I don’t wanna reblog that quote about procrastination for my own reasons but oh gosh, that second paragraph:
“You see, procrastinators tend to be people who have, for whatever reason, developed to perceive an unusually strong association between their performance and their value as a person. This makes failure or criticism disproportionately painful, which leads naturally to hesitancy when it comes to the prospect of doing anything that reflects their ability — which is pretty much everything.”
is something that I only recognized in myself recently, at least to the extent that I can actually point it out and verbalize it in my counselling sessions. When I look back it seems like I cruised through my childhood and my teenage years even though of course I was never very successful at navigating the mazes of socialization or… anything outside of school, really… but none of the typical benchmarks of popularity mattered to me because in my mind I was secure in what I perceived as my role or my value in the grander scheme of things: in early elementary school I was an all-arounder, then I lost that a little bit but it didn’t matter because I was still the artist! (I’m imagining these as being analogous to your place in, like, a gymnastics team. I don’t know why.)
In Grade 4 I switched schools and even had a brief stint as the class clown and part-time… almost bully who verbally mocked others and was verbally mocked (it didn’t matter it didn’t matter they were laughing who cares if it was with you or at you or at other people because of you, there was no distinction!!!) but luckily I re-established myself as an all-arounder artist so I juggled those two roles until high school, when I dropped visual arts completely, took up music on the side and focused on fitting the Budding Scientist Who Will Find A Cure To All The Cancers mold I had crafted for myself. If I were to go back in time and ask my high school self to rate her self-esteem, she would probably say it was average to above average because she was performing her (self-)”designated” role and performing it well.
And even though I often think I’ve developed more self-awareness now and am more conscious of my motivations for doing something, at the end of the day I still can’t get out of the mindset that my value as a person is rooted in my performance. I have confidence at work because I do it well. I can talk about The Enterprise Incident, therefore I can stay in this corner, no matter how small. I’m getting the highest mark in my genetics class so I can be That Person who demands, ask others to do assignments with me, raise my hand in tutorials. I perform well in these spaces, therefore I have the right to exist here. But only here. Otherwise, give up your oxygen you thief, donate your organs, be “useful” that way.
And it’s despicable because I don’t hold other people to the same standards but when it comes to myself I don’t know how to not have this like purely utilitarian view