This is what I do when I feel bad about myself

First I go on Facebook. I always look at the same three people’s profiles. I disagree with their life choices. I shake my head and sigh and roll my eyes and feel superior. Seriously? You call that a status update? Are you insane? But I can’t stop checking. I know the inner working of these people’s lives better than I know anything about the way my own country’s government functions. Better than I know how to bake cookies. Better than I understand basic biology. Not as well as I know New York real estate, or grilled cheeses, or the game SET, but pretty close.

(they may call it a “family game,” but there’s nothing familial about the way I play it. I am ruthless. I take no prisoners. source)

Then I check Twitter. Two more people have followed me. That’s good. I think I have a reasonable number of followers. I’m not sure it’s the right amount. I check to see how many followers The Bloggess has. Holy shit. 215,301. I click over to her blog. She is being funny, in this sort of complicated, dry, extremely clever way. How does she keep doing it, all the time? Who else is a famous blogger? I locate a few. Damn, here’s a post with three-hundred comments under it. THREE-HUNDRED.

Who else is famous in general? There’s always some really young writer whose book just got an incredibly favorable review in the Times. I check out the review. Really? “Frolicking, phantasmic prose”? Can that be a thing? God. I am so lazy. My prose almost never frolics. I don’t have a chance, do I? Probably not.


I wonder whatever happened to Christopher Paolini, the kid who wrote Eragon, with the dragon on the cover, that got made into a movie. When I was seventeen, my brothers used to tease me by saying his name a lot. Because I hated him more than I’d ever hated anyone ever. He was also homeschooled, also a teenager, also a fantasy writer– but his characters spoke in old-timey language that didn’t actually make sense and there was a species called Urgles, and COME ON! IT WAS TERRIBLE!  If only Knopf would have picked me. If only I could somehow find a way to steal Paolini’s life. I’d read he was living in New York City. The big city. By himself. Because he was so famous. GAH! GARBLE! URGLE!

I wonder if he’s still here. If I might run into him on the street sometime. I assume he’s extraordinarily happy, of course.


I check my email. Nothing. Wait! Here’s –oh, it’s LivingSocial. A deal on eyebrow threading. Ow. Is it just me, or have the deals gotten more intimate recently? Liposuction and bikini pole dancing bootcamp and butt waxes and dear lord, my innocence! It’s been ruined by daily deals!

I think about the little, but meaningful, things that I haven’t done. I haven’t sent thank you notes to my aunts for the holiday presents. They went out of their way to buy me things. I didn’t buy them anything. And then I didn’t write them thank you notes. Actually, it is possible that there are still four people who attended my wedding and gave us gifts who have never received a thank you note. This is unforgivable. This is a cardinal etiquette sin.  Even if I personally build (from scratch, with my bare hands) an orphanage at some point, and stay there, helping the lost children of the world until I die– I can’t redeem myself. It’s too late. I also haven’t written back to my friend who wrote to me two months ago, asking to hang out. I haven’t learned how to categorize my email. I know it’s possible. You can put things in folders. But I’ve never tried. Instead, I click “unread” on the stuff I want to get back to. And then I forget about it anyway.


Sometimes I end up on a men’s magazine site, looking at impossibly lovely, airbrushed women in a few strategically positioned shreds of clothing. Sometimes I glance in the mirror leaning against the wall by the table where I’m sitting, and I see in an instant every way in which I can’t compare or compete or even participate. My face seems purposefully designed, as a joke, to be the opposite of their faces. See? It’s totally funny! Look how she can’t look even A LITTLE like ANY of the women these men think are hot! No, guys, but really– it’s funny!!

Now I’m back on Facebook, but this time I’m clicking on the profile of that girl I went to college with who became a model, and my more famous friends, who are also photogenic.

And now I’m watching Grey’s Anatomy and sobbing quietly on the couch. Why did he have to die so suddenly? He had a wife! HE HAD CHILDREN!


It’s almost 3 in the morning. And I’ll probably be able to figure out exactly what to google after this, to make things worse.

I google Kate Mulgrew– who is striking and powerful as Captain Janeway– and discover that she is vehemently anti-abortion and also doesn’t sound as smart as the captain at all. There is a quote from her, saying that Janeway is just like her. She gives some reasons. They don’t sound like Janeway. I think maybe I know Janeway better than she does. Though not as well as I know those three people on Facebook. I am disappointed and also a little embarrassed for being disappointed.

