Wednesday, April 9, 2014

self-sabotage and procrastination

I've been agonizing about my definition of self lately. I used to consider myself a writer and then I:

*wrote a "novel" in November
*stopped turning in articles to The Current, Etc at the beginning of 2014.
*failed at revising my novel in February.
*signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo April and have only amassed 2000 words just posting to my blog because I have no ideas for how to tackle anything anymore.

Projects I used to consider fun exercises in writing feel like they're not taking me anywhere anymore. I know what I really NEED to be doing is revising that damn novel, but I'm not. I'm not and I'm in



All I've ever known how to do, which is to say that all I've ever practiced doing, is free-association journal-writing. I come to sound conclusions about my insights into self by writing. I don't make up characters that aren't me. Shit, the main character in that stupid novel is just me if my life had a purpose. My instinct is to admit I'm not a writer and stop writing.

This is what I did back when I was an art major. I tapped into a well of creativity and instead of riding that wave, I stopped myself from getting better. It's almost as if I see cultivating talents as an addiction I must squelch.

I know in my soul that the happiest most productive version of me is a person with an entire room to herself. A person that uses this room to glue jewels to things. A person that uses this room to read sci-fi/fantasy novels. A person that uses this room to sit in a comfortable recliner and drink coffee while staring out a window. A person that uses this room to listen to podcasts and knit a mediocre scarf. A person who uses this room to type zine articles on my typewriter. A person that creates as much as she takes.

I am marginally good at several things:

*making zines
*making mixes
*writing off-the-cuff semi-inspirational articles posted to zines/free publications/blogs
*sloppy artistic statements such as collaging, Barbie alterations, and the like
*putting together bitchin' outfits
*customer service/anticipating needs of coworkers to reduce their stress-levels at work (basically taking care of background annoyances so someone else can do stellar things, like a muse)

But the majority of my time is spent reading, binge-watching great television, and putting off creativity. I absolutely know that talent takes time and hard-work, but I don't focus on one thing long enough to cultivate it. I perpetually put out unfinished work because if I didn't, I'd put out nothing. I feel that this is a necessary first step in learning something new, but I don't ever move past that step into beginning to put out work that's less sloppy. I have this strange aversion to polish.

Perhaps I'm a secret chaos worshiper. When I paint my nails and mess up, I KNOW I've messed up. I have a good eye for detail. I know I CAN fix it, but I REFUSE. Fuck the system...but what system? The system of an organized nail-polish job? Yeah, that's an oppressive one, Stephanie. Better defy that. I mean, whaaaaat? Rebel without a cause is an understatement. I have this fierce commitment to flaws that I can't reconcile.

I really am quite at peace with this outlook on life, but there's got to be SOMETHING I'm willing to get better at doing. There's got to be at least one thing that I can let myself buff into submission. It's almost as if I feel like a fake if I don't have holes in my sweater. Because who I am is very flawed, very hole-filled, and substantially unkempt.

A few things I REFUSE to do for large chunks of time, for no apparent reason:

*brush my hair
*paint my nails (not that I let them be naked, which is fine, I just let them chip away for weeks before repainting them)
*stop wearing pants to work when they have tiny holes on the seams of the inner-thigh area
*fill out paperwork
*get my teeth cleaned
*go to the gynecologist
*do ANYTHING I've said I'll do, either to others or myself

Sabotage and procrastination. It starts with a middle finger to "the man" and simmers into a dose of self-hatred that eventually gives me the energy to rebel against myself which sparks me into doing a project that mostly sucks, but at least I did it, damnit!