How to fuck yourself over


When Cal was ten days old, I accidentally left her at the pediatrician’s office. Something seemed a little off as I crossed the parking lot, but I felt the weight of my purse in the crook of my arm and I was actively sipping on my Blue Raspberry Slurpee, so, I mean, what thing of importance could I possibly have forgotten?

As I unlocked the car door, I saw the infant carrier base in the back seat. FUCK.

I ran. I’ve only been chased by the police once (that I can immediately recall), and I know this is probably not the right time to brag, but I really impressed myself with the speed and agility I exhibited during my short run through the Las Lomas Apartments community and then again as I sprinted back to the pediatrician’s waiting room. I wish my middle school P.E. teachers could have seen me. Slowpoke my ass, motherfuckers.

Cal was right where I had left her. I had set down the carrier to make another appointment and then walked out sans baby. I kneeled beside the carrier and did an ugly cry, dripping big fat tears of shame all over my kid’s face.

A nurse poked her head through the window and said, “Don’t worry, it happens.”

I forgot to use my proper lady language as I replied, “Man, fuck this shit. I suck at being a mom.”

This is my general reaction every time I make a mistake. Man, fuck this shit. I suck at _______.

This is also my general reaction every time I deem something “too hard.”

I am a serial quitter. I am also a serial restarter. These two tendencies are made worse by what happens in between the restarting and the quitting- I self-sabotage.

Self-sabotage is tricky because it uses that Decepticon bullshit, transforming itself from one form to another. First it looks like procrastination. Then it’s shaped like self-medication or self-injury. It’s fear. Doubt. Isolation. Compulsivity. It’s a spiral of bad choices. I stay up too late. I spend too much time reading about the most efficient yet attractive way to organize my scrapbooking embellishments. I make ridiculous demands of myself. I set unrealistic deadlines.

For more than two years, I’ve been working on a book. I started on a Tuesday. I think I promised my agent I would pull something together by, like, Friday. Monday at the latest. She didn’t LOLOL or anything. I give her props for that.

Holler at me, self-sabotage. Ridiculous demands. Unrealistic deadlines.

Earlier this year, I spent two full days perfecting paper airplanes. My planes still fly like shit, but the sharp creases I make using just my thumbnail are baller status. I should have spent that time on my book.

I’ve made a lot of excuses as to why it’s taken so long. Interspersed between the excuses of I don’t know how and Good God, these pages really suck were real-life happenings that delayed the process even longer. I got sad about babies and I also got mad that I still haven’t figured out how to organize my surprisingly large assortment of brads and eyelets.

I’m calling it quits on fucking myself over. For at least a week.

Follow along on the Flourish in Progress Facebook page and on Instagram (username: flourishinprogress) for not-seen-on-this-blog pictures, (t)hug life thoughts, and other random shit you may find entertaining during the hours you are supposed to be doing honest work.

image via Sara Eshak for Society6

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  • Miranda Kaye

    I say “Man. Fuck this shit.” every time I play Candy Crush, then I start playing again. Isn’t that the definition of insanity? I keep thinking i’m going to beat Level 65 but it doesn’t happen…

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      This is why I haven’t even started on that Candy Crush grind. Because I know shit would get real…real fast.

  • chemegirljaime

    would it help to know that if you wrote a book we’d all totally be on board with reading it? I love your writing and your excessive use of swear words!

    but I feel your pain completely … when I’m doing lab reports sometimes I’m like that… fuck this shit then I shame myself for not trying harder and I go back and power through it. Thankfully I have deadlines which give me grades so if I don’t do shit I will flunk out.. which keeps me in line.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I wish I could tell you just how MUCH that helped. Thank you for the support.

      I SO wish deadllines kept me in check! Maybe I should implement some kind of reward system. I can already see that turning out badly though. ;)

  • Amy at Funny is Family

    My entire life is starting things and dropping them for something else. Often it’s small things like a half-folded basket of laundry, but sometimes it’s big things, like not working on my screenplay because it’s too terrifying and hard and also who do I think I am?

    My husband and I both got in the car to run to Blockbuster two weeks after we brought our first kid home from the hospital. Neither of us remembered we had a kid asleep in the house. It does happen.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      LOLOL. Thank you so much for sharing that. It’s one thing to hear a nurse say “It happens,” but it’s much more comforting to know that it’s actually happened to someone else. Seriously, thank you.

      Yesterday, I folded every piece of laundry that needed folded and actually PUT IT AWAY for the first time in, like, 15 months. It felt like I had climbed a mountain or something. A small mountain, like a hill, but still.