It will be a while before I can pull my eyes off the screen.

I am good at feeling bad about myself. I can get very subtle. I can torment myself in the cleverest ways, as well as the most obvious. I’m just not sure why I want to.

This is what should happen when I feel bad at night:

First, I turn off my laptop. Second, I get into bed. Third, I maybe read the New York Times real estate section on my phone. Forth, I hug Bear and notice that he’s awesome and he’s in bed with me. Fifth, I go to sleep.

This is what happens when I don’t feel bad at night:

First, I turn off my laptop. Second, I get into bed. Third, I maybe read the New York Times real estate section on my phone. Forth, I hug Bear and notice that he’s awesome and he’s in bed with me. Fifth, I go to sleep.

Why is it so incredibly hard to turn off one little laptop? 

(perhaps if I received an order from you, my captain, it would make things simpler. source)

*  *   *

What do you do when you feel bad about yourself? Is it healthier than this? Do you ever google yourself? I do that, too. I forgot to add it above.

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in clashing patterns.

P.S. You should follow me on Twitter. It might make this list shorter.


Kate on February 21st 2012 in being sad, fear, life

36 Responses to “This is what I do when I feel bad about myself”

  1. T.K responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    Sometimes I go to this site when I feel bad about myself ( in terms of body image) cause there is a good chance that you too have felt bad about it at some point and were brave enough to share it with the world. And sometimes I even feel a little better cause at least I don’t have to feel bad about feeling bad cause if there are people out there who are awesome and who have a lot more going for themselves than I do and they still feel bad then maybe we aren’t just weak and whinny and self involved. Maybe it IS the world. Maybe feeling bad is actually the appropriate response, and maybe all that feeling bad and all the internalizing will eventually lead to feeling fed up and feeling angry and that’s a good thing. But there is comfort in having a safe place to feel bad when you do succumb and this site feels like that safe haven.

    It’s a lot trickier for me when I feel bad about things other than body image cause it is a lot more hopeless.

  2. Sarah Rooftops responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    I demand that my boyfriend tells me I’m not. Then, when I don’t believe him (because he’s responding to an order), I email my best friend and drop not very subtle hints and she emails me back with lots of compliments and I take her word because she’s always been trustworthy before.

    But I do also look at better known bloggers’ stats and go, “Hoooooooooooow?!”

    Oh, and I’ve only seen the MST3K version of Eragon but I didn’t rate it. Or that book by that girl the same age as me which was published when I was sixteen.

  3. Kate responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 1:10 pm #

    Hey, Thanks!! That’s awesome. I’m really touched.
    And I think you’re right– feeling bad isn’t weakness, it’s basic and unavoidable. And writing about it always helps me. Because at least I’m making it into something productive.
    Sometimes body image feels like the most hopeless bad thing for me– but writing this blog has really started to change that. I like that you don’t see body image that way.

  4. Kate responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 1:11 pm #

    Oh no! 16?? There’s always someone out there who was published at 16. And we all must go on with our lives and be awesome anyway.


  5. dustwindbun responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    I was just reading this month’s PopSci, about a genius kid who built a nuclear fusion reactor at 17 and is now working on nuclear medicine and cargo-scanning for bombs and I felt. Like. AWFUL. Why do I fail at life? I was supposed to be a prodigy, right, and I was just too lazy.

    And then I came here and I feel a little better now since you feel it too and I don’t feel so alone. I still feel like a loser, but I don’t feel like I’m the only one that has to deal with that feeling.

    So thanks.

    And I never read those books because though I fucking love dragons and YA books, they looked like ASS. And I bet yours would’ve been more fun. So, yeah.

  6. Kate responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    We are not losers. Or maybe we are, but we’re the coolest losers ever. And we’re gonna stick together. :-)
    I really felt like I was supposed to be a prodigy, too. Sometimes I still do. But whatever. There are more important things. Like rocking a football sweatshirt over a maxi dress, which I am currently doing.
    Don’t worry–you can read my YA novel when it comes out. And it will be better. Of course, now I’ve got like seven years on Paolini’s original effort, so it’s not exactly fair to compare us…But so what. YOU’RE GOING DOWN, PAOLINI!
    No, no. Wrong attitude.

  7. Amy responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    I do almost all of those things. Except that I facebook the people that I know hate me and feel superior to me and torture myself with all the pictures of them doing stuff together without me (we used to be friends). Also, all the people who are succeeding at the things I want to do in life but don’t have the courage to do just yet. Damn you, those people.

