English: the lazy barnstar. created to award m...

My mother used to tell me all the time how lazy I was. It rated right up there with selfish and stealing as an unforgivable sin. I hated it when she called me lazy. There are so many implications in that word, all of them negative, and none of them that I wanted to apply to me.

But now that I’m older, I admit it. I suffer from extreme bouts of laziness at times.

There are some days when I’m absolutely unstoppable. I start early and check off my To Do list in short order, no matter how difficult. I get everything done before noon and then celebrate with reruns and Internet porn all afternoon.

And then there are days when I am so filled with don’t-want-to that I’m still working at nine o’clock at night because I refuse to leave a To Do list unfinished. The effort that it takes just to get started is more than I want to expend, even though I know that once I get going, I’ll get it all done in no time.

It is laziness, I know. Don’t-want-to laziness that I’ve carried with me all of my life. In my head, all of the projects seem bigger and harder than they really are. I think about how much I don’t feel like doing something and so I put it off until I can’t put it off any more. And then when I finally get around to doing whatever it is, I get it done in less time and usually with less difficulty than I imagined and I kick myself in the ass for not getting it done and over with sooner.

For example, I need to do my taxes. But I don’t feeeeeel like it. I know it’s not difficult. I know it’d probably only take me 20-30 minutes to get it all done. My taxes have never been that complicated. I might as well just get it done and over with.

But, like I said. I don’t feeeeeel like it.

That feeling rules me sometimes. That kind of laziness. I don’t feel like it so I don’t. Sometimes I make myself. Sometimes I don’t have a choice. But, if I have a choice, then I’ll make the choice to put it off.

So, yeah, my mother was right. I am lazy. I’ll probably always be lazy.

But so long as I have those excellent productive days, I’ll keep breaking even.

Even when I don’t feeeeeel like it.

No More Bad Words

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you know that I did several posts focusing on “bad words”, words with negative connotations that had been used by friends and family to describe me.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, then you might have also noticed that I haven’t done a bad words post in quite a while.

I’ve been thinking about why that is and the best thing I can come up with is that I’m burnt out on talking about the negative aspects of myself. I still have them, they still exist, that’s for sure. But I’m bored with pointing them out and discussing them.

Does that sound egotistical? Well, we can just add that to the bad word list, I suppose.

The point of those posts was that I wanted to show people that I knew of my faults, acknowledge them, and tried to work to improve them. I wanted people to know that I was  working on some of my bad points, even if I hadn’t gotten to them all yet. More importantly, I wanted people, particularly friends and family, to know that I heard what they said, knew what they said, and took those bad words to heart.

When I wrote the first notes on the bad words posts, it was quite cathartic. I knew I had bad points and here they were written down in concrete form and I was going to admit them and share them with the world. But as the posts went on, I didn’t get that cathartic feeling anymore.  It all seemed like attention-seeking. Look at me! See what I horrible person I am! At least I can admit it! See how brave I am!

And that’s not what I wanted.

I wanted it to be an honest admission and discussion, something genuine and real. It started to feel like a reality show and I don’t like reality shows. I got bored. I got tired. Under the spotlight of the blog (what little spotlight this blog has), the emotional release of acknowledging those bad words dried up like a popsicle left in the sun. All I’ve got left is a sticky mess and stick not suitable for any sort of craft construction.

So, I’ve declared a moratorium on bad words. Oh, they still exist and they still apply to me. People are still saying them, to my face and behind my back. I’m still working on changing them to good words.

But, I’m just not saying them right now.

Bad Words: Uncaring, Unsympathetic

We’re not getting into the words that make people squirm. The harsher words; the ones that people want to gloss over and ignore. But remember what I said when I started this: people who love and care about me have called me these words.

I’ve gotten a tought rap with these two words, uncaring and unsympathetic. I’m a tough girl. I keep the touchy-feely emotions to myself. Emotions are messy and complicate problems and bung up solutions. I prefer to stay logical and either vent the emotions before or after I figure out what needs to be done. Sometimes the venting comes while I’m doing it, but it’s all very efficient.

I’m very efficient. Friends and family agree; they come to me for help because of my objectivity.

