For some reason I have not really been writing very much lately. Oh, I know that I post 5 days a week and, on occasion, twice a day, but I am a sneaky little B, you see. While I promise I write every word of every post (unless otherwise noted), I have a secret stash of material I can lay my hands on when I want to. I have only been keeping anything I have written since the end of 2009. There are volumes of notebooks that predate those writings, but I am either too lazy or too scared to go back and transpose them here. I am fully aware that I will run out of back logged stuff to post, and I am also aware that most of it comes from Notes I wrote in Facebook, so most everyone who comes here and is a Facebook friend has read them before. So they know I am cheating.
Why have I been cheating? Well, because I am the World’s Best Procrastinator, that’s why. And don’t even think you amateurs can challenge me. I have it down to a science. I can run circles around even the best procrastinators. I could prove it, but that goes against my “don’t do anything until last minute panic” motto – see above picture.
Now, contrary to popular belief, procrastination is not laziness. Oh, let me assure you, I am that. I can laze on a level that some of my more active and type-A personality friends would shudder to think of, but procrastination is a much deeper issue than simple laziness. It is deep-seated and neurotic fear of failure coupled with – wait for it – perfectionism. I know some of you may not see this right off, but allow me to explain.
I was a decent student in school. Much to my mother’s disappointment I was not gifted, but I did not inherit the stupid gene, either. Being quite introspective and thoughtful by nature, certain academics came naturally to me – as long as they did not deal with numbers. Because of this, with a bit of application, I could excel in most any other subject. I learned by writing so I took copious notes and then reorganized and recopied them later as a study tactic. I could later recall them with a high degree of accuracy. This served me well in history, psychology classes and the like.
It was a bit different in classes were we had essay tests. First of all, I love, love, love essay tests. As a matter of fact, some would say that these little blog posts I enjoy writing so much are nothing more than self prescribed essays – and I will readily admit that I would love to be an essayist, although I am not sure what that pays, but I would do it just for the love of it.
On college essay exams I would do exactly what I am doing right now. I would read the question and then just start writing. Sometimes it would take me 20 minutes to come up with that first sentence, but once I had it, I was golden. I would have to make myself stop. I could go on and on and I would pour out everything I knew about the subject onto the page with no thought about where it was coming from or where I was going with it (kinda like right now). It was thrilling when I could barely relay the words onto the page fast enough and I truly did love it when I would walk out of the classroom with an aching hand. I can imagine it would not surprise you to know that in my basement is a box full of blue essay booklets from college. I have never gone through them since the day I turned them in, but I kept them, even the ones with Cs on the outside – thankfully, I can honestly say that most of them were As and Bs, though.
This brings us to research papers. As much as I love essays, I don’t like research papers. I cannot say that I hate them, but they do not inspire me like an essay. I never in my life written a research paper with an outline. True, in both high school and college they required that you turn in an outline and I did just that – I turned in AN outline. I made it up. I never intended for a moment to follow it. It may work out that I did on occasion, but I assure you it was pure luck or coincidence. I read source material. I soaked it up. And then I just started writing – in most cases the day before the paper was due. I once wrote a 10-15 page research paper in less than 24 hours. I got a B, which was good because it was 75% of the total grade for the class. [Aside: in the interest of being honest, I have to admit that, while I did not cheat at all or in any way on the research paper, I did – because of procrastinating so long on it – have to get my best friend to write 2 other papers that were due in 2 other classes at the same time. It was the only time I ever cheated in college. As a matter of fact, I did not even read the papers she wrote for me before I turned them in. One was a psychology paper and I don’t even remember what the other one was. My friend – who was not even in college at the time, much less those 2 classes – got As on both. She was also pissed with me for days after for procrastinating to the point I did – as she had every right to be.]
I have said that procrastination is a coping mechanism for those who suffer from fear of failure and/or perfectionism and I have given you an example. Now, let me explain the logic. Perfectionists can only give themselves a break in a few circumstances. Not having enough time to do something perfectly is one of them. You can tell yourself that it could have been perfect – if only you had more time. In fact, my B on that research paper gave me as much of an ego boost as an A would have done. More maybe. Because I could tell myself that had I taken the time and done it right then I would have certainly gotten an A. How could I doubt it? I got a B under extraordinary circumstances – therefore I was every bit as capable of performing perfectly if I had done it like I should have done in the first place. Had I gotten a C, I would not have been too terribly disappointed because, after all, I did it in a record amount of time and what else could I expect? I would beat myself up for procrastinating – well deservedly, I might add – but not because I had not mastered either the class or the research paper – which was what I was really afraid of. See how that works? I had a built in ego boost or excuse, come what may.
I have told you before I think that I have been though enough therapy for 5 people. From the above you can also glean that I was, at one time, a psych major. So you can see how it would make sense for me to know this about myself. And I have gotten better about it. Somewhat.
You want to know why I can tell you that I am without a doubt the World’s Best Procrastinator? Because this was supposed to be a post about my upcoming wedding and a list of all the things that need to be done. Instead, I turned it into a post about procrastination – to procrastinate the wedding stuff. Yes. I am that good – or bad, as the case may be.