I can’t.

I can’t drive.  It’s a choice I made before I was restricted by the limitations of my vision, but either way, I can’t.

I can’t dress myself– or so I tell my friends, and they clink their glasses to mine and say to hell with the edicts of fashion.  They don’t understand the literal restriction of my “can’t”, though.  I work in fashion and I want to look like I feel, but I can’t understand the shapes that fit on other shapes, and I can’t make out the difference in colors.  Those are minor symptoms of a bigger problem– I don’t know what I look like.  I can’t wrap my mind around it.

I can’t have children.  It’s a choice, I say, because I made the choice aeons before any doctor told me I couldn’t.  I don’t always listen to my doctors, and I push my boundaries where I find them, but in this case, I can’t risk the damage to a life.  I just can’t.

I can’t write about sex, but I don’t know why.  I talk about sex a lot, in person– it’s an important part of the human experience with horizons so vast it makes the sun look as small as a the flickering spark of a lighter.  Still, if I manage to write something, I can’t share it.

I can’t keep any plant alive, except a money tree– and the art of Jello-making eludes me.

I can’t swim.

I can’t move past spelling errors in my own writing or do math without a piece of paper in my hand.  I can’t hear lyrics, or most sounds, unless they direct themselves to me.

I can’t sit next to a dog without sweating.  I can’t straighten a painting on a wall.  I can’t lie even when someone needs me to.

I can’t sleep without finishing the book I started, or straightening my blankets just right, or checking my pantry.  I can’t.

I can’t add color to the sketches I create, or hold a rhythm, or pirouette.  I can’t climb a mountain without stopping to cry from the pain in my chest.  I can’t walk through a park without panicking at the open.  I can’t search for dinosaur fossils in the ground without panicking at being trapped.

I can’t go on a trip without a car-full of belongings and weeks of preparation.

I can’t speak fluently in any other language than my native tongue.

I can’t tell a story in a consecutive order, or answer a question completely and fully unless it is asked of me.  I’m not trying to avoid truth, but my brain simply doesn’t function in that way.

I can’t read upside down, and often I can’t even recognize upside down words as English.  I can’t see in the brightness.  I can’t think in the cold.

I can’t forget horrible things.

I can’t wear ankle boots because my ankles are too tiny, and I can’t fix a toilet no matter what is wrong with it.

I just can’t.

There are people who can do these things.  They aren’t impossible, I’ve witnessed them in action.  My husband drives effortlessly, my parents speak dozens of languages, and I have best friends who have climbed the tallest mountains in the world.

Of course, there are a great many things I can do, and a greater list of things I think I might be able to do– so I celebrate them, and I do them, and I rawr them to the world.

It’s my little way of stamping out the “can’t”s.

cant

Edit: Thanks to DarkCircles, I was motivated to animate the dino, and thanks to Jaklumen, I was prompted to add him to this post.  Here he is for all your stompy needs:

yesican

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yeah write, nablopomo, NaBloPoMo_November_small


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Are any of these can’ts in your life?

184 thoughts on “I can’t.

    1. Haha! I post about those things every day! 😀 I’m a perpetual celebrator of my “can”, so I thought just to even things up a bit, it was time for a few of the can’ts. 😀 Thank you for reading, Robbie! 🙂

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          1. Beautifulness for sure and dinosaurs with tea! What better place could there be? And I would love to extend the invitation to you as well. Vancouver BC is pretty sweet too and always welcomes dinosaurs 🙂

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  1. Pfft to the I can nots – you are intelligent – you can write humorous and informative posts. You are kind and personable. You are helpful and friendly. You care – so I say 3 cheers for your CAN’S!!!! 😀 xx

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  2. I have a problem with things that I once did easily but can’t do anymore. It is like it would not bother me so much if I had never, but that I could and now I can’t. Well, that bother me.

