Friday, October 17, 2014

Hiatus (Notes from the Desk of Perfectionism)

I haven't posted in five days, I probably won't be able to compile a proper post until late next week, and I feel guiltier than I should. I've always tried to treat this blog as a hobby, but the fact is that it's hard for me to have casual hobbies. I'm an incorrigible perfectionist and I put tremendous pressure on myself, and this can leech the fun out of anything, even writing about makeup. When I go more than three days without posting, I beat myself up for being less prolific than other bloggers, less prolific than I myself was earlier this year. If I write a short post, I criticize myself for being too shallow, too lazy, not thoughtful or eloquent enough. And this month it's been especially hard for me to post regularly, due to a combination of academic deadlines and a general downturn in my mood. When I try drafting a post, I feel guilty for neglecting my scholarly work. When I try to concentrate on my scholarly work, I feel guilty for not achieving a proper work-life balance. When I read a funny, informative post on someone else's blog, I interpret it as a reprimand from the universe for my own failure to produce content.

I'm really type-A, guys. I'm sorry. This is why all my friends think I belong in Slytherin.

Anyway, I just wanted to drop a brief note to say that I'm going on hiatus for another week or so. If I'm inspired to post in that week, I will. If I want to take more time off, I will. I feel silly notifying the world of such a short break, as if I imagine that the Internet will collectively lose its shit in my absence. I don't, I promise. But I think that going on an "official" hiatus will take some of the pressure off and make me better able to focus on academics. This blog has turned into a deadline generator instead of a source of relaxation and fun, and I want to be able to read and comment on other people's blogs without chastising myself for posting too infrequently. Perfectionism can be a blessing, but it more often produces anxiety and mental paralysis. Having put all this into words, I hope I can push through the paralysis and start getting things done.

See you soon.

Yr. most obedient humble servant,
Auxiliary Beauty

14 comments:

  1. AB, there is no shame in belonging to the house of Slytherin. *nods* I'm not sure I belong there, but some of my obsessive tendencies point that-a-way sometimes, too.

    I think it IS really good to notify your regular readers you are on a break. It's like typing "BRB" when you are doing a text conversation and need to pee. Just common courtesy and always appreciated.

    I'm sorry you are feeling down! I always feel like the change in seasons bring on some sort of havoc. I hope your academic-related activties go well and hope the pressure you put on yourself related to the blog subsides.

    Might I relate a blog-pressure related experience? I used to feel so terrible when I didn't take advantage of a sunny weekend day to take blog photos, because that would entail no new material for the blog. Eventually, with a good dose of who the eff cares, that feeling has much subsided. It is really stinky when a happy hobby feels burdensome, so I totally feel ya.

    Hope to see you again whenever you feel like coming back. xoxo

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    1. Believe me, I've experienced that weather-induced pressure too! Especially since it's been so cloudy and damp this fall. Earlier this month, the sun would come out for maybe 20 minutes every few days (at least, it felt that way), and I'd be thrown into a frenzy because I wasn't at home and I knew it would be cloudy again by the time I had a chance to take blog photos. I don't have a proper camera, either, so everything looks weird if the light isn't just right. So frustrating!

      You're right about seasonal changes producing mental blahs: I was feeling really awful toward the end of winter, too. And my birthday is coming up, and I've been anxious about birthdays since the age of nine. I wish I were kidding.

      But thank you for the kind words! <3 BRB, gotta pee.

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  2. I know all too well how this feels. Blogging often feels like a compulsive addiction, a job and a tool of procrastination all in one. My feelings about it have become really muddied, so lately I've taken a step back and gone the route of trying not to worry about it. Blog when you want -- "too much" or "too little", it matters not as long as you're well and feeling fulfilled. October is a downer month for me as well and today I spent most of the day in bed like a Victorian spinster with consumption. Then at 11pm, I inhaled some coffee and decided I MUST WRITE ABOUT REVLON. @___@

    Good luck with everything! Get the academic things done and come back to us in good conscience. :)

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    1. Though I would never want to be a professional blogger, a small part of me understands why so many fashion and beauty blogs have become all about the $$$. Sometimes I get frustrated when I consider how much time I spend on an activity I don't get paid for! It's those moments when I decide I need to take a break for a few days, lest blogging begin to feel like a chore. I admire bloggers who can post daily or close to daily; I could never.

      I'm sorry you've been feeling down, too. The approach of winter can really take its toll. Here's hoping you start to feel like a Victorian spinster *without* consumption!

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  3. I've noticed that the internet has a way of speeding up our reading metabolism that may not serve us well. When we encounter blogs we appreciate, like your blog, we want to gorge on the content. But, the reason why we want to gorge is that the writer has chosen quality over quantity, with writing that is cultural criticism/personal essays instead of glib advertorials. It's a challenge to maintain that quality while answering the never-ending request for "more, more..." As an English major, you know Dorothy Parker did not have to produce wit in a 24-7 cycle of information and dissemination. When you pause briefly, you are helping your readers keep the anticipated, thoughtful gustation of your blog posts from descending into frenzied feeding at the trough. Oh, and by way, you seem very Ravenclaw to me.

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    1. You make a good point! Before I had a blog, I was on the consuming side of that equation, and now I'm also on the producing side, and it's very strange to think that people are actually reading what I write. I suspect that more people have seen my beauty blog than will ever read my academic work. Though, actually, the posts that get the most pageviews are the ones closest to "glib advertorials." My hurried swatch post for the NARS Audacious lipsticks has received FIVE TIMES as many pageviews as my next most popular post. So it's comforting to know that there are readers here for the personal-essay stuff, too.

      I always assumed I was a Ravenclaw, but my friends are convinced that my ambition makes me a Slytherin. I think the Sorting Hat would have a hard time deciding where to put me...

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  4. ((((((((((youuuuuuuuuu)))))))))))

    Those feels, I know them well. Literally. Reading your post was like reading my diary. If I kept one. You know what I mean.

    Take all the time you want. :-)

    I should probably do some thesis now. *twitch* #thesisguilt #blogguilt #damnthetorpedoesineedchocolateandsleep

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    1. (((((((((((((Syl)))))))))))))

      Grad school is very good at producing every possible variety of guilt. I occasionally long for a job that gives me discrete work time and free time. Instead, there's no reason why I *shouldn't* spend every working hour in the library, is there?

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  5. I appreciate the note. I would have wondered, you know? :)
    Don't worry about anything. And good luck with your academic work! *hugs*

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    1. Aww, thank you, Lena! I'll be back before you know it. I've already started drafting a couple of posts, in fact!

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  6. Go kick academia's ass (andteachmetobemorelikeyou)!

    -- a lazy Ravenclaw

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    1. Oh, believe me, a blogging hiatus still leaves me with plenty of ways to procrastinate...

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  7. Oh I hear you SO MUCH, on both the academic and blogging fronts. It's just been a bit overwhelming for me as well, and I tend to just freeze in those situations. Blogging's meant to be fun! Why am I beating myself up about it?!

    I hope you're having a nice hiatus from it... Looking forward to seeing your lovely face and reading your prose.

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    1. For me, I think the problem is that blogging does resemble academic stuff in some ways. There's much less at stake, but it involves typing out my thoughts for people to read, and sometimes even that resemblance is enough to make me freeze up. For what it's worth, I've loved your last few posts! I hope you're settling into London nicely.

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