We all have things we put off sometimes — be honest, there is something you’re supposed to be doing right now as you read this roundtable! (That doesn’t mean you should stop; it can wait.) That’s a whole different beast, though; the thing that we aren’t just procrastinating right now, but that we always do, even though we know it’s a persistent problem and we are maybe slowly ruining our lives as a result. Fun! Anyways, here’s ours.
Heather Hogan, Senior Editor
Just rinsing out my tea mug and using it again! I don’t know why I can’t do this! It’s not even on my to-do list but it’s the task that plagues me every day! I finish a cup of tea and I put the cup in the sink and then when I want more tea I get a new cup out of the cabinet and on and on and on until I have an entire dishwasher just full of tea cups. It’s ridiculous! Especially because I drink multiple cups of tea throughout the day!
I also strive to keep my inbox clean, but: lol.
Laneia, Executive Editor
Making any appointment with a medical professional. I don’t know what my major damage is, but I’m capable of adding this to my weekly to-do list for 60+ weeks before actually doing it. I guess I’m terrified of the results?? And I have an aversion to leaving my home and driving somewhere where I’ll be forced to talk about myself, much less talk about myself while I wear a paper gown. I mean.
Last fall, because of Heather’s example, I did finally see a gynecologist for the first time in a LITERAL DECADE, and wow how my anxiety levels spiked all over the damn place! But I went!! And then, after smears and biopsies and other things that were horrible and invasive and painful, my doctor informed me she was moving to NEVADA, leaving me with ONLY MALE DOCTORS at that particular practice and no. That is not going to happen. So now I have to find another place altogether and y’all, the ‘Find a Doctor’ tool on my insurance company’s website IS BROKEN and has been FOR MONTHS so I can’t even look to see who’s in my fucking network!!!!
So maybe this is why I don’t go to the doctor ever!! BECAUSE THEY MAKE IT SO IMPOSSIBLE. Wow I love a good yell first thing on a Monday!
Carrie Wade, Staff Writer
Ironing, dry cleaning, or anything more complicated than putting my clothes in the wash, moving them to the dryer, then putting them away is not happening. Or at least not with any sort of regularity. It makes no sense because I am a person who likes things neat and clean and also likes feeling fancy. And yet! I think I resent the amount of work ironing takes for someone with questionable fine motor skills, but I resent the idea of paying someone to do it for me even more — hence why dry cleaning likewise never happens. I eventually get it together every time but it takes at least twice as long as it should.
(I did in fact drop off my dry cleaning immediately after writing this answer. Thank you for keeping me honest.)
Kayla Kumari, Staff Writer
Oh god this is so boring but literally the only thing I drag my feet on doing or just don’t do altogether is anything having to do with going to the post office. I just! Hate going to the post office! But who doesn’t? Most of the time I complete my entire to-do list in a timely-ish manner, because not doing so would just cause me way too much anxiety, but when it comes to mailing anything important, I have been known to drop the ball. For a freelancer, I’m pretty on-fucking-top of my taxes in terms of making sure I’m saving the right amount, but then I’ll miss my quarterly payments and have to pay a small penalty because I didn’t mail the check in on time. It’s real dumb. But I just don’t wanna go to the post office ever.
Ditto the pharmacy though. I also hate going to the pharmacy. Back when I was on birth control, I would put off picking it up all the time. And recently, I was prescribed a new antidepressant and waited, like, three weeks before picking it up! Not good! I have a lot of anxiety about medicine (which medicine can HELP ME WITH, OF COURSE!) and sometimes just getting to the pharmacy to pick it up is such a roadblock for me mentally.
Erin Sullivan, Staff Writer
I’m never going to make the pasta. I’m just not gonna do it. Just take the stuff outta the bag and put it in the water and go, bitch. One time I tried to make homemade ravioli without a pasta roller and thought I’d made it thin enough – could read through it even – and ended up making what I assume is still a sentient batch of beings out in the world, wreaking havoc with their angry, mealy pod-bodies. May god forgive me.
Creatrix Tiara, Staff Writer
Shred my old documents with identifying information. After a fruitless search for a friend with a shredder, I just got my own. But I haven’t unboxed it yet. I’ve just been too busy. Gah.
That and consult with a lawyer to figure out my eligibility for Australian citizenship, but given that the rules change every five seconds I don’t know how useful that is.
Alaina Monts, Staff Writer
Oh wow, I’m not sure about this because I actually thrive off of getting a to-do list done. Like, I won’t make a to-do list unless I can be absolutely positive that I’ll finish most of it, because seeing an unfinished to-do list too many days in a row is a recipe for depression.
But I guess that right now, the thing sitting on my to-do list but not getting done is emailing my advisor. I’ve made a few professional fuck ups in the past six months, and I find apologizing in a professional context so much harder than in a friendly context. Like, what reason does my advisor have to accept my apology? She has no real personal relationship, so I feel like it’s harder to prove to her that I do really mean my apology. I’m scared she’ll think I’m not really sorry and won’t want to have a professional relationship with me anymore, and some masochistic part of me would rather sit in this weird liminal space where our relationship just sort of stays in stasis. I just…I hate doing things wrong. And I hate having to fix things I did wrong because then I have to admit that I did something wrong! Everything is very hard, you know? I do not write this task on my to-do list most days.
Molly Priddy, Staff Writer
It took me two months to check my new mailbox when I moved. I kept putting it off, because it’s at the opposite end of the complex, I don’t have my mailbox keys, nobody is sending me mail anyway, do I even exist, does mail stop arriving for someone who has stopped existing, will the mailman be mad at me for not checking it, anything important I ship to my work anyway.
PS I checked it and people were sending me mail for sure.
