Saturday, August 06, 2011

what's the opposite of type a?

type z? whatever it's called, i'm it. of the very many personal flaws i have, my disorganization and procrastination are the most discouraging - and of course, counter-productive. i never met a deadline i didn't want to shirk, a schedule i didn't want to get behind on, a drawer i didn't want to stuff ephemera in before going back to read, surf the web, watch craptastic cable, eat peanut butter straight from the jar.

i'm feeling like i need to publicly acknowledge this because it's held me back most of my life, and i'm so ready to move on, but i don't really know how. anything i've accomplished has certainly been in spite of my work ethic, not because of it. it's a marvel that i have a master's degree. as it is, i graduated with less-than-highest honors from my undergraduate writing program simply because i couldn't get my act together enough to show up to workshops with any material to workshop. i'm certain i'll never be an etsy super-seller or a blogging star for the same reason - i can't motivate myself to put in the very hard work needed to accomplish these things (talent and product are other matters entirely). the next fenton street market date for {beatrice + the bird} is twenty days away and i have almost no inventory, per usual. i'll have a lot for the show, but not without the undue anxiety that waiting so long to get started necessitates. i HAVE been dabbling with a kicky, tiered half-apron out of my old standbys, thrift-store sheeting and alexander henry's farmdale fabrics. here's the first pass:

lately i've been listening to the simple mom podcasts, and i've been struck by a recurring theme among the moms interviewed on these smart and thought-provoking podcasts: all say "getting it all done" takes a huge amount of work, that they are passionate about the work, and they make compromises in order to get it done. i think a lot of my procrastination results from a perverse perfectionism: i'd rather not do something than do it and have it not meet my standards - or, heaven forbid, anyone else's. if it had been up to me, i certainly wouldn't have started making and selling stuff on etsy; a partner had to convince me the work was good enough to sell. there are many, many days when i'm still not sure about that. one of the things i struggle with when blogging about my work and my life is my lack of blithe confidence in the material - other bloggers maintain such an overwhelmingly positive outlook about what their posting: "i made this! it's great! i found this on the internet! it's fabulous!" i'm not saying that's misplaced hubris; it just shows an assertive spirit that i don't inherently have. and the sense that i really do have to do it all, without compromise, is absolutely paralyzing.

i am trying to take small steps. for lent, i gave up what i called "mean-spirited reality tv," which i can only define along the same lines as the supreme court's definition of obscenity - you know it when you see it. first to be axed: anything 'real housewives.' i've kept up with it since easter, and the effect has been revelatory. not only do i feel like a more decent, less imbecilic person without those programs in my life, it means that sometimes i turn on the tv and there's literally nothing i'm "allowed" to watch, which means i HAVE TO TURN OFF THE TELEVISION AND DO SOMETHING BETTER WITH MY TIME. like read with my little one. or floss. i also cancelled most of my magazine subscriptions so i wouldn't be tempted to sit down and read martha stewart living when i should be doing my own living. i definitely have less recycling to deal with as a result, and fewer "someday" projects and recipes in my mental and physical files. i need more of these techniques, though - easy, relatively painless ways to channel my time in a more positive and productive way. anyone have any ideas?

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