Wednesday, 5 September 2012

#IWSG: Self-Sabotage


(My second IWSG post. Yay!)

I'm almost embarrassed to ask this question, for fear of exposing myself as a psychopath, but does anyone else suffer from an overwhelming compulsion to sabotage their own efforts, in writing or anything else that's important to them?

I do. It's like there's a tiny monster in my head pretending to be my wee pal. Lets call him Bampot.


My lunch hour writing sessions have fast become the most productive of all my writing. Every time I go back to my desk, I'm brimming with a feeling of accomplishment.

So why, then, does little Bampot say to me in the mornings: "don't bother taking your laptop to work with you today, you might drop and break it. You'll just hurt your shoulder humphing it around anyway. You can freewrite at your desk..." and so on.

It's not the first time Bampot has reared his ugly head. He fast appears when I want to do something creative with my life. When I was thirteen, my music teacher invited me to join the Strathclyde Arts Jazz Group. I was terrified, but went along anyway. And I was so glad I did. I'd be up there, doing my flute solo (yes, Jazz Flute, just call me Ron Burgundy), being part of this amazing musical creation. There's nothing else like it, I tell ye.

So why, then, did Bampot convince me to "forget" to take my flute from the school's music cupboard the night before our practise sessions? "You can still go and watch," he'd say to me, "it just means you don't have to play. Don't put yourself under that pressure. You might mess up your solo and look like a fool."

So I'd turn up empty handed, making my excuses. But my music teacher, Mr. Gourlay, he knew the score. He'd bring my flute with him when I "forgot". I have a feeling he knew I was at it, and I'm grateful to him for that; for pushing me out of my comfort zone. It's one the best things you can do for someone, in my opinion. By the time I made my way back home, I was high with adrenaline, so happy to have been part of the magic again. That creative buzz is quite addictive, you know. Shame I'd always try to "forget" my flute the next week, and the next...

I think everyone has a little Bampot in their head. One that tells you: don't bother applying for that job, you won't get it. Give your boyfriend one more chance. He treats you like shit, but he's alright sometimes. He's more than you deserve anyway. What's the point in dieting? Would you rather eat rabbit food and be miserable for the rest of your life? Here, have a chip. You can't give up smoking, you enjoy it and it's good for your stress levels. You could get knocked down and killed by a bus tomorrow, for all you know. Life's too short.

Don't write that book. You don't know what you're doing. There are millions of books out there, all written better than yours. Look at these authors, spouting out three books a year and you're still working on your first. Never mind being an author. It's not what it used to be anyway; you have to be a PR mogul whilst you're at it these days. It's not what you write, it's who'll review your book. Just do yourself a favour and stick to reading books and writing the occasional journal. You'll save yourself a lot of pain and time. How wonderful would it be not to be plagued by feelings of inadequacy anymore? Just give it up. You tried your best. It wasn't meant to be.

Sometimes defying Bampot feels like you're going against your natural instincts. But from what I've experienced in life so far, he only pops up when you're on the cusp of improving yourself; at risk of becoming a better person. Don't let him win. See him as a test. Really good things don't come without a fight.

I shouldn't let Bampot wear me down with my writing. I've refused to surrender to him for many things in my life. And it's been more than worth it every time. He won't get me this time either, I'll make sure of it. And all my fellow #IWSG lovelies should fight against Bampot too!

How are you all getting on anyway? I've been away on a trip to Dublin, so it feels like forever since I immersed myself in the bloggy world. Do give me your gossip! I'll come visit you when I can :) x


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20 comments:

ravenaguron said...

OMG YES! I totally know what you mean (but I haven't yet named him, so he's going to be called Sambot, the twin of your Bambot.) Sometimes I'm like there's no point writing this book... it's never going to get published anyway and I might as well save myself the time and relax instead.

And why would you be afraid of EXPOSING yourself as a psychopath. That sounds as though you're a closeted psychopath :)

It's my second post two! We're not newbies anymore YAY!

Kyra Lennon said...

First of all, Bampot is a great name lol! But yes, I think we all have one of those. I fight with mine every day, and while he occasionally wins a few, mostly I like to kick his ass!

