Caveat: No, Really, I’m Not Wonderful At All

February 25, 2009 at 6:23 pm 15 comments


Caveatan explanation to prevent misinterpretation c: a modifying or cautionary detail to be considered when evaluating, interpreting, or doing something

Excuse my language, but caveats, when it applies to a person’s attributes, are starting to piss me off. I’m sick of it in fact. Hell, I suffer from it. There is no getting around it, but the more I hear it, the more my eye starts to twitch.

What do you mean, Melissa?

Here’s an example:

“Do you sew?”

“Yes. Here and there. It’s really just a hobby. I barely past muster.”

Now, if this was the truth and the timid person was just letting the other person know–one sleeve will probably be longer than the other–I could understand this caveat. Where it starts to piss me off, is when the person sews, they sew well and they still say this. Statements like these shows a sign of insecurity, but worst, most times it’s false modesty.

When did it become okay to say “No, I really I suck” over “I do this well”. Why is the former more acceptable to say in society? It’s not tooting your own horn, it’s being honest. And, really we see it all the damn time. In the writing community and, dear god, with mothers.

Instead of using a universal “you” let me just say with me it’s like pulling teeth just acknowledge what I’m good at. Even now as I’m seething about false modesty I don’t want to “out” myself.  Is it fear that what we think we are good at someone else will come along and say, “No, you do that horribly.”  Or does it really come down to we don’t want to be seen as “bragging”.

Either way, more and more I avoid forum threads where you–the universal you–are asked “what are you good at?” or “this thread is to compliment yourself”. ‘Cause sooner or later someone, several people come along with  statements like the above.


Let the caveats start going like this:

 “My plots suck, but I’m the shit when it comes to editing. I mean, I have to walk around with tissue when revising. Smell me.”

That’s not bragging, that’s being honest if it applies to you.

You need another example:

“I’m not the best when it comes to crisis situations, but I let my children be children for as long as they want to be ones.”

You know what, I don’t care about the why anymore. I’m starting a movement. No more caveats. From this day forth caveats will be the ugly step-children of compliments. They will not be said in the same breath.

Let me start:

My dialogue rocks socks.

I am determined.

I am the queen when it comes to playing with my kids. They love it. I love it.

Since giving birth to my son, I can make the realist fart sounds that even makes me giggle.

I’m the shit when it comes to snark. Smell me.


Your turn. Now if I see any caveats in the comments section you will get the smack down.

Lastly, now and forever this will be a caveat free blog. Are ya with me?


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

I Did Say the Year of the Writer Speaking of Being Wonderful…

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. coffeegirl88  |  February 25, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I’m with y’a. This whole idea of putting ourselves (as women) down because it’s what we’ve been taught to do by our mothers who were taught by their mothers, is bullshit. We are bright, shining lights of accomplishment and we should brag – at every possible opportunity.

  • 2. Melissa Blue  |  February 25, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Cynthia you are absolutely right.

    For the women struggle with their own awesome here’s something to think about: The fact that we survived not only one visit from Aunt Flo, but several, without comitting mass murder, SHOULD be reason enough to say we’re awesome. If you have ever suffered from Tender breasts, swollen feet, bloating, Dr.Jekyl/Mr. Hyde personalities–AND no one got hurt.. and you don’t think you’re awesome?

  • 3. Edie  |  February 25, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Great post, Mel! I’m a fabulous writer. I deserve to be published. How’s that? 😆

    And I finaled today in the Chase the Dream contest! Squeee!

  • 4. Katie Reus  |  February 25, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Love it! You’re right, as women we’re trained to act this way. I don’t care if this does sound shallow,but I have great hair and I love it! I also write fantastic, emotional sex scenes 😉

  • 5. Melissa Blue  |  February 26, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Yes, EDIE! Say it loud and proud.

    Also, big huge congrats.

  • 6. Melissa Blue  |  February 26, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Katie, given I’m on a mission to get my hair healthy again, I can honestly say that is an attritube you should be proud of.

    And, think about it some people have trouble writing emotional sex scenes. Go, you.

  • 7. Edie  |  February 26, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Mel, thanks! Katie, I wish I could say the same thing about my hair. Good for you!

  • 8. Amie Stuart  |  February 26, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    >>but worst, most times it’s false modesty.

    Or they’re being passive agressive and want you to stroke their ego and tell them how wonderful they are.

    I am the SHIT when it comes to dialogue. that is all.


  • 9. kimberlyfoley  |  February 27, 2009 at 6:03 am

    I can tell you, I am the best listener in the whole world. And I must have it written on my forehead, because people tell me everything. They take one look at me and spill their guts. Don’t know what it is … hey! I think I’ll blog about that. Thanks!

  • 10. Melissa Blue  |  February 27, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    Amie, I can smell ya from here.

  • 11. Melissa Blue  |  February 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Edie, you are welcome.

  • 12. Melissa Blue  |  February 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    Kim, I suffer from the same “gift”, so my hugs are being offered.

  • 13. Linda Ciletti  |  March 1, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Ha! I’m the queen of caveats. I’m honestly just being totally frank (to a fault). Of course my editor friend is always reprimanding me for it. I’ve sewn some “nice looking” medieval costumes. Truthfully, they’re mediocre at best (I know this because I know some really great seamstresses). However, those who see the costumes and who lack any sewing abilities, think they’re great and compliment me on my “skill”. 🙂 I know the truth…however, in the light of this caveat conversation…next time I’ll say, “Thanks! I rock!”…all the while thinking about the fraying seams on the inside of the garment. Who needs to know that? 🙂 I suppose I tend to compare myself to those who are more skillful rather than those less skillful. “whap, whap”….I needed that.

  • 14. Melissa Blue  |  March 2, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    *Smack* Stop it. Here’s something to help put caveats into perspective. When someone compliments you and you tell them why they shouldn’t, you are insulting that person’s taste. Two simple words, “Thank you.” Have all those caveats in your head and keep them to yourself. Trust me, after a while those caveats will disappear. Not all but most. And, then sooner or later you’ll find out how wonderful you really are.

  • 15. RaiulBaztepo  |  March 30, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo

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