But! The other bad words have a tendency to taint the good words. Being logical and efficient and tough is fine unless you’re also selfish and unthinking and unaware. Then it’s not so great. It’s not viewed quite as kindly.

I admit to being uncaring and unsympathetic at times. Probably more often than I should be, more often than is socially acceptible.

Uncaring goes back to being selfish. If it’s not about me, I don’t care.

I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who choose to be victims who whine about their situations without a move to fix them, who create their own messes and sit in teh middle of them and cry. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who refuse to take responsibility for their own actions. There are a lot of people around like that. I’m kind of outnumbered in that respect.

I actually used to be quite sympathetic. When I was kid, I was sympathetic to the point of sensitive and sensitive to the point of tears. That sort of thing isn’t tolerated well in my family. We don’t do sensitive because sensitive is seen as weak and weak is bad. Weak doesn’t get you through life, it doesn’t get you through the sometimes cutting exchanges with my family, and it doesn’t get you any special treatment.

So, over time, I acquired a thicker skin and maybe it’s a little too thick in places. I might have gone a little too far to the other side. Got a little too tough.

I’ve been working on it. Trying to be a little more sympathetic to those that really deserve it. It’s not easy, but I’m making a few small strides in the right direction.

At least I think it’s the right direction. I won’t know until I get there, I suppose.

Bad Words: Selfish, Unaware, Unthinking

Selfish, unaware, unthinking.

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty.

I am a selfish person. I admit it straight up. My parents railed against any sort of selfishness from the time I was little. They told me to share, told me to think of others, put the needs of others before my own. It was never to be about me and always to be about someone else. Other people should be more important.

Well, I got news for you: those lessons didn’t stick.

That’s not to say that I don’t share or I that I don’t help people in need. I do my bits and pieces here and there and I’ve been told I’ve been a decent help to friends and family when they need it. I share what I have when I can when it’s appropriate.

But I am still the center of my own universe.

I admit it. I am as egocentric as they come. I’m selfish with my feelings and my attention and my interests. If it’s not about me, if it doesn’t pertain to me, if I am not involved in some way, you’d better believe there’s a good chance that I don’t care about it much. More than once I’ve done things or gone places or said words that I didn’t really want to do, go, or say just because I know it’s more socially acceptible to do so.

Many times, though, I don’t because I don’t want to. I put what I want ahead of what other people want.

I am most selfish with power. I will tell you right here and now that I may be a good leader, may handle responsibility well, but you do not want to give me any authority over other people. I turn into a tyrant. I don’t mean to, but it happens. I’m selfish, so it’s all about me. If it’s all about me, then it’s all about my way and my way is the only way. And because I don’t give myself a whole lot of slack when it comes to getting the job done, nobody else gets any either. Their performance reflects on me and I don’t want to look bad. All about me.

Since it’s all about me it leads me to be unaware of the thoughts, feelings, and needs of other people. I’m focused so much on myself that those things have a tendency to slip by me undetected (to be fair, I think  I earlier established that even if I am paying attention, I don’t always pick up on certain things). It’s not necessarily an intentional act of neglect; I’m not purposefully ignoring people. I’m just not paying particularly close attention to them because they are not me and what’s going on with them doesn’t pertain to me.

Because of all of this, I come off as unthinking. I already have the tact problem; the selfishness just compounds it. These two words combine with being unaware to make me appear so inconsiderate that the word doesn’t do it justice. I’m unthinking. I don’t bother to consider how my actions and words will affect other people. I’m that selfish.

Again, I’m not saying this out of pride. I’m saying it out of truth. I know I’m this way. I know I do these things. I’m not proud of them, but they exist. I’m not trying to excuse them, just acknowledge them.

The selfish things has given me a bit of a complex. Because it was drilled into me so hard as a kid not to be selfish, when I recognize my selfish behavior, it causes major guilt.

I don’t want to be selfish. I try not to be selfish. But I am and it still happens. As such, I don’t ever feel like I’ve earned any “me” time because I feel like I haven’t given enough time to other people, which has a tendency to make me more selfish because I haven’t gotten any “me” time. It’s a vicious cycle that I’m working very hard to break and not having a whole lot of success doing it.

And until I get my head out of my own ass, I’m not going to have much success at becoming more aware either.

