that…
And these are just the ones I can remember. It all starts off so well with so much interest and enthusiasm. But as soon as I realise that it’s not going to be as easy as I thought it would be or I feel I don’t possess enough natural talent, I start to lose interest and lack the patience and perseverance necessary to keep going, which explains the reason why I only ever touch upon the basics (if that!)
I’ve figured out what my problem, no, make that problems are. The first is having a finger, thumb and toe in every pie as I have waaay too many related and unrelated interests. This leads to sloppy time management as there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything, which in turn leads to an inability to focus because I’m trying to do too much and end up feeling overwhelmed. I’m also an impatient perfectionist who wants everything to go swimmingly the first time I attempt it. I have a deep-rooted fear of making a fool of myself, and then to top it all off, I have a tendency to procrastinate, especially when I feel that whatever I try to accomplish is never going to culminate in the desired result anyway. Here you have a recipe for never getting anything done. And many of my likeminded, ‘creative type’ friends agree with me. We’re just so inquisitive and curious about everything and want to give it a go. We have a million things whirling around our heads like a cyclone. And then just as quickly as our interest appeared, it starts to wane, and we then move onto the next big thing.
Well I’m glad to know I’m not the only one!
But without meaning to sound overly dramatic (even though Mr. D says no one does overly dramatic quite like I do) I had a flash back to when I was five and we were practising for sports day at school. I had been put in the skipping race even though I couldn’t skip to save my life. Feeling deflated at being laughed at and ridiculed by the other kids, I persuaded my mum to buy me a skipping rope. That weekend she did. From morning until evening honing my skipping skills was pretty much all I did. And do you know what? None of the other kids ever laughed at me again. Do you know why? Because I was lethal with a skipping rope (and not because I tried to whack them with it. Although I probably should have done!)
Recalling this event has restored a lot of my inner confidence. It reminded me that with a lot of determination, hard work, and persistence you really can achieve anything – that’s not just talk show host speak! I remember that five year old who had enough fire in her belly to go out there and show everyone that she had what it took. She didn’t think that it was too complicated or unachievable. She didn’t listen to those who said that she couldn’t do it. Perhaps it’s time I followed my younger self’s example.
But then I realised that the determination of my younger self did crop up over the years. It was that determination that helped me achieve two degrees; fulfil my dream of studying drama; train as a florist; pass my driving test (something my dad thought was never going to happen) and carve out a career as a teacher for the past seven years. I certainly didn’t give up at the first hurdle there. Maybe I do have it in me to get things done after all.
I feel angry at myself for allowing this habit to continue for as long as it has. I’ve missed out on developing new skills and interests not to mention wasting sh**loads of money. But now that I’ve realised where I’ve gone wrong, I don’t have to allow this habit to continue. First of all I need to accept that I’ll never be able to give my attention to everything at once so I’ll need to prioritise and concentrate on what’s most important to me. And once I’ve done that, I’m going to dedicate some time each day or each week (even if it’s just a little time) to a particular activity and really make a promise to myself to go for it. After all I owe it to myself to try – plus I want to get my money’s worth out of all the stuff I’ve bought! I can always give the other interests a go when I’ve fulfilled these goals.
And I’ve also got to stop getting so hung up on being able to do everything perfectly. We can’t all be brilliant at the first attempt, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m always telling my students that with practice and patience, you’ll make vast improvements so maybe it’s time I took some of my own advice. Until then, I’ll just have to accept that I’m going to suck! Who cares if I can’t ice a cake properly? I’m not Mary Berry! So what if I can’t rock a guitar like Slash? At least I’ll have fun trying. I heard someone say recently that it was better to do something badly than not at all, and that is all the inspiration I need (unless of course the doing something badly is flying a plane, performing life saving surgery or firing a gun in which case it really is better not to do them at all!)
I’m going to leave you with this fantastic piece of advice from the legend that is Dave Grohl which is a reminder that even the greats don’t always start out as great. Sure, you might be pants today, but tomorrow people might be throwing their pants at you while you’re rocking out on stage!
Right, now I’m off to a car boot sale to buy some sh**ty instruments and start putting all those ‘teach yourself’ guitar and drum books and DVDs to good use!
Most girls never forget their first childhood crush – and I’m no different. I love, have always loved and will always love New Kids On The Block. From the first moment I saw them bopping away on Top Of The Pops, they captured my heart, and even though I’m now very much a hard-rocking chick, there’s a piece of my heart where they still reside and refuse to move from – and that’s fine with me!