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    1. That makes sense. I have things like that, too– the children and the vision being the notable ones. Still, that’s what our can-list is for– the more of it we do, the less the can’ts matter. Hugs to you! 🙂

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  3. Had to scroll back up to the top to double check this wasn’t someone else posting on your blog… But even with this long list of can’ts – I know your list of can’s would be long enough to wrap around the world, twice. 🙂 So I’m not going to worry. 😉

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    1. 😀 Haha! I’m very comfortable with my can’ts… I’m used to them and they don’t phase me. Except for the clothing one. That one bothers me, but I’m working on it. 🙂 The rest are just part why I ended up with the stuff on my “can” list. 🙂

      (Strangely, though, I’m not comfortable with the phrase, “I can’t”. Just looking at the title made me a bit uneasy, 🙂 It’s not a phrase I say that often.)

      Thanks for being fabulous, Jill.

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  4. I absolutely loved this and I am truly sorry you can’t have children, even though I know you’ve come to terms with it and made the decision before ever given the news, it sucks to have something that could have been an option completely taken away. Thank you for sharing with us.

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    1. 🙂 Thanks, CB. It was made worse by the way the news was given to me so nonchalantly, since the doctor thought I already knew. So I grieved, and then I let myself move on. 🙂 I think I’d be more of an adopter anyway. Thanks for reading. *hugs*

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        1. 😀 With the smile, I assume that means she was adopted into a loving home– and that is something truly marvelous. Humans are pretty awesome sometimes. 🙂

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    1. Limitations grate my nerves, too. But, if this was a list of things I can’t stand, it’d have been thousands of words longer, ha! 😀 I’m all kinds of nitpicky. 🙂

      Thanks, Elyse! 🙂

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  5. Sometimes I start with the cants and Robert is very quick to remind me that it’s all a choice, as in; I wont rather than cant. He’s perfectly right, (he usually is, damn it) Even when I say, “alright smarty, I can’t pack up, leave everyone and move to deepest Africa”, he’ll say, “actually you can, it’s just a choice you’re making not to.” There are some choices that are harder to make than others. So, so far, just about the only things I can’t do are grow wings, gills or a tail. Pretty much everything else is a choice I think. 🙂

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    1. Oh, sending your site to Chloe, who just started her own blog after me nagging her a bit…about two years worth.

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  6. Other have already said so, but I’m going to say it again – think of all the things you CAN do. You’re awesome, Rara, and just remember, there are lots of drivers who aren’t awesome – they’re just idiots with a piece of plastic saying that they can go around in a box on four wheels.

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    1. Haha, oh yes! There are tons of terrible drivers. My driving is more a won’t, because I won’t risk lives that way. And no worries– I know my “can” list just as well as I know my “can’ts”… and I am grateful and happy for my talents and gifts where they happen to have landed! 😀 Thank you for the faith, Lynette!!

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  7. You already do MORE than most of us can. It’s just a theory, but I think people with handicaps work so hard to overcome them that in the end, they excel and make the rest of us feel like WE have to catch up.

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    1. 🙂 I agree with your theory. I don’t know if I do more than people, but I do feel like my limitations and “Can’ts” have been the catalyst for a great many of my “can”s. 🙂

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  8. I can’t properly distinguish colours it annoys me so I dress myself in the dark and only express myself artistically through words. I can’t drive, but eventually I’ll learn. Other things too!

    ECHO ECHO

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    1. I dress in all black, too. It started when I lost all kinds of weight from going to a low-carb diet. I didn’t know how to dress myself and I said I’d figure it out later… and that was 5 years ago. 😉 So, I pretty much wear all black all the time. 😀 Rawr!

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  9. What an awesome post! I know that it’s hard to think of what you can’t do without feeling bad about it, but it’s great that you still focus on what you can do. This post definitely helped me 🙂

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  10. I can’t drive either due to a phobia I’ve had since I was a child…. I can actually get behind a wheel without getting jelly legs now, but being by myself driving or entering the highway terrifies me!! I used to have dreams of me being in a car and it rolling backwards or surging forwards and me being the only one in the car and not being able to control it. I was in my twenties when I first started to learn how to drive, and I had an accident (I was the passenger) where we rolled five times on the highway and landed upside-down – Spirit was with us that day because, even though every piece of glass was shattered (including the moon roof) we got out of there with scratches and bruises, even my glasses were still on my face!