The one thing I can say that I have improved is being a tyrant. I still have my moments, but I’m the first person to shun leadership and will only take it grudgingly. And then, I’m very, very careful about how I dictate and delegate.

The rest of my selfishness, just like the rest of me, continues to be a work in progress.

Bad Words: Tactless, Insensitive

Tactless and insensitive. We’re starting to get into those uncomfortable words. The words that are a little harsher and not so easily dismissed. The words are harder to relate to because we don’t want to relate to them. These aren’t words that we want to admit to.

I admit that I can be tactless and insensitive. Not intentionally (all the time), not that I want to be, but I am.

I truly believe that my tactless tendencies are genetic. I was born with them. That filter in your brain that prevents you from saying things you shouldn’t? Yeah, I don’t have that. Lots of times, it’s out of my mouth before I’m done thinking it.

No big deal, right? That happens to all of us at times. We realize as soon as it comes out of our mouths that we said it instead of just thought it and we shouldn’t have said it. We go red-faced and scramble to make up for it. That happens to me, sure. But most of the time when it happens to me, it’s only when I get in trouble for what I’ve said that I realize that I said it and what I said shouldn’t have been said. I have a kind of delayed reaction to my faux pas that lands my butt in hot water.

On the occasions that I do complete the thought in my head before it escapes my lips, I then have to make the split-second judgment of whether or not I should say it. The call I make is not always a good one. I’ve said a lot of things that I shouldn’t have because to me, I don’t see them as bad.

I’m a terrible judge of these things. I grew up with very blunt parents. In fact, bluntness is as common in my mom’s family as pointy noses, which is to say prevelant and dominant. It doesn’t occur to me to sugar coat things or beat around the bush. It comes out of my mouth pretty much the way I think it without much softening or refining. I don’t necessarily think that it’s going to hurt feelings.

So I’m considered tactless and it’s that trait that contributes to me being insensitive. Whether I think about it or not, much of the stuff that comes out of my mouth is blunt and people not conditioned to that bluntness get offended. It’s not that I intend to offend them. I can’t control their reactions. I try to gauge my words by whether or not I’d be offended, but since I came from blunt parents, not a lot offends me. I can take some real brutal honesty.

Other people were brought up with a little more tact and sensitivity, so it doesn’t fly. They expect a little courtesy. They expect a little discretion. They expect me to keep my mouth shut if I don’t have anything nice to say, and if I have to say it, then I should say it as sweetly as possible.

These people expect too much.

It’s not that I want to be a tactless, insensitive bitch. I don’t set out to stomp all over people’s feelings. There have been many instances in which I was actually trying not to upset someone. But with that tact barometer off, it’s a struggle.

I try to be more mindful of what I say. I try to think about my words, measure them carefully, try to sweeten them up when I need to. And sometimes I succeed. I wouldn’t say it’s a losing battle with these two bad words.

However, it’s the instances in which I succeed that make my failures look so much worse. People know I’m capable of being tactful, so when I don’t come through with it at a critical moment, it’s that much more shocking and the fallout ends up being that much bigger.

Dare I say that I’ve gotten use to the backlash. Inevitably, at least once a week, I’m going to upset someone. Something I say is going to be taken badly by someone, no matter how I meant it or if I meant to say it. And I deal with the consequences.

And I cherish the few moments when I get it right.

Bad Words: Difficult, Frustrating


I am a downright pain in the ass.

Between stubborness I came by honestly (my last name is synonymous with stubborn) and the odd quirks I’ve devleoped for whatever reason over the years, I can be trying to deal with. Much of my being difficult and frustrating comes from, I feel, my other bad words.

I do not have the best social skills and I’m pretty socially illiterate. I don’t read people well and I don’t interpret their words, gestures, behaviors, and actions correctly. This leads to me having knee-jerk reactions to seemingly inoccuous things, sometimes not taking jokes well because I see them as insults, which causes people to think I can dish it out but can’t take it.

On the flip-side, there have some compliments I’ve received that later I think people were insulting me, but I somehow missed the sarcasm. This has led me to be suspect of any kind of compliment I receive. I may be gracious when accepting it, but in the back of my mind I’m processing it, trying to find the insult. Sometimes, I just outright ask (we’ll discuss my lack of brain-mouth filter in another post). This doesn’t usually reflect well on me either.