      Good luck on your screenplay. Awesome things are often terrifying as fuck, I’ve discovered. You can do this. Yes, yes you can.

  • cynthia

    Serial quitter? check. Restart mistress? absolutely every time. Always somehow landing on my feet like a cat thrown off a 7th floor balcony. How many times have I asked myself why do I do this to myself? Admonishing that this is no way to live my life….yet…I beat myself up and 5 minutes later feel somehow calm about these terrible choices I have made. When you figure out the puzzle girl, please holler back.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      Let’s do a mutual hollering. Whoever figures it out first, even a piece of the puzzle, should holler at the other.

      Harv’s always been a big fan of cats. Me, not so much. But I’m kind of liking their nine lives and land on their feet. That’s a good way to live.

  • brittany rae

    I said fick yhis shit I’d rather be fat the first day I did insanity. Needless to say I did it for 3 weeks….
    But I lost weight other ways.
    Great post. Think we should all stop fucking ourselves over.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      YOU DID INSANITY FOR THREE WEEKS? That is some baller status shit right there. I have attempted both Insanity and P90x and did not make it past the first day. I mean, I did the first day like 5 times, but still, I did not make it past Day One. And props to you for finding other ways to work on your fitness.

  • Are You Kidding Me?

    Restarting is the key, my friend. That shows determination.

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I just hope I don’t restart any of the bad behavior. I really am not determined to be a lazy asshole, although history would prove otherwise.


  • Lillian

    Please do finish your book. I would be the first to buy it. :)

    • Elizabeth-FlourishinProgress

      I would offer you a refund if you didn’t like it, but I’ve already spent years of future earning on my impressive collection of Chevron toy cars and rap trading cards. And, thank you for the support and encouragement.

  • Lynellekw

    The only thing that keeps me going on stuff is reminding myself that I want the outcome… recently I made a quilt each for my two nieces. I should have started a lot earlier than I did… well, I bought the fabric well in advance so that should count for something, right? And when I got started stuff kept going wrong… it didn’t matter how careful I was, the stupid bits just didn’t line up and the thread ran out and I can’t sew a straight line and I hate my sewing machine and WHY THE HELL DID I DECIDE TO MAKE QUILTS? Then I go through a stage of I’m never going to get these done in time, I haven’t TOLD anyone I’m making quilts so I can just quit now & no-one will know, they probably won’t care anyway, I’m really too busy to have time for this and similar thoughts before arriving out the other side at “I’ll just sew one more row of stitches. And then another.” The way a gym class instructor gets you to do another three sets of lunges. I finished the second quilt ON THE PLANE while travelling to Australia to meet the nieces in question. I’m trying the same approach with the stupid massive problem I’m trying to solve at work which no-one else seems to be interested in fixing. So far I’ve just annoyed a bunch of other people by yelling, “JUST ONE MORE REPORT, DAMMIT!”

  • erinmommyonthespot

    Self- sabotage is super sneaky. I cannot tell you how much I can relate to this.

    I would love love love to read your book, and to over-exagerate, but you are a total inspiration to your readers (well, at least to me you are).

    As for being sad, if I could be there, I would give you a big hug and take you out to ice cream. I feel feeding your feelings is a close second to a hug.

    Hang in there, and don’t let that self-sabotage beast get any more of your time.

  • Emelie Samuelson

    All I can say is. “Man. Fuck this shit. This is the story of my life.”

  • Megan Gordon

    I think with the book you have to give yourself permission to suck (which I highly doubt you do, but you think you do and that’s all that matters in the moment) and just do it anyway. No one else will know if it sucks (which it won’t) and you can fix it before anyone does.
    Own the suckage and do it – just like you did with Cal. That worked out quite well, right? ;)

  • Corin

    Oh, yes, yes, a million times yes, to this. I am the ultimate at creating Really! Big! Goals! and then promptly getting frustrated, procrastinate like crazy, and then not doing them. At this point, if I say I’m going to write a novel/start a running program/finally repaint the bathroom, what I’m really saying is my house is about to get reaaaaaaally clean and then I’m going to watch all the things on Netflix.

