it’s not just me, right?

Ok, so: Self-esteem belongs on, like, a kind of spectrum, right? There are good days and bad days and most of the time, you want to land somewhere in the middle. Right? That seems like a pretty healthy way to approach things.


Versus this less-useful model — aka, my own:


That’s me. I feel like I can jump back and forth between one of two extremes really quickly. And I’m aware of it, which is suuuper irritating, since I know it’s all in my head and likely not based in reality whatsoever. I really wish I was better at spending time in that middle, “I’m okay!” zone. 

It’s not just me, right? Is this a millennial thing? Or a sensitive artist-type thing? Or an annoying neurotic thing? Or just a “me” thing? I’m not the only one out there……. right? Right? 

I’m not gonna lie, at this present moment in time, I’m hovering pretty hard over “I suck, I’m the worst,” but that’s just because i just spent like two hours trying to figure out how to convey via photoshop doodle that the second picture up there is, like, one of those “on-off” switches where both of the buttons can’t be pressed at the same time, like, either you get one extreme or the other, and I’m not sure if that’s coming across clearly enough, but I can’t figure out a better way to express that sentiment. AND a good 95% of those two hours were spent trying to draw one of those old-fashioned toggle switches, which I think is a more accurate visual representation of the metaphor I’m using to explain my own emotional psyche, except it turns out that old-fashioned toggle switches are kind of hard to draw on a laptop paint program using a trackpad. And, you know, I worked really hard on it in the hopes that it would be meaningful to someone else out there reading this, like I would draw this picture that made instant sense to everyone and maybe quietly spoke some kind of universal truth to the world and brightened everyone’s day a little thanks to my hilarious wit and self-deprecating sense of humor. And then I stepped back from my laptop and I had this moment of incredibly crushing clarity where I realized I had spent two hours of my life using a computer paint program to draw something clinically kind of insane and maybe a little vaguely pornographic. My brilliant, universal metaphor looked like a tube-shaped penis protruding from a wristwatch, because it turns out it’s really goddamned difficult to draw a toggle switch, and there is just no way I’m going to show you that first draft, because it’s humiliating, and also makes no sense. This entire paragraph makes no sense. I have no idea why I’m still typing. I should clearly delete it. I went to college, right? I went to COLLEGE. Something is clearly wrong with me. I can’t believe I spent two hours making that stupid drawing instead of reading “The Goldfinch” or going to bed an hour ago like a responsible adult. (AND I HAVEN’T EVEN BOUGHT “THE GOLDFINCH” YET SO CLEARLY I AM NOT EVEN A “REAL WRITER.” WHY DO YOU PEOPLE EVEN SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG???)


Okay, fine. FINE. Oh, my god, I hate me.

What I was trying to draw:


What I accidentally spent like two hours making:



SO YEAH. I’m leaning pretty hard towards “I Suck” right about now.

On the other, I’m about to hit “post” on this and there is definitely leftover food in the fridge that I feel pretty great about taking down, so — yeah. Jury’s out on this. Check back in ten minutes. There’s like a 40% chance I’ll be feeling kinda awesome.


40 thoughts on “it’s not just me, right?

  1. I know how you feel. Correct me if I’m wrong but you sound like a perfectionist?? I’m a super perfectionist and it makes me feel like I’m sucky too. I struggle with my self esteem bug time and I am trying to figure out what can be done when self esteem is something that comes from the inside.

  2. The toggle button does look a bit like a penis, but it made me love this post more because I totally would have done the same thing. Only you ramble so much better than me. 🙂 Now I suck. Boo.

  3. Just want you to know that I literally read that whole thing because I was thoroughly amused by the fact that someone else goes through the same kind of thought process as me. Oh and I’ve literally been going through “I suck, I’m the worst” so this was pretty fabulous. Nailed it with the “sensitive-artist type thing.” Hope this comment will at least start to wiggle the toggle towards awesomeness (that sounds a lot creepier than it did in my head….)

  4. Nope. You are definitely not alone here! And I think your toggle switch looks fabulous! A bit penisy, but who cares. I would’ve known what it was without the other example! That is what counts!

    You ROCK! I ROCK! We all ROCK! Even when we suck! 🙂

  5. Debating whether your toggle switch looks more like a penis or a cigarette, either way you got a laugh out of me! You are awesome! (well at this moment in time anyways!)

  6. Okay. So. You are amazing. Yeah I know that not because I’ve ever met you, but because I also have an ANXIETY BRAIN that I’d do anything to trade in. But I can’t. So when you post stuff like this it makes me feel like I’m not alone, either. It’s kind of like you’re in writing my very thoughts. Love your blog 🙂

  7. Freaking cracking me up over here! That first draft sucks btw… just kidding. Loved the charts and drawings and photo comparisons. Very funny!

