So there’s this meme that’s been floating around the internets and Facebook– 30 posts of truth. I first heard about it from Sweetney, and I wanted to participate immediately, but when I looked at the 30 topics my first thought was dang, these are going to be hard.
I don’t like writing unless I can be honest. And I find that I will sit for an hour and work a paragraph until it says exactly what I want it to say. I don’t ever want to publish a word here that I don’t absolutely mean… I shy away from writing anything that I suspect I won’t want to stand behind a year or two or five from now. This can be a good thing, because I am cautious about what I write here…and caution is good. But it can also be bad because it keeps me from really laying some good, honest, nitty-gritty-where-my-life-is-in-the-trenches-stuff out there. It keeps me from taking risks.
And just why am I afraid to let myself write what I think today, knowing that it’s okay if I grow and change my mind somewhere down the line? Is that so wrong? Is that so bad?
All of that is to say, I wanted to do this 30 posts of truth, but I was scared–skeerd–to do it. What if I [gasp] look bad? Like THAT’s never happened before. Get over yourself, woman!
So, to begin — Day 1 of the 30 posts of truth: Something I hate about myself: Okay, to begin, there are numerous things I dislike about myself. Not the least of which are these: I don’t always know when to shut up. And when I’m talking too much, I often say awkward things. This happened just last night at a wedding reception. I’ll spare the details because they really aren’t that good. It wasn’t exactly an example of putting my foot in my mouth as mucha s it was, just an awkward remark that made no sense to anybody except for the little person in my head who flips the “blurt” switch in my brain from time to time.
Anyway, I’ve been putting off writing this first of 30 days of truth posts because even though it says it just has to be a thing I hate about myself, I keep focusing on the thing I hate most about myself. And that is a difficult thing to think about, let alone write about… especially considering my aforementioned tendancy to only want to write things exactly as I mean them, and also not to write anything that I might regret later.
Before I tell you what it is, I’ll tell you that I’ve had this tendency for as long as I can remember. I used to take pride in and contragulate myself in my skills in it, but as I’ve grown older it has cost me a shocking amount of peace and enjoyment out of life. I’ve tried to correct it in myself, I’ve tried to just flat-out stop doing it, of no avail. I’ve prayed about it. I’ve beat myself up over it so many more times than I could even say. It impacts my relationships with people–particularly those I’ve lived with past and present. I’ve let it (and the things it touches) get the best of me and take the joy out of my life.
And though, when some people read this, they will roll their eyes and say, “Good lord, woman, just freaking grow up already,” I’ll tell you that it’s not a simple matter of being more disciplined. Or, if it is, then I guess I’ll just have to face facts that I am not a very disciplined person. But I’m here to tell you that procrastination–my hugest demon, ever–is a nasty, nasty thing to grapple with. It’s not just a matter of getting off one’s lazy rear end. It’s more than just shutting down the computer or turning off the tv. It has created such disorder and chaos in my career and personal life. It makes me less effective and I hate that. But some how that isn’t enough to get me to stop doing it. I feel like such a hypocrite when my students who are chronic procrastinators ask me for extentions on papers and projects, and I tell them no. (sometimes I tell them yes). But part of it is that I know that they will not get it done until they have to. And I know this because I am the same way.
I wish I was not this way. I wish I was the kind of person who had a schedule and kept to it. I hate the fact that minor inconveniences become a major wrench because I’ve backed myself into a corner with no time to work my way out of it.
I have some theories. Procrastination is indicative of boredom. Indicative of a lack of structure, so instead of “having” time, I’m constantly “stealing” time. Indicative of mild depression. Or perhaps more directly, indicative of someone who just doesn’t want to do this stuff they’re procrastinating. Can that even be true? Because if it is, I don’t want to do most things that promote a smooth and orderly home and blossoming career.
Maybe it’s time to think about whether or not I even want to do the things I procrastinate doing. Maybe my procrastination problem is a big symptom that I am not really living an authentic life. I mean, getting out my camera never feels like a chore. Reading good stuff never feels like a chore. Being outside never feels like a chore. Being with my students never feels like a chore.
I know that there will always be things that I don’t want to do that I have to do… like loading the dishwasher and folding the laundry. But what about those other things? That stack of random stuff in the office that I don’t want to lose but needs to be put away? That decorating project I seem to really want to do? That stack of papers that need to be graded because it’s my damn job? That thesis that hasen’t been written to further my career? What about those things?
Sometimes I can’t help but wonder what’s wrong with me? Sometimes I just feel like a big piece of crap. When I talk to others about it, they always assure me that this is not the case. They’re always supportive. But maybe what they’re thinking is something else. Or maybe it’s just me thinking that of myself. This… this problem of mine–it’s very sneaky… it deepens my insecurity… in prompts me to question the good and loving support of friends and family.
If it does all of that– if it costs me so much– why is it that I have not made the necessary changes? What exactly is my problem?