How to Survive Your Own Overwhelming Laziness

I took a Tuesday off, thinking, I can miss one post per month without having to say anything. Then, of course, I got hit by a nasty stomach bug that wiped me out for a week and missed another post. I couldn’t bear to eat anything with more calories than a shot of NyQuil. I did not find my diet of MLP and liquid flu medicine productive of anything more than fevered tosses and turns, let alone an entertaining essay to publish on the internet.

Apparently my cure to feeling like a lump for losing a week to illness is to lump around some more for an entire weekend. I didn’t go out. I just watched an entire season of a medical drama with compelling characters, solid plot, and surprisingly good cinematography.

I have a living cat blanket; I couldn't possibly move

I have a living cat blanket; I couldn’t possibly move

I’m not the kind of person who can ever feel good about wasting a day. Yet I do waste days. Endlessly. Perhaps if I berate myself, the guilt will compel me to quit reading Dear Prudence articles on my smartphone and sit in front of a Google Doc. Sami, sami — this is terrible. You just spent 1 hour and 45 minutes reading advice columns. All you need to do is crank out 750 words today to feel good about yourself. On a good day, you can do this in 26 minutes. So how can you justify 1 hour and 45 minutes reading DP? You’re not even going to retain any of that information! Not even well enough to retell a single story of a desperate and advice-needing life at one of your parties… Not even well enough to mention something you read as a useful anecdote. Sami. Why do you suck so, so, so much?

Of course, then I feel so very, very terrible about myself that there’s no way I can do anything at all. I must make myself feel better with an episode of Nurse Jackie.

Yes, I can often survive my own laziness with some self care and positive thinking.

  • Remember that one week you were, like, really fucking productive? You can do it anytime. It’s just not this week. This week, you’re watching Nurse Jackie.
  • Nobody is paying that close of attention to you. Just watch another episode of Nurse Jackie, it’s fine
  • Existentialism. Fatalism. Everyone dies. There is no afterlife. When you’re in the ground, you aren’t going to regret that you wasted most of a weekend watching Netflix, because you wont be able to feel anything, just like you won’t be able to feel the worms eating your flesh. So just watch another episode of Nurse Jackie, it’s fine.
  • You just got out of a breakup, man. Losing someone you were with for 5 years is hard. You should go easy on yourself and just watch another episode of Nurse Jackie.
  • Just one more episode, then you’ll go for an inspirational walk. I mean but, these episodes are only 26 minutes long. Who’s counting? Two episodes.
  • Today is a cheat day. Tomorrow will be better. All the episodes now, all the productivity later.
  • Once you finish the whole thing, then it can’t tempt you any more. This is a good plan.

If I ever figure out how to defeat my laziness and be the Sami that can write 66 thousand words in 8 months (she exists…in 2014) then I will let you know. In the meantime, I’m going to reward myself for getting my blog post done before 2pm. Nurse Jackie!

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Meta Post: This will be the year I teach you to survive

I’m back.

During my month off, I considered restricting or shutting this site down. Movement at my day job made me wonder how long I could maintain somewhat of a personality schism — would my online reputation threaten my professionalism? I opened this website using my real name with the intention of not letting anonymity make me a lazy writer. Ultimately, I stand by my instincts that if being myself publicly closes doors, then I want those doors closed. My privilege of a safety network and specific upbringing entreats me to be myself, and I refuse to only make safe choices.

I have also chosen to put my real name on my writing. I have to hope this choice will make sense when I reflect back on my life… — Feb. 20, 2014

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New interest on an old post, Why is San Diego so Boring, gives me a mission statement for 2016; this is the year I pass on my survival lessons. I vaguely understood my calling to entertain bored friends, locals, and visitors of San Diego. Now, I’d like to put my “thoughtful” hat on again and push this blog’s tone in that direction. That is to say, I’ve recovered from some rough life changes and have the emotional energy to do more than vaguely insult my friends on the internet for laughs!