My emotions give me difficulties, which in turn, make me difficult. I have trouble expressing my feelings adequately. Vulcans have better luck with it than I do. I can never seem to explain myself well in the moment. It’s only hours later that I realize exactly what I meant and what I should have said and by that time, it’s too late. I’ve already made an ass of myself and that incident has been chalked up in the mind of whoever I’ve offended, never to be erased. It’s one of those classic cases of I know what I mean, but no one else does because I’m failing to communicate it properly.

I also have issues with having the wrong emotions for a particular situation. I should be mad, but I’m not. I should be relieved, but I’m not. I should be happy, but I’m not. I should be sad, but I’m not. These inappropriate reactions cause some serious frustrations with my friends. There’s a general feeling of “you’re doing it wrong” about those awkward interactions and reactions that I haven’t been able to correct.

Then there’s the lingering effects of being raised by a family that deals with every situation with humor. We make jokes about everything. Life, death, and all that goes with it. It’s how we cope. However, it’s not appropriate in every situation with every person and I have a tendency to forget that. My default reaction is to make light of whatever situation I’m in. Not everyone understands or appreciate that. Or thinks well of me for it.

And then, of course, there’s the running of the mouth. Man, do I come by that honestly. Sometimes I don’t know when it’s best for me to shut up. On one hand, it leads me to get tongue-tied and awkward, but I keep going to try to straighten out my knot. On the other hand, I have a tendency to go too far and end up blowing past the point of no return.

All of these little things combine to make me hard to handle and sometimes not worth dealing with. It’s frustrating that I don’t have the appropriate responses. It’s frustrating for my friends to have to deal with that, to put the energy into handling me. You can hear it in their voices when they say everything but what they want to say in those situations to spare my feelings.

I wish they wouldn’t. I know I’m a pain in the ass. They can just go ahead and say it. Go ahead and call me on it. I’m fine with it. If I know what I’m doing (because a lot of this stuff I really don’t realize),  maybe I can make the effort to change and therefore, stop being so difficult.

It’s not like I’m not trying now, of course. I’m just not very good at it. Typically, I realize when it’s too late so I try to remember about it for next time. But, every situation isn’t the same, so there’s a good chance I don’t catch myself in time again.

I’m not trying to excuse myself; just trying to explain it. I know understanding doesn’t make it any less annoying/offensive/frustrating, but dammit, I want some credit for trying.

Maybe these bad words don’t seem so bad. Well, just wait. The farther we go, the worse the words get. The worse the words get, the worse these words will seem in retrospect.

That’s how bad words work.

Bad Words: Damaged, Weird


Aren’t we all?

I think those two words are the softest of the bad words because they do apply to everybody and they’re not necessarily bad. Everyone is weird in their own way. Everyone is damaged in their own way and the damage is almost never their fault. Weird implies unique. Damaged implies a victim of circumstance.

I come by my weird honestly. I was born with it. I’ve been weird for as long as I can remember. Everyone told me I was weird. It escaped no one’s attention. But it was a harmless weird. I ate cat food. It was that kind of weird.

I’m still that kind of weird. I quit eating a cat food a long time ago, of course. I matured and so did my weird. I’ve acquired strange number fixations. Odd hobbies. Random obsessions. Bizarre superstitions. Some might regard my love of pickle wraps up there with eating cat food, but pickle wraps are a family thing, so they don’t count.

My weird is harmless and I admit that part of my weird is a kind of coping skill. It’s how I deal with life. The other part of my weird is just how I interpret life. My view is skewed and has been since the beginning. Not a bad thing, just a thing.

Of course, it’s a subjective thing. In this society, it’s ideal to be unique while being the same. Whatever weird a person possesses, it should be a socially acceptible form of weird. Then it’s a quirk. And sometimes that quirk can become a trend. And a trend can be profitted from.

But if your weird is just weird, harmless or not, expect the side-eye. Expect the comments, muttered or spoken or shouted across a crowded place. My weird has earned me my share of disdain. It’s just another way people can complain about not understanding me. It’s another way to single me out, isolate me, make me feel defective.

When I let them.

