yours, tiramisu

suffering because i fear

Recently my friend lent me her copy of Haruki Murakami's 1Q84, a thousand page behemoth of a book. Considering I have about three weeks at home left before I move, I should probably get started on it. I don't want to lug that brick all the way to my tiny living quarters in New York, especially since it's not even mine.

But I haven't even started. It's not that I don't think I'll enjoy it; I've read five of Murakami's books already. What keeps me from starting is the prospect of failing to finish before I go on vacation or move.

Logically, that fear should push me to read more. Reading a thousand pages in three weeks isn't impossible, especially when I don't work full-time and the pages contain prose that goes down easily like Murakami's. Instead, my fear has done the opposite, paralyzing me and preventing me from starting at all.

I don't know how to get over myself. I open the book to the first page, start reading, and then, inexplicably, put the book down and do something else. In my avoidance I've already finished Michiko Aoyama's What You Are Looking For Is in the Library and made headway in Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen (thanks Amy and Misha for the recommendations!). But I'm still stuck on the first page of 1Q84.

I'm like this in other areas of my life too. Right now for work I have to figure out this complex query to join tutors with their pay rates from various different tables depending on a matrix of conditions. It's not an easy task by any means, but I could probably figure it out if I sucked it up and worked patiently on it for a few uninterrupted hours. And yet, I keep pushing it off. The inertia sits on me like a boulder, rendering me inert.

I think some variant of this happened at my previous job. I'd put off tasks because I dreaded their thorny challenges and the uncomfortable feeling of being stumped. Of course, procrastinating only ever compounded my problems and made them more stressful when I finally did get to them. But I keep repeating this irrational behavior time and time again in various arenas of my life.

When I was a senior in high school I chose a Montaigne quote to go under my headshot. He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers because he fears. I don't know if teenage me was really more fearless or just less self-aware, but I find it incredibly ironic how much that quote makes a mockery of the person I am today.

#english #wordvomit #work