Strength and competence

I’ve always put competence high on my list of things I value, and have always chided myself pretty heavily when I feel I lack competence in some realm or other, be it social, business-related, skill-related, whatever.

I’ve been thinking lately about the fact that Katherine always valued competence, too, in her case to the point that she couldn’t even have sympathy for a character in a story being workshopped if the character weren’t competent, couldn’t even really understand the thought processes behind incompetence.

And of course, she used that competence to quietly and efficiently end her life, making sure both that she wouldn’t fail at doing so and that no one would catch any stray clues that would give her careful planning away.

It sounds almost silly to want to say it aloud, but you know, I don’t want to be that competent. I want to be messy, imperfect. More (and this is something I’m still very much working on) I want to be able to roll with my imperfections, to accept them, to laugh at them.

Strength isn’t everything. It needs to be tempered with flexibility, humor, the ability to fail at the chances one takes without hating oneself for it.

Because no one is competent or strong or right all the time. And we need all those other things to tell us that that’s okay, that we have a right to just be, in a way that doesn’t require justifying it or earning it or deserving it.

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