I’m comfortable with most of my weird. It’s their hang-up, not mine. Weird is one of the few bad words that I’m not rushing to change.

From weird we get a little more serious.

I’m damaged. Like I said before, we all can say that we are. I like to say that every parent ruins their children in their own way and I don’t say it just to be witty; I really do think it’s true. Parents don’t mean to mess up their kids (for the most part). But raising a human being is hard. You have to do more than just keep them alive; you’ve got to teach them the rules of life and mold them into a somewhat functioning person. It’s not easy, mistakes are made. Some temporary, some last. It’s the nature of the game and the game is a rough one.

My parents did their fair share of damage to me, but the damage that I’m thinking of when I think of damage as a bad word is the damage I’ve done to myself.

To make a long story short, I went crazy when I was 21. Nothing too serious, just some major depression. Had I been honest about how serious the depression really was, I imagine things might have gone a little differently. But since I kept that bit to myself, I got the tools to fix the depression (I’m more cognitive-behavioral than Freudian) from my therapist and called the game after three sessions. I didn’t want to sit and talk about my mother. I needed to change my routine, change my mind, and vent in a healthy way. That’s all I needed to know. I declared myself, well, not cured, but on my way.

I duct taped my sanity basically. I made some happy changes to my mind. I started journaling regularly to help keep my emotions from bottling up and strangling me. I started exercising regularly to get those endorphins flowing.  I renewed my creativity.

However, I know the damage has been done and despite my attempts not all of it has been fixed. I’ve managed to fill a few of the holes. For the most part, though, what I’ve done is just a temporary patch job and sometimes the tape comes loose. Sometimes you can see the cracks in the paint if you tilt your head in the right light. And believe me when I tell you that lots of people do.

The damage they more easily forgive, though. Once they realize it’s damage.

The damage isn’t so bad and the weird isn’t too weird.

Those two words aren’t too bad for bad words.

It all starts to go downhill from here.

Bad Words

Difficult. Paranoid. Frustrating. Spiteful. Ugly. Malicious. Weird. Frightening. Damaged. Aggressive. Hypocritical. Tactless. Uncaring. Insensitive. Selfish. Unaware. Unthinking. Judgmental. Defensive. Unsypmpathetic. Poisonous.

Bad words. That’s what those are. And all of them have been said to me. Not in anger. Not by enemies. They’ve been said with great sincerity by friends and family and co-workers to me.

And every single one is true.

Everybody has their bad words whether they want to admit it or not. I admit mine. It’s not out of pride; it’s out of honesty. I know I’m all of those things. They’re not pleasant things. They’re things that I struggle with and things that I’m working on, things that I’m trying to change.

I admit to my bad words. I’ll be the first to say that they’re true. I can tell you how and why. I can explain them.

And I’d like to explain them. Not excuse them, but explain them. I don’t like excuses. Excuses refuse to take any blame. Explanations are just explanations; blame isn’t part of that game. It is what it is.

I don’t want to explain my bad words to somehow rationalize them or make them acceptible. They’re not. I want to explain them because to explain the absolute worst bits of myself is to tell the ultimate truth. And that’s what this blog is about, right? The original intent of it? To tell the truth.

My friends and family and co-workers, the very people who said those bad words, will somehow still manage to say that I’m a good person. Which is kind of boggling when you look at the list of bad words. It makes me wonder. Do I have more good words than bad words? Or is the quality of my good words better than my bad?

It’s curious. I imagine people would say the quality and quantity of my good words are greater than my bad words, but that’s a natural reaction if you like someone. You want to see all of their good bits. You emphasize them. Partly because you want to think that you associate with good people, but also because you want the people you care about to be the best they can be. You might know about their bad words, might even speak them, but in the end, you minimize them.

I don’t want to minimize my words. I don’t want to magnify them, either. I want to look at them honestly and explain them honestly.

It’s pretty heavy stuff and I don’t want to bring down the tone of the blog. I have trouble keeping a straight face for very long and unfortunately, there’s just too many bad words to give sufficient covereage to them in one post. So for the next several months (seven if I counted my groups right), just once a month, I’m going to talk about and explain my bad words. You’re going to see just what kind of monster I really am.

Welcome to my dark side.