In 2016, I resolve to:

  • Examine my core tenets and how they are related to “surviving” in “San Diego”
  • Communicate these strategies in entertaining, or at least interesting, blog posts
  • Entwine this year’s posts into a larger, cohesive narrative
  • Find and listen to my audience

Here are some of my plans I might use to do this:

  • Answer questions from the community a la an advice column — which has the added benefit of making SD Survival Guide sustainable long term
  • Involve myself more in local projects
  • Be more conscious in my explorations of the city and subculture so that I can share them here
  • Probe the meaning of “story”
  • Create event series until I find something that sticks
  • Develop a themed posting structure, such as Week 1: “How to survive _____” Week 2: “A question from San Diego” Week 3: “From my list of party ideas…” Week 4: “So, this happened to me (in SD)” — or at least create recurring categories!

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I’m excited to renew this project (and stop being a lazy panda). I don’t know if that means I’ll be posting every week again, or if it still makes sense to do every other. I may even choose a different day (stats suggest Saturday @ 7pm). Regardless, I welcome your input via my “ask” box, email, facebook, text, inconvenient phone call, handwritten note anonymously stuffed in my couch during one of my parties…etc…

Thank you, my dear reader, for your priceless attention.

–sami

But the good news is I have 3 fewer teeth

I forgot today (er.. 2+ hours ago) was blog day. Perhaps it’s because surgery stole my weekend (==FOMO). I had my wisdom teeth removed – all three of them (I was missing one.. the doctor really didn’t want to talk about it.. she probably was embarrassed that science can’t explain that I am actually an alien and my fourth wisdom tooth is in fact my detachable spaceship).

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I’m seriously considering taking all of December off and resuming posting in January. My heart just isn’t in it, and I’d prefer to give you better content than forced obligation posts at the moment (historically, forced obligation posts seem to keep ya’ll interested.. But I still feel like I ate nothing but ice cream all day when I write them (these past few days have taught me that ice cream is a seriously overrated food)). If this breaks your heart, comment / email / use compliments to guilt trip me. I’m really hoping, however, you all are happy to just archive binge for a month…

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(whereas I just spent three days binging on pudding* because the inside of my mouth is a nightmare)

Thank you for understanding I am a real human and not a content robot and I’m really just winging it, all the time. ❤

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*well; pudding, the aforementioned ice cream, soup, and like a lot of sour cream. A lot.

PS I have discovered a new product and I estimate I have eaten 8oz of sour cream in just three days because of it.

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Is NaNoWriMo Hard?

The answer is yes. Unbelievably, soul-crushingly hard.

I call this the "Write By Whatever Means..." strategy

I call this the “Write By Whatever Means…” strategy

Last year, I wrote my first complete book in about 10 months. A year later, I am certain the book needs extensive revision and does not make sense to publish now (my first book: a memoir? At age 25? Sami, you delusional, egotistical fool!). All the same, just 10 days ago, I still believed in my incredible abilities to write quickly and make it to the finish line.

That has hilariously all changed, due to the “borderline unsustainable”* schedule required to win National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. 1,667 words a day x 30 days = 50,000 words = screw my social life. I can write 750 words in 25 minutes! I reassured myself. Only if these 750 words are a stream-of-conscious diary entry! I strategically ignored myself.

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Today I am supposed to write 2,905 words. Due to my poor discipline, I am 1,238 words behind my schedule. Therefore, I am procrastinating with this blog post. Even my blog post is difficult, because 10 days of NaNo has changed me.

My inner editor and my inner drafter used to have a fairly loving, symbiotic relationship. Drafter would drag her feet just enough (a.k.a. constantly) to inspire Editor to soften her voice and offer timely, helpful feedback, and the occasional cheerleading. Now, Drafter is forced by the whip of word-count demands to write alone, desperately, sometimes with spelling errors (!). Editor does not take kindly to being silenced, so she lives in the margins of the Google Doc I use to write, leaving behind increasingly abusive comments and rows of yellow highlight.

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Inner Editor would like to point out the timestamps are completely inaccurate and Google Docs should be ashamed of itself.

Before NaNoWriMo, I liked my first “drafts” of scenes enough to often include them nearly verbatim in the final script. Now I hate them. I hate them all, I’m a terrible writer, and I should give up forever. Except…

Into week two, I feel myself approaching a membrane in my consciousness. Where, before, I saw the written word a narrow bridge for the tongueless voices of my thoughts to reach the ears of others, I now see a waterfall to burst a dam. Perhaps I will now, finally, immediately think in words (odd writer that I am, my natural state is to think in pictures and vague emotions, and the words only come after warming and thinning like syrup over flame). Perhaps I will short-circuit the connection between mind and keyboard.