Suzanne Furness said...

Great post. Can totally relate with your little Bambot - think we all have a relation of his lurky.

michelle said...

Bambot and Sambot - the terrible twins... I'll be sure to keep a lookout for them, though they rear their monstrous heads at the strangest of times.

Jazz flute? I'm impressed, Catherine. We'll have to do a jazzy duet when we meet one day... we'll use the musical session as a pre-writing warm-up... get the creative juices flowing... who knows what it might produce?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think you nailed it - he shows up when you're on the edge of something great. Just squash him!

Arlee Bird said...

Actually I think your post says what I was really saying in my own post. I was just trying to come up with some deep and complex excuse not to write. Your post is my story.


Lee
A Faraway View

Heather Murphy said...

Thank you so much for the kind words of encouragement on my blog. Yes, Bampot lives with me too. I enjoyed the comparison you made to music. As a musician I can relate :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Oh, that sounds familiar. There's always the voice in the back of your head whispering all the new things you try to do aren't worth it . . .

Catherine Noble said...

@ravenaguron: Awwwwwww Sambot, that is ADORABLE! Haha not so much a closeted psychopath anymore... every post seems to uncover my mental state a bit more! Yay go us un-newbies!

@Kyra Lennon: Good on you for giving your bampot an arse kicking. They should all be violently beaten. :)

@Suzanne Furness: Thank you :) I think you're right. We need to find the cure for this desease haha :)

@Alex J. Cavanaugh: He shall be squished! :)

@Arlee Bird: Aww, I'm glad it resonates with you. Your post was highly interesting, I was thinking about it for some time afterwards. Good luck with your writing :)

@Heather Murphy: You're very welcome! I envy your musical life, I need to get myself a flute again!

@The Golden Eagle: There's a bampot in all of us :( good thing I'm not good at taking advice, even from him!

Kelly Louise said...

Bambots are relentless, I suggest duct tape!

Morgan said...

"No I'm not cute. Raaawwwwr!" <----I seriously LOL'd!!!!!

Catherine, I love this. LOVE THIS. It DOES feel like going against our natural instinct! And it's SO tough sometimes. I felt like I was reading my inner thoughts reading this. Thanks for sharing, you've motivated me to squish that Bampot!

Lexa Cain said...

I just love that you've given the little imp a name! I've never had a Bampot. I used to be ridiculously optimistic, sure that every opportunity was a chance for success. But stuff rarely worked out right. I'm very realistic now and don't let my optimism or my pessimism get out of control. Er ... so maybe where you have one Bampot -- I have two: optimism and pessimism. Eew. That's an eye-opener.

Linda said...

Wow! I think you've been inside my head! This is what I love so much about reading blogs - discovering that you're not alone in your idiocy! Thanks for a great blogpost! :-)

J.L. Campbell said...

Boy, do I understand how that works. You're so right when you say the you-don't-have-to-do-this episodes come when you're on the brink of making progress.

Christine Rains said...

I think we all try to do that to ourselves. I end up cleaning or surfing blogs. You've just got to push Bampot aside and write. Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to do so, but you can do it!

Donna K. Weaver said...

This is something a couple of my kids suffer from. When I brought it to their attention, it was a bit of a wakeup call for them, but at least they were will to consider it. Knowing you're challenged this way makes it easier to overcome. Good luck! =D

MOV said...

I do not sabotage myself (anymore). I go for what I want.

HOWEVER, I am extremely lazy, so that can be a form of sabotage...........

(and sometime I am guilty of procrastinating, wait, did I just contradict what I first said?!)

best,
MOV

Amanda Trought said...

This is so true, and I recognise it in myself at times, I've been giving myself a real talking to over the past few weeks, it has been hard to get back into the routine after such a long holiday break, thankful for your post as a reminder to look out for it.... I do like the name Bampot.....:)

Anne Mackle said...

Catherine are we talking about a Glasgow bampot here? As you and I both know there's plenty of them in Glasgow. Just don't let in get inside your head and write that book. Don't let the bampots get you down,

Daniel Swensen said...

Bampot needs to be beaten to death with a garden rake.

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