Alexis Smith, Staff Writer
I’ve technically been in a coding bootcamp for a year and I’ve just been stuck. I had two daily reminders: write for 15 minutes! and code! and I never got the second part done. My mentor was leaving the bootcamp and I had ghosted for a while because I’d fallen so far behind and even though she’s been nothing but supportive, I was like I’M A FAILURE DON’T LOOK AT ME. They were acquired by another company last year and totally changed the format of the program about halfway through my time there and I was angry and stressed and really have basically cut off my own nose to spite my face, by like avoiding coding and learning about programming because instead of using my words to talk about how the changes weren’t great, that I didn’t want a new mentor because I specifically chose her for a reason (I DON’T WANT MEN TEACHING ME ANYTHING), I just did what I usually do and just like waited for it to be long enough that I could berate myself about not doing something so that I could fulfill the belief that I’m a failure.
Anyways, I started coding/learning again and it’s a lot better when I like… decide to do it for me instead of a pace I can’t keep up with, who knew!
Archie Bongiovanni, Cartoonist
Call my dad. My dad’s good, we have an okay relationship. He’s supportive, caring, and depressed. He writes me weekly postcards, texts often and in the past two months started to use they/them pronouns for me without me asking him to. He’s the sole care-taker for my mom and could use some support and friendship and he isn’t even demanding about it: he just wants a fucking phone call. The EASY response to why I never call him is because there’s a big time difference between where I live and where he does. I think the actual reason is a bit more complicated. He was great in so many aspects, but was very depressed and so so angry when I was growing up. I think I’ve checked out from a lot of it when I was a kid, so even now it’s hard to fully grasp the full extent because I feel so removed from it all. I’m also so used to extending empathy that I feel like I can excuse and understand any behavior no matter how harmful it was. So now he’s older and experiencing waves of melancholy and loneliness and I’m like “wow that’s sad”, but ultimately feel just as checked out as I was as a kid.
Also though, maybe I’m just a bad kid.
Carmen Phillips, Staff Writer
MY LAUNDRY!!! Every Monday I open a new spread in my passion planner and I write in my To-Do List, “Try to do your laundry on time this week. Try to fold your clothes before the pile grows larger than your actual couch.” Every week I fail.
Objectively speaking, laundry is such a simple task! I’m even lucky enough to have a machine in my apartment!! At least when I had to drag my clothes to the laundromat, I had a viable excuse. Now? It’s just a mental block. I hate the effort it takes to fold my panties into a pretty square when they’re just going to end up balled together in my drawer after a few days. Also, why do we have sheets for our beds? They are awful. There’s no way to fold them without dragging them on the dirty floor, which defeats the entire purpose of laundry to begin with! That’s right, I said it.
(My second place finisher is probably “returning phone calls or texts from friends and relatives.” I have social anxiety y’all! Even when I know you love me, it takes a helluva lot for me to respond. We are just all imperfect humans out here trying to do our best. Forgive me.)
Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor
I’m a messy person; I thrive in chaos. I more or less know where my stuff is and like, I’m not gross, but I’m not great about cleaning my room. At any given time, my dresser is covered with clothes I’m eventually getting rid of but haven’t decided what to do with yet, a box of nonsense is sitting in the middle of the floor, my bed is never made ever. I recognize I am an adult and I would be more efficient/feel better about myself if I did these things, but unless someone I care about is coming over, I am probably nottttt in a hurry to deal with it.
I recently dealt with this by going all Bobby from Queer Eye on my room, purchasing a couch, moving furniture, painting, installing shelves. Now I have a cute room that’s still a giant mess. I guess it’s an improvement.
Calling and making appointments. For literally anything. I just… hate calling places to make appointments? Bless us all, it’s now often possible for me to book a haircut online, so at least that’s taken care of. I think I get overwhelmed by figuring out when I have time to go to an appointment, but beyond that I’m not sure what stops me from doing it. A bizarre twist to this is that when I have access to a landline phone — like when I’m at my Mom’s or when I had an office job and had a desk with a landline — I’m slightly better at making appointments. Something about the persistent inadequacy of cell reception just stresses me out. If I’m at the doctor and they’re like, “do you want to book your next appointment right now or do you want to call?” I’m always like NO WE HAVE TO BOOK IT NOW. OTHERWISE WHO KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN!!!!
Alyssa Andrews, Cartoonist
I am next-level when it comes to finishing 70% of a project and then burning the hell out and procrastinating the last 30% until it’s deadline time and it absolutely has to be done. I have a really deep-seated fear of failing, and I’m always really critical of myself and it often leads to a lot of anxiety in the finish line. The good news is that I do somehow manage to push through and get things done, and make the work I want to make, but the tail-end of my to-do’s are often really hard for me to get through and I’d give A N Y T H I N G to be better at it.
I’m also really bad at remembering your birthday. sorry, pal.
Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor
Oh god. Anything related to email? Like, my inbox is never going to be at zero. I want it to be – I dream of the day when that may become a reality – but I think it would take weeks at this point to go through all the junk and find the stuff that’s really important, and even then how relevant is it to respond to an email someone sent in 2015 because I’ve “finally found the time to answer this properly!” That’s the problem – when something appears in my inbox and it looks like it might take longer than 4 seconds to answer it, I set it aside so I’ll “answer it properly when I have time” and, well. Here we are. To everyone I owe an email to – freelancers, editors, my mother, my current crush, my crush from 2015, Autostraddle readers, all the people I’m forgetting because my email gives me so much anxiety I kind of black it out of my brain most of the time…I sincerely apologize. I’m probably never going to email you. At this point I may not even respond to a text or a DM because everything’s become a bit too instant and a bit too overwhelming, ya know? You should call me. I miss phone calls. I’m sorry.