A diorama I made for another writing project

Or, at least, I’ll train myself to draft like rabbits breeding and, at the end, my trigger-happy editor will have a maniacal slaughter.


*words of Kelly Lagor

How to Get Lost

I missed my blog post last week.

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I know what I really need to do is write those heartfelt things, those real things, the kind of writing that’s worth sharing, and not some bogus fluff entertainment. Although sometimes it’s time for that bogus fluff entertainment just to remind you that I’m still here. Every week, I’m still here.

But I haven’t been here. And I don’t know if I will be here.

This will come in starts and stops.

I think I’m losing myself? Maybe? I think I haven’t figured out yet if losing myself is something I do. You know, those sorts of things you maybe kind of do on purpose because your brain is so huge and it does things to organize itself, to maintain itself and grow itself. It takes you awhile to figure out if getting lost is just part of your process, or it’s some sort of crisis, or if it’s a one-time transition.

I’m not really sure if I’m changing, or just the world around me. Oh, I call it “the world,” but it’s really only my world. I look up and the people surrounding me are different people.

Stop. Start again.

There’s this image, this vignette, this set of ideas and sometimes the same words that I return to, and it is… Three years ago on a moonlight night under the oak trees of Pauma Valley, I landed, not with the sense of arriving somewhere new, but of coming home. You could say I found myself. I still have my soaring highs and my dipping lows but I feel chained to this precipice, this night of landing, that gives me this vista. I sit on the rock above the city (my city of self) and look out at purple twilight.

So, maybe, right now, I’m down in the brambles again, getting scratched, pretending to lose myself. Yet I can follow the secure anchor to my lookout, I can tug the line, I can know its there.

Stop.

I’m blurring over the part where sometimes I am so scared.

Start.

Maybe getting older is knowing how to get lost. After a quarter century, I know the mind that waits at home for me. So, I do something completely different. Despite my voracity for change, I falter in it, every time. This faltering is a risk I take, to learn something new — to learn if I am capable of this. I think I am.

My dear, sweet readers… I need to make a little hole. A space for growth. And that means sometimes I won’t be here.

Write to me, this time.

—-
New posting schedule: Every other week, with occasional answered questions or other filler in between.

P.S. I’m going pink for one week because I #StandwithPP

Eye Exam

Hello. I am currently dictating my blog post to my parrot.* He is typing with his talons. I hope he is doing a good job. He probably is – he is basically human but very little and also green. His name is Birdbird.

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I thought my eye sensitivity would diminish at some point tonight (and I could more quickly write this post), but it has not. It turns out my eyes are dumb and one of them decided to be farsighted and the other decided to be nearsighted. So we had to put the extra dilating drops in them to figure out exactly how much. It’s funny — the doctors make you bleary blind and then you can’t even see the price stickers on the frames they try to sell you and then they give you film sunglasses in an envelope and say it’s perfectly safe to drive home.

The doctor put up the usual test — a chart on the far wall. I covered my left eye. I read all but the last row. I covered my right eye. Startled, I read the entire chart.  “I thought this was my bad eye.” Through a series of tests — flipping lenses, cards of letters, those stinging drops — I learned something about myself I had never known. My left eye is farsighted, and amblyopic.

Last night I sat in the hot tub in my parents’ backyard. They were out of town. I glimpsed my nude body below me — something I don’t see often. I am not familiar with my topography. I think we all find our own bodies strange to some degree. Yet, I am entirely comfortable in my strangeness. For 7 years of my life, I believed this body wasn’t mine, and so, I am used to my body feeling alien.

“This is why I tell parents to take their kids for eye exams,” my doctor said. “If we had caught this when you were 10 or 11, you could have had a chance.” Point blank, she told me, “You will never have normal vision in your left eye. It is what it is.” This eye had always been that way, the other compensated, and now that the dominant one is starting to change, I am noticing the discrepancy more and more. Luckily, for whatever reason, my brain continued to use partial information from this amblyopic, or lazy eye, and its vision is fairly ok. Just a little farsighted.

Younger, disinvested in my borrowed host body, I ignored inconsistencies. I took the eye tests and passed them robotically. I didn’t bother to explain that I often closed my “bad” eye so that I could see better. I didn’t mention my surprise at doing well for these simple readings of letters on flash cards. I was an alien, someday I would go home, and these things mattered little.