    What makes people suck so hard is when they JUDGE you just because you don’t drive. This guy at work asked why I don’t drive, I explained about the accident as well as my financial inability TO afford a car at the moment, and he still makes fun of me. Like, when he sees me rolling a cart in the store to stock merch, he’s like “See, you can drive!” His wife was giving me rides to and from work and he for some reason put a stop to it even though I was compensating them. It makes me angry how people think getting a license will solve everything, but what about the cost to operate and maintain a car too?

    Brave of you to list your can’ts, and one thing you CAN do real well is make people smile 😀

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    1. Firstly, congratulations to you for getting as far past your phobia as you have. Secondly, thank goodness you survived– what a gift!

      And lastly, yes– I get the judgey comments, too. It shocks people and annoys them, which is ridiculous because it doesn’t involve them… but I try to remember it’s just that people feel worried when you don’t live in their image. In a way, it’s looking out for you. 🙂

      And thank you for the new “can” to add to my other list– I didn’t have that one down, yet. 😀 *hugs*

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      1. You should’ve had THAT one down LONG ago! *huggles* 😀

        It only involves them when you rely on them and that annoys them, which I think is ridiculous, because in life, aren’t we supposed to count on each other in need? Isn’t that what every religion teaches is to give and you shall receive in kind?

        Sometimes I think humans need a swift kick :p

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  11. OMG I love this post. You are so cute and I love the little ‘I Can’t dinosaur’ at the end. And your cans way outdo the can’ts! I also have visions problems with night driving 🙂 Just love your page!

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  12. Wow, I would never have guessed some of these things by reading your other posts! It was a very personal entry. =3

    Hmmm….well, I can’t dye my hair (anymore) because I’m allergic to hair dye. I CANNOT go a day without worrying about something, it just isn’t my personality. I can’t ever be smaller than a size 4 because my hip bones are too big to ever allow me to squeeze into something smaller without causing bodily harm, and even then I have to try really hard to get to that point. I can’t listen to a song I love and not associate some sort of memory with it. =3

    It’s really hard to think of things I absolutely CAN’T do…I mean, I want to say that I can’t jump out of a plane because the thought sends me into a panic, but is it really impossible? ‘Can’t’ has such strong implications…

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    1. 🙂 I think I’ve mentioned almost all this at least once before, but that goes back to the point on how I can’t tell a story in consecutive order. It makes it so that it’s hard for details like this to stick, not that they’re vital or anything. 🙂

      I love your song associations, and it’s probably good to take it easy on hair dye. 🙂

      “Can’t” really does have strong implication– and I’ve stomped all over some of my can’ts before, so you never know. 🙂 Many can be dino-squashed! 🙂

      Thanks for sharing a bit of your story and insights! 🙂

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  13. Rara, And what “you can ” can’t fit in just one blog , I’m sure about that. 🙂 Just thought of adding one more “can’t ” in the list. *hugs*

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  14. Wow! What honesty, Rara. I’d never know any of these just by reading your blogs. I always thought with your upbeat outlook, anything and everything is possible!

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    1. 🙂 Everything is absolutely possible! But that doesn’t mean it’s everyone’s gift to be able to do everything. One of my hate-mails commented on how my positive attitude is a result of being gifted/popular, and how of course it’s easy to stay happy when there are no can’ts in your life. I’ve been sitting on that thought for awhile now and finally decided, that though I’ve mentioned all this before, to write it all out in a big list. I don’t want anyone to feel like their can’ts should stand in their way. Mine are there, and they’re daunting, but they’re just silly, squishable can’ts. It’s why most days I focus on the “can”. 🙂

      Thank you for reading!!

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  15. You. You are a brilliant writer.
    I can’t write about sex either.
    I (still) can’t come out about my depression issues publicly/
    I think your post inspired me to write one myself.
    Also dancing dino in the end. Win. 😀

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    1. Dancing dino squishing can’ts… it’s like a self-portrait! 😀 And yay! I can’t tell you how valuable it is to write your story– not dwell on it, but at least share it. If you need a place to do so, you can look into BlackBoxWarnings.wordpress.com. One of my past pains is shared there, and it was a wonderfully safe space to do so. There’s also http://amanicworld.com/ which takes guest submissions on depression. 🙂 *hugs*

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  16. Rara so happy to see that you can’t fix toilets…I was worried that it was just me 😉 kidding…loved reading this post, many you’ve mentioned have become part of my couldn’t list..one never knows. About spelling errors and math…I’m happy that computers exist, so much easier to catch and correct the spelling errors (an it’s so lovely when people call them “typos” 😉 ) and math is just not my thing, with or without a piece of paper…and if they cut off my fingers I’d be in a mess!

