Anonymous said: any advice for climbing out of depression after you make a fool of yourself publiclly?
I could make an offhanded joke about this, but it is — hilariously — something with which I have a lot of experience.
I think the key to this is to force yourself to change your thinking about what you did to make a fool out of yourself and the subsequent depression. Humans in general respond badly to showing their asses in public, but I think in our crippling anxiety about it we forget how constantly, endlessly, always we are making hideous hilarious embarrassments of ourselves. And so is everybody else.
We spend so much psychic energy worrying ourselves sick about what other people think. I know people who sit there and obsess over their lost opportunities for staircase wit, for something else they should have said to explain. Or they come back awkwardly a week later looking sweaty and miserable and try to add to what they told me ages ago, that I already forgot about. Nobody spends as much time reviewing and worrying over what you’ve done and said as much as you do.
(This is presuming you haven’t like, committed murder one or something, in which case the situation changes a bit.)
As impossible as it sounds, I think one of the major indicators of adulthood I’ve noted is the ability to just embarrass the shit out of yourself, sigh, and keep on going. It’s not comfortable, but it’s a necessary skill. But the reason we manage it is because we’ve had a lot of opportunities to take stock of the situation and recognize we’re taking this harder than anybody else, nobody remembers this other than me, and that in the long run, it doesn’t matter. These moments and these few people cannot dictate your life. You’ve got too much stuff to do. You owe it to yourself not to let this eat you up.
I have two actual not fucking around real life examples.
One — when I was in high school, I was so fucking terrible at math. Like garbage thrown in a dumpster that will filled with jizz and also on fire levels of bad. For reasons inexplicable, I signed up to take AP calculus AB anyway, because I am Asian and I thought that’s just what we did. I made it through the first quarter with a C- because I went to after school tutoring. For reasons that don’t bear further exploration at this juncture, I managed during second quarter to accidentally offer my math teacher sex in exchange for a better grade. I’m not joking: I accidentally did this. In a hallway. At school. I said, “Oh God. Did I say that out loud?” and then I fled the scene and didn’t make eye contact for like, 6 million years. I stopped going to tutoring, for obvious reasons. I also bombed out the rest of my year — straight Fs. It killed my GPA, and may or may not have played heavily into why I didn’t get into some of my more-preferred at the time universities. That was a stupidly high price to pay to indulge in my self pity and mortification; I should have brazened it out, and I fully believe with the benefit of age and further humiliation that after an awkward few weeks, it would have been fine.
Two — my first Real Internship, I ended up walking home from the first day of work with the back zipper on my pencil skirt busted wide open. Thankfully, I was wearing a cherry red underpants and sashaying down a major thoroughfare in Washington DC, so I assume every human person in America including all of my coworkers saw me. I realized this when I got home and burst into a combination of mortified tears and hysterical laughter. I forced myself to go to work anyway the next day because I had to go to work the next day, and when one of my coworkers — who had waved at me to try and get my attention as I was leaving the office — asked me, “Uh, how was getting home yesterday?” I just stared straight at her and said, “IT WAS FINE.” And you know what? It was. It turned into this big dumb story that I tell youths at my office whenever they start freaking out about something embarrassing they’ve done. It’s fine.
That small feeling you sometimes get, where you look at the sky or the ocean or a sea of people milling around a city, and you feel meaningless and tiny? That feeling is not the whole truth, but it is true: you’re a small part of the larger fabric. Whatever you’ve done to embarrass yourself is an even smaller part of that, a tiny microfraction of who you are and your life. Don’t let it ruin the rest of it for you, because in 10 years it’s going to be an amazingly funny story.
Good luck. Let yourself cry it out, feel awful for a little while. But don’t let this own you for any longer. It’s too small to let it hold you down.
Good recs! The lovely anon might also try Chasing Aphrodite: similar to Loot but with more focused on the gory details of the getty scandal. Or perhaps The Man Who Made Vermeers, biography of a forger working during WWII.
I’ve never read that book! I LOVE details on the Getty scandals though, so I’ll definitely have to check it out. Have you ever read Rogue’s Gallery by Michael Gross? It’s about the Met and I assume it is similar to Chasing Aphrodite. I haven’t had a chance yet but it’s on my vacation reads list!
moggiesandtea replied to your post “Hello anon, I also hate tumblr with the fire of a thousand suns! This…”
Survey art history classes are the classes art history majors try to avoid taking until they absolutely have to, because yes, too much memorization of dates.
Jealous. Surveys were the prereqs to all the higher level/more interesting art history courses at my school, so I endured a lot of bitter cold long afternoons in dark rooms memorizing fucking Attic pottery. I FUCKING HATE ATTIC POTTERY.