Things I have come to understand about myself.

1. I have the tendency to over-complicate things.
2. I procrastinate. A lot.
3. I am a perfectionist, but only with regard to things that have little or no value to anyone. I will become absorbed in tasks like rearranging files on my hard drive. Or establishing the perfect naming conventions in a script with three functions.

I believe that perfectionism develops as a way to avoid making progress while still sort of feeling like you are doing something meaningful. It alleviates the nagging feeling that occurs when you know there are matters to which you should attend. It lets you focus on something with which you are already familiar, which can sometimes be more palatable that doing something entirely new. It lets you stay in your comfort zone, expend little effort and all the while you get to feel a certain superiority about your devotion1.

I put off starting tasks and projects that do not demand immediate attention because I make it a giant ordeal in my head. Because it is now a giant ordeal, it probably has some important implications or consequences or something, and will likely have who can even guess what impact of unfathomable magnitude on situations I have yet to even conceive of.

Certainly, for something so important, I wouldn’t want to run the risk of starting incorrectly. Need to consider all the factors. Do some research. Come at this thing from all angles. Clean my desk. And now it’s like mid afternoon, so I should probably get some lunch. And run to the store – and a couple other errands while I’m out. Get all this low-hanging fruit out of the way so my mind will be clear to tackle this really important thing I have to do.

I actually get kind of a lot of work done while trying to avoid doing any particular given task. I feel like I ought to be able to exploit this somehow to improve my life.

Once I manage to get started on something2, I rarely encounter the sort of difficulties that I had envisioned during the triage stage. It’s like, if I could just initiate a task without picturing every potential difficulty, I would have no issue. I should allow myself the comfort of believing that if I just nudge myself forward a little, my brain will go with it and keep things rolling.

But I don’t really have that kind of trust established with my brain. It has totally fucked me over in the past when we had to decide whether to play Age of Mythology3 for three hours or get started on the philosophy paper due in eight hours.

1See also: prayer.
2I will work diligently until it nears completion, then fuss with minor details to avoid finishing and starting over with something completely new. One method I use to this end is starting a new project.
3In fairness, I did lay low the enemies of Ra that day.

Long post is long.

Behold, the site of my formative years:


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This is my mom’s house, which, due to her mental condition, I have been looking after for a number of years as part of my role as her guardian. In this case, looking after basically means getting someone to mow the lawn every now and then, ensuring taxes are paid on time and making sure her neighbors keep their redneck detritus from trickling over onto her property. You have not lived until you have argued with a drunk stroke victim about moving a boat hitch off your lawn. The man spoke with a particular dialect that I probably would not have understood even if he’d had the benefit of teeth and full facial muscular control. I know I didn’t get the full meaning of what he was saying, but it involved squatter’s rights and how there hadn’t been anyone living in that house for a while. He also offered to put new siding on the house for a nominal fee.

I’ve wanted to rent the house out for a while now, but it wasn’t entirely livable – and my mom did not have the funds to hire people to make all the necessary repairs. The house being in another state also complicated the matter. So my smom and sister discussed the issue last time I was home, and we decided that Amber and her boyfriend would handle all the repairs with my mom footing the bill for the raw materials. In return, they would get to live there for a while rent free while fixing the place up.

I wanted to put the before and after pictures up at the same time, but my sister has turned a deaf ear to my pleas for pictures. Pictures which are apparently sitting on her computer, and need only the hand of a sentient user to post them somewhere.

Anyway.

Here are some of the before pictures:
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Clownfear

It is a little known fact about me that I suffer from a condition known as “Clownfear”. I can’t say for certain when it developed, but if I had to guess I’d say it resulted from unexpected game of peek-a-boo inflicted on me by a particularly overzealous painted merry andrew. As if the atmosphere of a circus isn’t terrifying enough to a four year old. No, let’s send forth a troop of men in disproportionate clothing with macabre smiles frozen in place on their pallid faces. Honest to god, whenever I see a practicioner of the arts of buffoonery, all I can think about is a grinning face looming over me as the ax falls down again and again . . .

Friends and family are, of course, very supportive in helping me deal with my issues. My boyfriend’s father sent me this image in order to help me deal with my irrational fear:


Clown

Thanks a lot doc. I just want you to know that I will be forwarding along prompt payment to compensate you for your outstanding therapeutic techniques. However, the only method of payment I have available to me at present is a bag of dog shit on the front seat of your car.