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My Contrary Personality

I wrote today. Shocking, right? I haven't written anything substantial in about a week. Not sure where my time went, but it certainly wasn't into making those progress bars go up. I think I spent it on limericks, putting together job applications, updating my resume and portfolio, and celebrating the end of the school semester with Sweetie by splurging $13.50 at Arby's and watching him play video games. I think that's the first time we've eaten out since December. I don't remember fast food being so salty.

And when I wasn't doing anything else, I was throwing pity parties. I'm not as depressed and cynical as I appear on this blog—I swear. I'm pretty sure I throw pity parties about as often as your average unemployed librarian who's aged halfway through her twenties without making anything tangible of herself (I consider the "twenties" to start at 20 and end at 29, hence, 24 is halfway).

I know, I know—I haven't done nothing with my life. I have a bachelor's in biology and a master's in library science, a book to my name, and I can whip up websites and PHP/JavaScript/MySQL applications at the drop of a hat. I'm pretty good with statistics, social science research methods, and multimedia too. And at home I can knit, sew, cook, and bake any bread or dessert like nobody's business. But I don't get external validation or compensation for any of it, except from my family and significant other. And you know how I like my validation.

So I spend a lot of time feeling anxious and sorry for myself. Fretting that I only have X days until I reach my self-imposed deadline to find a job, finish another book, etc. etc. Now, I used to work well under pressure. When I was in school, I always managed to perform the best on exam days or in a feverish state of panic the day before an assignment was due. But long-term stress is a different animal. It eats away at your self-worth and productivity, leaving you whimpering uselessly in the fetal position instead of accomplishing things.

For the past few days, I decided to stop forcing myself to write. The stuff I produce has been pretty pathetic, anyway, ever since my confidence took a hit when I wrote that terrible half-novella. I'm not exaggerating—it's really terrible. Flowery, sentimental, melodramatic stuff. I feel like I've eaten one of those sticky Little Debbie buns dripping with re-hydrated honey and preservatives by just looking at the file in my Victorian Romances folder. If I ever become famous and people try to recover all of my horrible unfinished works for criticism, I hope they never find this one.

Anyway, I resolved to simply enjoy my weekend making my websites prettier and baking carrot cakes. Incidentally, you should check out my author site—after fixing up this one I felt like updating the "real" one as well. Also incidentally, why are even the cake recipes from Cooking Light magazine over-saturated with sugar? I halved the amount called for and it's still sweeter than I'd normal Americans wake up each day and just start eating spoonfuls of the stuff or something?

So what do you think happened when I sat down at my computer to goof off today? Well, I'm not entirely sure, but I do know that I "woke up" some eight hours later with half a chapter completed and substantial rewrites of at least two weaker ones. I somehow managed to skive off skiving off.

The same thing happened when, about a year ago, I weaned myself off counting calories, as I'd done steadily for approximately eight years. That was a painful process, changing a deeply ingrained mental habit. But it was like uninstalling a bulky, memory-hogging program from a computer—I had no idea my dieting obsession was sapping so much processing power. It's amazing how well your brain runs when it's not cluttered with worries over how much of your lifespan was shaved off by the cheese on your turkey sub. I was all ready to stuff myself with potato chips and embrace my new zaftig shape. Instead, I dropped the 5-10 grad school pounds and an extra inch off my waist.

All I can figure is that I'm inherently contrary, and everything that I set my mind to do I will subconsciously subvert. Obviously, in order to achieve peak productivity, I'll have to practice backwards psychology on myself. From now on, I have decided to give up writing. Not only that...I'm not allowed to write. Writing is absolutely, positively forbidden. So are jogging and vegetables.

And now, since I'm fresh out of limericks at the moment, a simple rhyme:

I wish my that my books were so famous
That millions of copies would sell.
And then, were I very lucky,
Some people might read them as well.


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