  8. Have you read, “The Artist’s Way”, by Julia Cameron? It’s a really great, but simple book about how to take care of your inner artist and how to deal with that negative voice that wants to stomp on everything you do, and a bunch of stuff like that. 🙂

  9. Hey Fritz! First off, great post- you rock! 2nd: the “all good” or “all bad” exercise is called dichotomous thinking, or black and white thinking. When you feel like you suck, try making yourself think about it in percentages. Like, “ugh I didn’t get anything done today! The store didn’t have the supplies I needed and traffic wasted my time” ask yourself, how much did my day suck? “90%” ok but did anything good come out of your trip to the fabric store “well yea now I know that I have to order it all, so I can do that now.” And who’s fault is it that the store didn’t have te fabric ? “Theirs, those bitches” Ok and what did you do while you were stuck in traffic? “NPR had a cool piece about pie” and why was traffic so bad “because it’s the expressway and it’s terrible” is that your fault? “No” so what percentage do you suck, and what percentage did your day not go well? “I guess I don’t really suck but my day was 40% bad.” Right?! Or just draw more penises. That’s good too. I like your drawings. Have a good one 🙂

  10. You are definitely not alone. I’m currently on “I suck, I’m the worst” side of the spectrum right now. Like you, little things like leftovers will make me flip to the other side and then I’ll suddenly flip back to Ugh after a while. It would be nice to stop with the self-hating.
    P.S. Love the penis watch, I was cracking up.

  11. I say save the first attempt graphic for a piece about how Atari makes people sad… because it’s really perfect for that! And then everyone will comment, “Hey, isn’t that the penis toggle from the self-esteem piece” and that should give you a thrill that people follow your blog so devotedly that they remember the penis toggle!

  12. Yeah, welcome to the human race where we spend 95% of our time being ridiculous and every other second toggling between extremes. Promise you’re not alone on this one. ❤

    And in the words of the wisest of women J.K. Rowling:
    "Is this real or is it all in my head?" asked Harry.
    "Of course it's all in your head, Harry, but what makes you think it's not real?", Dumbledore replied.

    And now I should fix my hair and go to work, instead of sitting here with bedhead being envious of the fact that you at least have *some vague idea* of how to use photoshop. Which I still don't own. I'm a normal person, I swear.

  13. I think we might have the same brain. It’s a good thing my husband has like, one even-keeled mood, because I’m either over the moon or at the bottom of a hole most of the time.

  14. I subscribe to this blog because you can so clearly express the thoughts in your head that I think most people have daily but don’t know how to verbalize. And you do it while thinking, “Maybe I should be ashamed of this,” but then you decide, “Well I’ve gotta get over it somehow, I’m only human, and the people don’t have to read this if they don’t want to!” and then you post it, and it’s awesome!

    I, on the other hand, just spent the afternoon of my one day off this week watching New Girl and eating Girl Scout cookies, trying to analyze why I keep choosing men who won’t commit to me. There’s probably some shame in that, but I acknowledge it, and there’s always tomorrow to be super awesome.

  15. This is why I stopped being a programmer. I swung wildly between “I’m a fucking idiot!” and “I’m a genius!” and it was too much to bear. Especially since once it worked and I was a genius, I had to go to the next thing, which was a lot more of me being an idiot.

  16. Not only are you not alone (this post was like looking in a mirror), but do you NOT suck. You also inspire a ton of people who you don’t even know (like me) constantly. You rock.

  17. Great characterization of a type A personality. Unfortunately, you’re not alone and the more we perfectionists succeed, the higher we raise that bar. So, regardless of what we do (and anyone else’s opinion of what we do), we never meet our own expectations. So, to us, we suck way more often than not.

  18. Just started laughing out loud at work and all my coworkers are giving me weird looks…This is a daily struggle for me, too!! You are not alone. Probably a type A/slightly OCD/perfectionist thing. I’m not good with gray, I like black and white

  19. Regardless of whether you suck or are awesome, buy a copy of The Goldfinch and read it. It IS awesome, for real.

  20. It’s not just you. It’s all of us who are slightly creative who want to get our vision across to our audience. It’s those of us who were raised by parents who wanted the best for and done by their children. We need clarity and for us, the great vs crap scale only has two settings. Either we got it done, to our (or our parents) standards or we didn’t. I played two instruments, was in nearly every sport possible growing up (but played 2 in high school), I got excellent grades, and served in the Air Force for seven years. I have a beautiful daughter that I got out of a failed marriage (from which I was smart enough to walk away), and I’m remarried to a wonderful man who makes me feel wonderful. However, I still have my switch set to “crap” BC I’m not currently holding a job or earning income for my family and I feel lousy. It’s BC of my health, but BC of this, I’m open to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. I would never have done it if I was busting my ass every day at a 9-5.

    So, thank you for sharing it all…the description, the drawings, and most of all, the internal mental banter with yourself that I recognize too well. It DID make me smile. You should feel pretty awesome today. Go ahead…you should.

  21. This hilarious post just made my semi-crappy day at work so much better…and I absolutely relate to the two extremes!

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