What if you’re bad at what you love?

I’ve loved to write since I was in high school. Probably typical. I admired the writers I read and the books we studied in English Lit class. I got tremendously artsy overall during this time, including a deep love for music and art. I tried to play musical instruments, but I never got good enough to really take it anywhere. It didn’t even occur to me to pick up a pencil and draw. Well, no, that’s a lie. I have envied artists that can draw beautiful pictures, and I’ve tried to do it, but instantly gave up. So, I stuck to writing because I thought it was fun and it clicked.

I loved writing even more in college and dreamed of writing novels. I’d make up endless notes about novel ideas but never tried to write one. The task felt daunting at the time. I was too untrained and too immature to truly take it on. Though I had ideas of what I wanted to do for a career, my dream of being a writer, despite all the hairy eyeballs and questioning looks, stayed true. I never let go of that passion.

Though, I wonder from time to time, what if you’re just really bad at something you love?

Conventional thought encourages the passionate to keep striving for their goals and their dreams because their heart and drive will likely lead to success. In other words, maybe you suck at it now, but you love it so much that the drive for success will overwhelm the consistent failures. Eventually, you’ll get there. Plenty of wise sayings surrounds this line of thinking: Fake it till you make it. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. The only true failure is when you stop trying. 

These sayings are cute and inspiring, but if you can’t improve, is trying after consistent failure madness?

If you love something, truly love it, you aren’t going to give up on it and it won’t give up on you, but if you know it won’t lead to anything fruitful or good or worthwhile, is that not madness? Is the passionate farmer not a madman for farming in the desert, hoping it’ll reap a bountiful crop? A madman.

Feels tragic.

Varying situations abound on whether or not someone could have potential. Sometimes the talentless become famous and successful while the talented die in a lonely ditch. Sometimes the worthy rise to the top while the rest are weighed and measured accordingly and tossed into the shadows. It’s all fickle. It’s all smoke and vapor.

What if you’re bad at what you love? You keep being bad until you taste blood and iron in your mouth and know the end has come and then it won’t matter anymore.