Now I’m here. I’m very much human. It might be nice to have better vision, yes? It might be comforting to recognize myself more often in the mirror. Oh, but the losses are small, in my case. I am glad to be learning my body like it is new. And glad to not have learned to suffer at its limitations, to assume ownership of flaws. So, now I’ll take these vision quirks, and the sense of wonder at still being able to find something new about my physical self, even at age 25. When my hair starts turning gray, I imagine I will feel the same.

It is what it is. At least now, I know.


*I love my bird. I got him when I was 4. For political reasons I have to say I don’t think it’s humane to own a pet parrot or exotic bird. They are wild animals and need to be able to fly, have friends all day, and eat a variety of foods. There are other pets more suited to domestic life. That said, he was born in captivity and has never been able to fly due to deformity. I think the life I give him is ok but could be better. Some parrots also have very little chance of being reconditioned to the wild and I support rescuing them. Please choose birds that could use a second or third or fourth home!

10 Things to Remember if You Don’t Want Me to Unfairly Compare You to Every Failed Relationship I’ve Ever Had

You may have seen some of the countless Lifehack articles coaching you on how to love people from the highly creative to the anxiety riddled (I’m sorry, I should say the more-neutral “those suffering with anxiety,” but, since I’m in that camp, I like to poke fun), and their knock-offs around the web. Ostensibly, Lifehack devised this listicle formula so that lonely and/or frustrated partners could improve their relationships (or just commiserate) by reading lists of X things to remember if you love someone with fuckin’ problems.

Yet I did not find these articles because I googled “My girlfriend is an introvert, halp!” I found them because people on facebook shared the links on their walls with the effective sentiment: “DUDE YES this is how you must love me and my special snowflake complex!!!” Like some sort of dating-pool memo.

I mean, I’m guilty more than anyone of wishing I could write an instruction manual on how to be my girlfriend. I actually have a small notebook in my night stand titled “A primer” which includes diagrams. I haven’t shown it to anyone for purposes of instruction, yet. Emphasis on yet.

Still, in honor of the self-serving bent of these articles, with much snark, I present:

15 Things to Remember if You Don’t Want Me to Unfairly Compare You to Every Failed Relationship I’ve Ever Had

  1. First of all, let me begin by asking you to remember that my flaws actually make me totally awesome. Or at least that’s what I think, because I’m obsessed with myself.victim-olympics-trophy-my-flaws-make-me-awesome
  2. My ex didn’t like how selfish I was. You will be my next ex if you also believe I need to change this about myself.
  3. Paradoxically, I’m going to ask you to “remember” that I do not have a really obvious and/or annoying bad habit that I do, in fact, have. Remember, I make the rules.
  4. I dated someone for 5 weeks who I found really boring, but kept trying because eye candy / I’m lonely / I needed the sex. Instead of examining how I should better select partners who actually are a good match for me, I will blame you if I am the slightest bit bored. Just FYI.
  5. Compromise is really important to me, just so long as you are the one doing all of the compromising.
  6. I will question you relentlessly for choosing to stay with me, because I have the self esteem of a cat forced into a clown hat. The moment you dump me, I will claim I was too good for you.self-esteem-of-a-cat-forced-clown-hat
  7. My “unique condition” happens to make me a really happy, well-balanced person. No I do not fall asleep with the dirty spoon from eating ice cream stuck in my hair, my laptop beside me on the bed with 20 open tabs evidence of my attempts at total internet oblivion so that I can avoid confronting who I have let myself become.
  8. I have strong beliefs about how my condition affects my physical health even though I have done little research besides a couple shallow internet searches and talking loudly about the possibilities with my bar friends.
  9. I swear to god I am datable.
  10. My ex pushed me to get outside of my comfort zone, which while I fundamentally understand I need from a partner, is something that will make me violently resent you for even trying to do.
  11. I need you to read this cheat sheet because I am desirably complex, not immature and needy. Read the statistics, duh.read-the-statistics-duh
  12. You will never understand me. Just like my ex never did. Which is why we broke up (not because I hooked up with that bartender on my summer vacation).
  13. If it seems like I’m not listening to you, it’s not my fault. I’m just dealing with the ramifications of my unique condition
  14. If it seems like I’m not communicating clearly, you are wrong. You are just being a terrible listener. Just try harder. God.
  15. Please be my mom.