  • alexandra

    We have a lot in common. xo

  • Hope Braley

    “We all die. The goal isn’t to live forever, the goal is to create something that will.”
    – Chuck Palahniuk

    You’re already creating an amazing legacy. Cry, scream, shout, smile, laugh, fight, and love your way to accomplish the goals you’ve set. Start small. We weren’t made to change overnight. xo


  • Stephanie

    You have no idea how much I love you for keepin’ it real w/ this post. When I was a new mom I put the baby in the carrier and put the carrier in the car and drove to where ever. Once I got to said destination I realized I forgot to buckle him in. I was so upset at myself you would have thought I set him down on the freeway and walked away. New moms are so out of wack they shouldn’t be allowed to leave the house for 6 months.
    Oh, I’m also a queen at procrastination. I’ve tried to justify it by telling myself I work best under extreme pressure and deadlines. Whatever works so that I can sit and read all day instead of doing work.

  • Elizabeth Barnes

    I will buy any book you put into print my friend. Good, bad, or indifferent. But I’m sure it won’t be bad.

  • carrien-she laughs at the days

    As a person who spent my undergrad years as a creative artsy fartsy type musician person, I have some experience in this area of creating things, and working on things. I have come to see the quitting and the restarting as essential parts of the creative process. We start something, realize it’s way more complicated/difficult than we at first thought it would be, and we put it aside for a while as we reassess and decide how badly we want it, and whether it’s worth the effort. But the whole time it lays to the side our minds are working on it, trying to figure out how to overcome the difficulty, how to do it anyway, and once we reach the point where we feel comfortable with the struggle, or have figured out how to make some element of it work, we start again, and find it’s easier this time.

    There comes a point of course when we just have to make ourselves try again, every day, and that accelerates the process of trying, finding it hard, and figuring out the solution. But every person who creates I think starts, and then stops, and the starts again, many times, in order to have the time to work out the ideas, etc.

    I think we do this with life too. Some things seem impossible at first. Babies for instance. But then we do it, and our brains aren’t overwhelmed by it any more and it becomes more normal and easy.

    I dunno if that makes sense or not. But don’t beat yourself up for stopping, and then trying again. It’s all part of what needs to happen to get to where you need to be.


  • Trophy Wife

    OMG to say that I’m excited about your book is an understatement. It prob would be better to say that I’m pee my pants excited, but then it would be awkward for both of us. Can’t wait!

  • laura @ hollywood housewife

    You are the awesome-ist and all I want in life is for your to FINISH YOUR BOOK. I will throw you the most amazing party.

  • Lauren Davison

    I just found your blog today and the second I read the 1st two lines of his story I knew you were going to be my new fav. Blog! Love your honesty

  • hedgerow arts

    you are spiritual chocolate milk with a shot of 2x expresso, vodka on the side

  • Suzanne Perryman

    I loved reading your recent posts and your honest and real approach to life. I would totally buy your book so sit your ass down and write it already. Maybe like the monday dare thing, you should totally tuesday it with reasons you totally didn’t work on the book , so readers can whip you in to shape with encouragement and cheer you on. Like crowdsourcing inspiration, enthusiasm and public whipping? LOL.
    I blog at I was fortunate to be named as one of BlogHer’s 2013 Voice Of The Year Bloggers ( Op-Ed) . I just wanted to visit your blog, learn a bit from your experience, and thank you for being a reviewer. I am sure it was a tough job and a lot of work, so thanks for giving back.

    Writing is my thing, and I celebrate the simple, everyday of special needs parenting, one story at a time. I have never been to a blogging conference and look forward to attending BlogHer this year and meeting other bloggers! Hope to have a chance to meet you.

  • Roller Scrapper

    You can do it! I mean you are a real writer so I know you can do it! I stop working on stuff all the time, sweaters, baby sweaters (the recipient is now 8 and it would never fit) and even my maternity journal. I pulled that baby out to work on it now that my kid is 14 months to at least glue down all the photos I had lovingly selected and cut out, and ended up putting it away in defeat when we had people by the house. Stuff happens, but you know you can keep going, plus I want to read it!

  • Gwyndolyn Jones

    I always think of it as having a lot of get-to-it-iveness and not a lot of stick-to-it-iveness.

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  • CaliforniaGirl500

    If you think you suck now, just wait til your kid(s) hit puberty, start driving, drinking, doing drugs, staying out all night leaving you a hopeless puddle of self-loathing and regret for all the things you might have done different and all the things you did wrong. Oh yes. It just gets better.

  • Christine from Giftovus

    I am so glad I came across this post. I am a notorious quitter, you name it I’ve tried it but only for a week. It’s not that I am not willing to put in the time, it’s that I get frustrated easily when I feel I am not progressing fast enough. I tell myself that things take time, but I still get those “f*ck this $hit” feelings. Thus I am calling it quits on f*cking myself over for a week as well, so thanks for the post and the indirect push! BTW if your book is anything like your blog, I’m sure it will be a big hit :)

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