don't be so hard on yourself

Do you know Found Magazine? It's a wonderful compendium of funny, tragic, and revealing things that have just been FOUND. No explanation.

This one was found many years ago. The title of the piece is "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself," which doesn't really make sense until you read the whole thing.

Don't Be So Hard On Yourself
I tend to use phrasing like that on notes to myself.

I'm totally (f)unemployed now. I didn't even have any auditions this week, YIKES, although I did attend a salon to hobnob and talk up my latest project, finish a first draft of that project, have a few meetings about the next few months, get offered a somewhat lucrative acting job, and I'm teaching a class tonight. I guess it isn't a total wash. But believe me, there are WIDE SWATHS OF UNOCCUPIED TIME.

This spells danger.

If I make lists and buckle down, I can be very productive. If not... I snack and nap. And go to thrift stores and convince myself I've just gotten, like, some reallly INCREDIBLE bargains. And, I get depressed. I cry and can't move. I stay in bed.

But I can AVOID this if I just stay busy.

Here's a post from blogger Felicia Day, who I guess is somewhat famous, via my cousin Larissa's blog. About this question of initiative.
It takes a very brave person to express themselves creatively. I know the paralyzing fear of being bad very well; it’s one of my greatest weaknesses. ... So I did nothing. And I loathed myself for my weakness.

Finally I had a strange realization that time passes whether you’re doing something with it or not. ... So, I got off my butt! It wasn’t easy and I had a lot of lapses (I still do) but the experience of being ruthless with myself was an amazing lesson to learn.
What really sticks with me is the experience of being ruthless with myself.

I frequently yell at myself like a high school football coach.
Then I use the same tone of voice to congratulate myself when I actually did the good thing.
Yadidit. Ya ran three miles, Campbell. Not too fucking shabby. Maybe one of these days your legs will actually be sexy after all. I'm proud of you. Now get in there and email your aunt back! She loves you! Type some small talk, it'll mean a lot to her, you selfish narcissist!
How do you yell at yourself? Do you? Are you gentler?

And, gross, now that I went to her website I'm already really jealous of this Felicia Day character, who is evidently a successful LA actress and smart writer and successful blogger. And to make it worse, she makes this great point at the end of her post that you have to be
willing to suck and start DOING stuff.
I have to go email my aunt back now.


Corrbette said...

I yell at myself like I'm taunting myself on a playground. Usually while eating a cookie. "Really? Do you honestly think THAT is going to get rid of your spare tire? And what have you done to deserve this cookie? Nothing. Way to go." I'm meaner to me than anyone else could be. I gotta cut that out. (stops mental berating of self about mentally berating self before it gets out of control)

DinaBear said...

I need to be BETTER at yelling at myself. I'm more like, "Dina, you were supposed to work on writing that thing tonight. And you didn't do it. Well...(sigh). Just, you know...tomorrow. (Sigh)."

I need to be more of a merciless mother effer with myself.

akbw said...

I like this entry, Lacy. A reminder to be brave.

A while back I decided to make work that was pleasing to me, in hopes that other people would also find it pleasing. There's been a lot of having to gird myself against the resulting criticism of people who it is not pleasing to, but at the end of the day, I know I'm at least putting it out there, which I think would be a worse feeling--having the ideas but no balls to do something about them.

And little by little, there are people who get it, and to be gotten, by even a few people, has been a joy second only to having people whom I love and love me.

(P.S. I am writing this comment while looking at mountains.)