Thursday, April 29, 2010

how to ruin your morning

Step one: Waste time on Facebook, clicking through photos of acquaintances from college, forgotten friends from high school. Notice someone looks like they are having a good time, living a fashionable life in a hip city with a cool job. Google this person and hope they don't check their stats because seriously, who else lives in Nacogdoches? See that their life looks pretty awesome. Notice they have the job you want. Read about how they published a book of photography. Gaze in envy at their roof top herb garden and Saturday night gallery openings.

Step two: Berate yourself for not having your dream job, for not even really trying to get your dream job. Think about how you don't take risks, how you are buried in debt and are thus not free to take risks. Curse the fact that you still have not written a book, have only one published story to your name, and you still don't have a goddamn bed frame. Worry that you will never accomplish anything BIG or IMPORTANT for as long as you live.

Step three: Take a series of deep breaths and calm yourself down. Remind yourself that you have accomplished a lot. So what if you live in East Texas and not Park Slope. So what if you spend your weekends at the Farmers' Market and not a vegan coffee shop, sipping on soy lattes and dining on tofu scramble. This may not be the life you envisioned, but isn't it cool and different and weird in it's own way? Isn't it?

Step four: Click on that person's website a second time (really hoping they don't check their stats, because seriously - Nacogdoches? Twice?) and examine their resume. Think about how their job might not be as perfect as you dream, but consider ways you might change your own circumstances. Decide that you are not a failure, but a work in progress. Tell yourself that you are so young, and have so much time to accomplish things, but remind yourself that you should probably start now. One more series of deep breaths. Close the windows. Open a blank document.

Step five: Begin, again.


  1. oh i am with you on this. so often my blind wandering on the internet leads to self loathing. in result i've tried to curb my web addiction these past few months. (as i leave a comment at 9:20am on a weekday...) people generally only project their best online. dirty secrets and closet skeletons are omitted, but we all have them. i see you thru your blog as a goal getting, super athletic, good food lovin' girl who WILL publish one day. And hey, at least it's already summer in E TX, cause it was 45' here in NYC yesterday, blerg. :)

  2. Thanks, ki.p! It's been an emotionally draining week for all kinds of stupid reasons. Your comment has just made it a little bit better! :)

  3. I'm hoping you pull yourself out of your funk quickly. I could list all of your accomplishments but I won't, because there would be too many to note.

    I also agree with kip in that this past acquaintance/friend is only showing the shiniest part of themselves on the internet. I guarantee there are many things about you that colors the grass greener to others.


  4. Aw, y'all make me feel silly for complaining. This is a good thing!

  5. Just keep telling yourself it could be worse. I went through the same funk last week when I looked around and thought my house shouldn't be falling down around me at 40. Well at least I have house.

    You do have so much ahead of you. Don't waste time beating yourself most definitely don't deserve it.

  6. This will probably sound like hokey self-help bullshit. Oh well.

    One thing that helped me immensely was to create two columns on a sheet of paper. For the heading on the left column I wrote "Mythological Bryan." For the heading on the right I wrote "Real Bryan." In the left hand column I wrote things like: "Devastatingly handsome. Genius. Famous author. World shaping philosopher," etc. On the right column I put only the things that I can confirm are true: "Has gorgeous wife. Smarter than average. Loves to think through things, write those things down, and share them with people he cares about." I wrote things in a gutter between the two columns: Anger, frustration, depression, bad habits, etc. It helped to see those things in the gutter as symptoms of the tension between the Real Bryan and the Mythological Bryan.

    Finally, I made a list of things that I must accomplish before feeling content on my deathbed. That list was surprisingly attainable! It gave me a deep sense of peace and took a lot of the pressure off.

    I apologize for my unsolicited, probably cliche and obvious advice. Maybe I should add "self-deprecating" to the gutter list?

  7. Um, I think that is the best idea ever. Seriously. Lists are the way to go, and I have never really imagined what Mythological Chrissy would be like. I also think you're right - most of my dreams are definitely attainable. They just take time and hard work, and I am impatient. What a great lesson! Thank you, B!

  8. Has Park Slope shiny person run a marathon or perfected lasagna roll-ups? Um, I doubt it. You don't have to have a vegan coffee shop making tofu scramble for you because you are making it happen every day! Real Chrissy kicks pretty much everyone's Mythological selves right in the hiney. I am not just giving you a pep talk! You constantly inspire the rest of us mere mortals to do more and be more. Also, I have to laugh at the roof top herb garden. In Nacogdoches, land is for the taking. You don't have to grow herbs on your roof; you can grow them in the beautiful earth! :)

  9. You know, I have to say that I love the comment Mary made about not needing a roof garden :) You have land everywhere! Throw out some wildflower seeds as you drive down Hwy. 59. Just for kicks.

    You have inspired me to get my butt out the door and run again....

    I was in a funk this morning and what happened? I looked up and all three cats were staring at tme. Waiting for love. That will snap you out of any funk. Love on the doggie of yours :)

    Plus, is it wrong to not have a goddam bedframe :P (I worry about this one too....)

  10. Now I'm just plain blushing. You guys rock.

  11. This is so true, I need to stop doing the #1,2,3,4! At least we aren't alone in this and came make plans to change :)