“I don’t think I can do it.”
There is no other expression that irks me more. People around me use it all too often, and most of the time *without* thinking.
What makes people say that? I feel that we are all perfectly capable of doing anything and everything that comes over way. We may choose to not do it for other reasons, but we definitely *can*.
Can I do paragliding, mountain climbing and other dardevil stuff?
Yes, I may be horrified to death, but I can.
Can I be blunt and painfully honest with people?
I can. I have. People don’t like it all that much and the consequences are…. Let’s just say it doesn’t go well.
Can I reveal my true identity?
Sure, But I would rather not.
The first time this expression irritated me (or the first time I remember this expression irritated me) was back in 2004. Myself and two cousins of mine were pursuing engineering, with different streams. The final year classes had just begun. And the the campus placements were being discussed. During the course of discussion, my cousin sister declared, “I don’t think I can do IT job. I am just too…. You’re bold, you will be able to do it. I can’t.”
I did not know how to react. I still do not know. The hurt is just too much.
We both studied in co-ed post class ten. we both did engineering. she had way more friends – both female and male, all through the education. She stayed and survived in girls hostel, and suddenly she becomes this damsel who is too shy, and some sort of victim who was too naive to be in IT industry.
She did not “want to” work in IT. That is a different and valid reason.
The same person went on to do masters from a far off city, followed by lectureship in various out-of-town colleges.
My elder sister, a mother of two, visited me a few years back for some interview.
Two days we spent at home, and I showed her around the housing society, nearby shops etc. She had to go for the interview and left her infant son with me. I had to tell her the routes, what to tell to the cab driver etc. It seemed alright. The city was new to her. The interview went well, she took the cab back, and arrived at the main gate. Then she called. Triumphantly informing that she has reached the main gate and asked for directions from main gate to my building. I was surprised. In gave her the directions nonetheless. It was a 5 minutes walk from main gate. 15 minutes later, she still hasn’t reached. So I called her. She was lost. I stepped out, running from building to main gate, looking for her. Didn’t find her. Then sprinted almost the circumference of housing society to locate her. Phew…. Reaching home, she concluded, “I can’t remember routes”. Really? Like, really?
In March of 2015, my mother was diagnosed with cancer – Non Hodgin Lymphoma of bone marrow, stage 4. I cannot explain the sinking feeling when I heard the news. Nobody would ever imagine some dear ones getting cancer. I didn’t, either. Did I question whether I can take care of her during treatment? I didn’t. It was not easy. It cannot be easy. Those who have cancer survivors would agree. Each day was a challenge, not just for her. Taking her to hospital for every chemo session, watching her go through the pain of the heavy medication, that injection in her spine, watching her weep for her hair loss. I remember everything vividly. I questioned why she has to go through this. But I never questioned “can I do it?”. Questioning was not an option. I had to, and I did. That’s how it works.
When people look for options, or when they see they have options – like others taking care of things for them, then they have luxury to say “I can’t”. And I have trained myself to not depend on anybody, to not trust anyone, to be self sufficient, to be confident that “I can”. Believing in oneself is a good beginning. And well begun is half-done.
Can I lose those few extra pounds?
I wouldn’t know but I am certainly going to try.