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    1. 😀 That’s what husbands and brothers and sisters are for– fixing toilets. 😉 And you’re so right. My couldn’t list gets bigger every year. 🙂 I certainly hope no one cuts off your fingers, haha, 😀 though I think if that happened, math would be your last concern. 😉 Thanks for making me laugh, Bastet! 😀

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  17. The more I read about you the more I want to know!
    The wonderful thing is that you know there are things that you can’t do, things that you have chosen not to do…but it doesn’t pull you down because you also know the things you can do and you enjoy them to the fullest!!
    A really cool idea for a post 🙂

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    1. I’m an open book, Shree, you can ask whatever you’d like to know. 🙂

      I really do think that’s the most important thing about can’ts– knowing that they’re squishable and ignorable if you want. I would rather add 5 can’s to my list than squish one can’t, but that’s just me… everyone has their own system. 😀

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      1. I can’t! Haha…seriously. I mean there are times that I can ask lots of questions but mostly I just can’t because I feel it’s being intrusive! I’m usually so happy when someone feels that they trust me enough to tell me..though this does make me seem a little hoity toity if you know what I mean…weird huh?

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        1. 😀 I understand! I’m like that myself… though in my case, with my brain glitch that makes it hard for me to stay on any one thought– people end up having to piece together stories like a murder mystery if they don’t just straight up ask. My only secrets are the ones I hold for others. The rest of my life, if something inspires a question… just ask. 😀

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          1. I love murder mysteries! Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple style too 😉

            Yea, I’m pretty good with the secret stuff…I’m excellent at times because I actually forget what they tell me..ahahahahaha.

            Ok..let me ask a question: Where do you work and what do you do..as a job..other than this blog and being a creative queen and dinosaur. I’ve been so curious because a boss that tags a ‘Eat me” sign on bananas and then allows their staff to plaster smilies on them sounds totally awesome..LOL

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            1. Haha, I work at a jewelry store, and I only don’t post the specific details because of security. I actually intended to do a “feature!” post, and then I got the death threat and re-thought that. 🙂 I’m an assistant, not a salesperson (hence the office references), and I manage a very large marketing/charity undertaking that he does every year. It’s like 8 different jobs in one and my boss is all kinds of awesome. Plus, I freelance– quite extensively. 🙂

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              1. Ooo a jewelry store! You don’t have to worry..I’m not the jewelry wearing kinda person..though I can do a mean “oooh-ing” and “aaahhh-ing” at jewelry 😉 I understand about the security thing so no worries.

                Your job sounds really busy!! How do you find the time to do everything else that you do!!…

                Oh wait…you don’t sleep that much and you’ve been an energizer bunny since you stopped taking sugar…right? I still think it’s really, really awesome.

                What do you freelance as? Writer?

                Did you really get a death threat? Seriously? O.O

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                1. 😀 I do freelance web architecture, business remodeling, and design. 🙂 And yep, the death threat came after the BlogHer awards, and was full blown crazy town. The lady said she was going to peel the ears off my cats.

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  18. Dear Rara, who else than you can write such a lovely post, honest post on ‘ I can’t’. I’m sure your ‘Can do’ list surpasses ‘ I can’t’. I think its better to accept what you cannot rather than try to do everything and take too much trouble as i often did.

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    1. I think can’ts are healthy, too. It’s not a popular way of thinking, and I don’t like it when people say “I can’t” when they really mean “I don’t know how yet” — but putting stress on your body and mind just to do something that you don’t necessarily even want to do, la. I’ve always found more peace by leaving it on the can’t list and moving on towards new and exciting can-do’s! 🙂 Thanks for reading, Indira!!