Like thirty million other young girls, I was convinced that I was going to be Mrs. Jordan Knight and had my former teenage self had her way, this blog could very easily have been called Chez Mrs. K! But alas it was not to be. Mr. K refused to wait for me to grow up and went on to marry someone else – paving the way for the man who did wait for me. Which is great because becoming Mrs. D is the best thing that ever happened to me – even if Mr. D does question my taste in music!
Earlier this week, television presenter Jenny McCarthy announced her engagement on The View (the American Version of Loose Women) where she is one of the anchors and flashed her beautiful yellow sapphire ring. And who’s the lucky man? None other than New Kids On The Block’s very own Donnie Wahlberg who McCarthy has been dating for the past year. It’ll be the second time down the aisle for both of them, and I, for one, cannot wait for the glossy ten page spread. For Jenny’s first wedding she wore a stunning vintage-style 1930s gown so it’ll be interesting to see what she wears for her wedding to Donnie.
But it seems that not all the fans are jumping up and down at the idea of Donnie finding his Favourite Girl. Some of the nasty remarks and comments I’ve come across are really shocking. I’ve even had to reread some of them twice to make sure that they really do say what I thought they did. It actually made me see red. I suppose mildly catty comments are inevitable. But to say that these comments are mildly catty is like saying that water is a little bit wet! I’m not going to repeat any of these hideous remarks but it seems as though they were written by females who still think they’re eleven years old and back in 1989, where they’re making up dances to New Kids’ songs in the playground. What’s shocking is that some of these women have let slipped that they’re married! MARRIED??? Oh my goodness ladies – it really is time you got a grip!
True, I don’t think anyone would have thought of pairing Donnie and Jenny together – but then don’t opposites usually attract (definitely do in the case of Mr. and Mrs. D!) And how does Donnie’s love life concern his fans? Shouldn’t they be happy that their idol has found love instead of making derogatory comments about his new fiancée? And did they really think that they had a shot – a real shot – at marrying a New Kid? Furthermore, did they actually think that Donnie would stay single and available while they grew up and moved on with their lives? It’s beyond ridiculous! Whether anyone thinks that Donnie and Jenny are a match made in heaven really isn’t anyone’s business except – surprise, surprise – Donnie and Jenny’s. And assuming that we’re not relatives or close friends of the couple, it’s not as if any of us actually know them well. So who are we to pass judgement?
I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at the level of vitriol I’ve discovered. A look at forums and comment boards regarding all things New Kids On The Block have indicated that for every fan who is happy that the band members have the whole relationship and kids package, they are about a hundred haters who have absolutely nothing nice to say. And that’s putting it very mildly. In fact what’s even more disturbing than the nasty name-calling are the most ridiculous allegations against the New Kids members which could seriously put their relationships in jeopardy had they not been married to really strong women who knew well in advance that this sort of spiteful behaviour came in the job description of wife of a New Kid!
I’m absolutely appalled that the people who run these sites and forums have not removed these comments, and I’m even more surprised that the New Kids haven’t threatened to sue. Maybe they’re just too smart to read such comments. Or maybe they do read them and just laugh at how pathetic these women are. I remember back in the ’90s, the New Kids – like many male pop acts at the time – couldn’t admit to having a girlfriend for fear of alienating fans. They couldn’t even admit to having had a girlfriend. But as they are all grown men in their forties, do we still expect them to pretend that they’re still waiting to experience their first kiss just to keep us happy? To be honest, this wouldn’t actually make me happy – I’d just wonder what was wrong with my idols!
I suppose the real issue here, is that the spite, jealousy and hostility that women are famous for pelting each other with is still there. And I know it only too well – I did go to an all-girls school for five years. If a woman has something that another woman wants, you can bet her Fendi clutch that she’ll feel the full force of the other woman’s insults as they rain down upon her. I suppose what some of these ‘fans’ don’t realise is that they are actually dealing with real people – not just faces on a poster that’s stuck on the wall – and their families. And real people have real feelings and feel real pain. I wonder how I would have felt, had I really become Mrs. Knight and I had to read the most disgusting rubbish about me, written by people who hadn’t even met me. Actually I know exactly how I would have felt and that’s why I think it’s just wrong. I really cannot believe just how childish some people can be. It really is about time some people learned to grow up.
And on a less ranty note, congrats to Donnie Wahlberg and Jenny McCarthy. I hope they prove the haters wrong. I really loved how Jenny got all emotional when she was telling the girls on The View all about the engagement – she very nearly set me off too! Awesome news and I’m so glad that one of my fave New Kids has found someone who has the right stuff!