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  19. There’s some “won’t” in there I believe. To which I say “try, do, learn.”

    But you know your own limitations as to the actual can’t.

    PS: I’m 63% disabled according to the state of CA Workers Comp system. I feel no more disabled than about 25 percent though. My right wrist doesn’t rotate anymore, which is pretty rough on the tennis game…

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    1. Isn’t it amazing how they turn us into percentages? 😀 How little they know! Ha! 😀 How on earth do you get all the typing done without a rotating wrist?! That’s amazing.

      YOU are amazing. #KrewRawr!

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      1. The doctor put it back in a neutral position, hehe.

        My orthopedist told me the surgeon could have left me palms up so I’d have to walk about as a beggar.

        I told him that I hoped the plane he was building didn’t fall out of the sky, haha.

        By the time I was done treating with him he wouldn’t rate me for the state, as he felt he couldn’t give an unbiased opinion.

        He called me his friend in his last report, haha.

        And as an insurance adjuster (with additional insight as my injury was work related, I’ve seen both sides of the system) it’s one of the most astounding thing I’ve ever read from a doctor paid to write such reports.

        So I saw a state appointed Qualified Medical Examiner who rated me so high… And in CA we are kinda stuck with it. More money, but still. But there’s pretty much no appeal… So it is what it is…

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  20. I can’t drive either. I’m shocked that we have that in common. Somehow, I think it’s a subconscious fear and anxiety thing for me. (At least that’s what people have said.)

    Like you said, there are a great number of things you CAN do & you are miraculously marvelous (or rawrvelous) at them! 😀

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    1. It’s a pretty rare characteristic, but somehow I managed to find 4 of us with this one little blog post, ha! 😀 For me, I just had no interest in it. Then I moved. Then I had a hard year. Then I moved, and then I moved, and then I moved… and then I was 21, and then I was married– and then I realized that I hadn’t wanted/needed to drive more than twice in all that time. So, eh! Oh well. 🙂

      You are rawrvelous as well! 😀

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      1. You are one of the most interesting people I have the pleasure of knowing, Rara. I say that with the utmost respect. 😀

        P.S. You should so copyright “Rawr” if it hasn’t been done already. 😛

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  21. Much of this post applies to me. Can so relate. It doesn’t bother me so much that I can’t do a lot of the above but it f**** me off when other people make a big deal about it; act smug; gloat etc… the one thing I can do that they can’t is be a nicer person! 🙂

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    1. 🙂 I get that. I don’t get too upset– I know that sometimes it’s the most comforting thing for someone to look at someone elses’ can’t list. I don’t know… a human nature thing, perhaps. The one that says, “I’m not the only one with cant’s!” 🙂 Sometimes that translates out as smug, but in reality it all stems from the weird glitch in our brains that makes us unsure of ourselves.

      Of course, some people are just awful– and those we squish as firmly as we squish our can’ts! Rawr! 😀

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  22. Hats off to your honesty! That hit my heart. Thank you for putting it out there. It made me realize how we are all the same – we just have different talents and can’ts.

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  23. Beautifully written and very moving, Rara. It is like darkness and light: sometimes we need to step on the shadows of what we cannot do in order to see the blazing light of our can dos. You can do breath-taking honesty is a way that puts many a shallow and self-congratulatory piece of writing firmly in the shade. This has inspired me; I might try a similar one. xxx

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    1. Thank you, Ali, and yes– please try a similar one. I’d love to read it– honesty is one of my favorite things to read. 😀 Thank you for reading!!

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  24. Where did the dinosaur stomp picture go? It was in my Reader, but not in the post. Is it a book? Whose book? It brightened my screen. It made hubby smile and it vanished. Missing Dinosaur stomp! Answers on a postcard (or am I the only person who still has any?) 🙂 Sue

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  25. It is alright if you can’t climb Mt. Everest because you are still awesome. 🙂
    From your I can’t(s), I can’t swim as well. But the worst agony is that I can’t play a single musical instrument. 😦 But I would love to learn doing so. 🙂
    And even a greater ‘I can’t’ is that I can’t remain interested for long. That was the reason why I gave up French lessons after the first month, which makes it really hard for me to do many things. Patience is not my cup of tea 🙂

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    1. Thank you, HA. 🙂 I learned just enough swimming to jump in and rescue a toddler, 🙂 and I had to practice for months to get it just right. With my lungs, it’s not a good idea, but I figured as a “just in case”, it’s important. 🙂

      You can definitely learn to play a musical instrument! It’s an awesome thing to learn and definitely worth the patience. 😀 Maybe the French class was just boring. 🙂 There should be a class on how to say silly things, read poetry, and swear in French– now THAT would keep my focus. 🙂

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  26. One thing you CAN do is write with true empathy and near genius. One thing did strike a chord. Writing about sex I can’t do that. As you know I write about a lot of things, both on my blog and in my fiction, but that’s an area I just can’t get right. It’s too important, too personal, to write about. It’s a secret.

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  27. There’s one thing I know you definitely can do, and that’s writing awesome posts! There’s things I can’t do either: I can’t do a cartwheel, I can’t roll my “r’s” when speaking a foreign language, I can’t pick up cats because I’m afraid they’ll scratch me…there’s other ones as well, but I just woke up, hehe!

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  28. I don’t drive either, by choice. I think that is different from can’t. I only can’t do it if I have tried and failed enough times to give up. Some games just are not worth the candle. Life is too short for can’t. 🙂

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    1. “Some games just aren’t worth the candle” – I’ve never heard that before but I love-love it. That’s how I feel about many of the items on this list. 😀

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    1. Thank you, John– I think most of us see each other as can’t-less when the reality is far from. 🙂 It’s just that most of us overcome them, or at least focus on our “can”s. 😀 Thanks for your kind words, John. *hugs*

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  29. AHW! hahah the driving thing… I feel like such a loser.. the last time I went for driving lessons I held my (both) hands in front of eyes when I hit the highway.. my instructors was so mad! The signs??? It’s like a some scret code everybody can speak except for me.. ah well I love my bikey!

    Hugs for the cants and even bigger hugs for the cans!! 😀

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    1. I like to go places with people, so I never miss driving– it’s just as easy to let my friends and loved ones drive. 🙂 Hugs for everything!! 😀

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    1. Thanks, Ruta! 🙂 That’s why I wrote this, really– everyone has can’ts. The only difference is how we let them shape us. 🙂 (And yep, I never was interested in driving. I love being a passenger– sleeping, talking the ears off drivers, and being with friends. 😀 )

      Like

    1. 😀 You should move out this way. No one slugs around at 55mph out here. 😉 In fact, that song’s video was filmed somewhere out here, I believe. 😀

      Like

  30. you rock exactly the way you are!
    and my dino lovin’ son also loves saturday night at the dinosaur stomp! and revenge of the dino trux, and goldilocks and the three dinosaurs…

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  31. “I can’t think in the cold” 🙂 Oh, how true that is. My body goes numb and my brain goes dumb.
    Long ago and far away we didn’t need to come up with resumes and long lists of our talents. We had a place in society and did our thing. We were apprenticed if we showed some talent and shown the way until we could go it alone.
    Not anymore, we feel compelled to compete and find fault.
    I think of the many severely handicapped children I have worked with and the very short list of CANS that they have. YET, they are true gems; each and every one of them. And my life has been made richer by their presence.
    Thank you for this wonderful blog and fun stomping dinosaur.

    Like

    1. Oh yes, I’m always adding new CAN items to my list, 🙂 I’ve talked about most of these things before, if not all, but they can get lost in my rawrs. 😀 I just thought it was time to show that I do have a long list of can’ts… I just try not let them phase me. 🙂 Thanks for reading, Kathryn.

      Like

  32. You are a jewel. Life is so much better when we accept what we can and can’t do and I am impressed how you celebrate both. You are indeed a breath of fresh air. I believe you have more ‘cans’ than can’t in your pretty little bag of magic.

    Like

    1. I love celebrating! 🙂 Whatever you’re facing– good or bad– is better when it’s celebrated for the value it brings. “Little bag of magic” – love it! 🙂 Thanks for reading!!

      Like

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