    I also make lists of all the bad things I’ve ever done, people I’ve hurt and mistakes I’ve made. In my head, not on paper. That would be super-unhealthy.

  8. Diana responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    I am dying to know who the three profiles belong to. Maybe you’ll tell me. I would probably enjoy stalking them, too.

  9. Grace responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Haha oh man, I waste my time this way more often than I like to admit. And then I end up with that sort of queasy, gross feeling…like I just ate too much of that crazy-addictive buttered popcorn they have at movie theaters. Kate, it may be cold comfort, but you’re not alone in these kinds of things…and I know it’s certainly comforting to ME to know I’m not the only one who does stuff like this! Also, on the doubly bright side, I had no idea you had a twitter and I’m now going to go follow you. :)

  10. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    i check the stats on my blog to see what the keywords are…and LMAO because it’s obvious they’re looking for porn…so, i laugh at myself when i feel bad about myself…:)

  11. gwen responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 2:21 pm #

    I know you weren’t fishing for compliments here, but I like your writing SO much more than The Bloggess’ stuff — and I can’t wait to read your YA novel. :)

  12. Kate responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 2:33 pm #

    I would just like to say that I LOVE Set and am also confused as to why it is refered to as a family game. :)

  13. Sooz responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 2:37 pm #

    When I feel bad about myself I run home and sulk and ignore every one and every thing except my kids whom I tell that I am having a bad day and need to put on my sweats and lay on the couch and maybe cry. Then I cry a lot and do absolutely nothing but watch terrible tv that I secretly love and I don’t go back out or see any one until i feel better. Healthier? I doubt it. But its the best i’m able to do when I feel bad.

  14. dustwindbun responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    heh, now that I think about it, when I’m both sad and go on Facebook, which I never do because I hate Facebook, I like to look at my ex-boyfriend’s photos, which sounds really wallow-y, but instead, is because he got married and had like the cutest kid in the entire world and I’m so glad that he got to do that because I don’t plan on having children and if we’d stayed together this absurdly adorable little munchkin would not be. (We’re actually friends, though it took a few years, and his wife is a friend from high school too and is a nice lady so I am really happy for them. Also have I mentioned how cute this kid is?)

    So, maybe channel your facebooking into happy things instead? I don’t know, I only have Facebook so I can see pix of my relatives’ kids when (and *only when*) I care about it.

  15. Kate responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    We’ll talk.

  16. Frankie responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    When I feel really bad about myself or I’ve had an extremely bad day, I buy a carton of Ben and Jerry’s (either cinnamon buns, or creme brulee) and I eat the whole thing, in approximately forty minutes. Then I feel both better and worse simultaneously. I know this is unhealthy, but I really like icecream.

    Also, if I was on twitter I’d follow you. Not just to make you feel better, but because you’re pretty awesome.

  17. Frances responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Nutella. Marathons of Friends (actually quite satisfying) and cutting my hair just on one side of my head.

    Turning out the light might just be the hardest thing. Because the day is over and nothing has been done and tomorrow there will be MORE things to do.

    The only thing that really works is a sleep-time playlist full of hopeful songs. The First Day of My Life is one of my favourites.

    Good luck, sweet dreams x

  18. Lauren of Better In Real Life responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 3:29 pm #

    ah yes. You are having one of these moments, days, weeks. I have these. I mostly wallow and hide. And I, too, watch greys anatomy and cry.

    But then I remember that I’m just chugging along, doing my thing, living my life the best I can. And the people with a bajillion followers on twitter? It really and truly doesn’t make them any more interesting than me. All it means is a click.

  19. Kate responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    So many things seem to depend on a click…

  20. dustwindbun responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    i suppose i should have mentioned what i do when i feel bad about myself, since that’s the direction commenters are heading. if it’s a normal kind of down, i bitch to my mom and make her give me mom-compliments until i get annoyed and that snaps me out of it. if it’s a flat-out-crazy kind of down (no judgement, i legitimately have the crazy), i hide under my bed until either my boyfriend (when we lived in the same state) or my cats come drag me out. something about the turtleyness of having the bed over me calms me. i’m not much of a feelings eater – i kind of wish that sort of thing helped me, because it seems easier, even though i know it’s not.

  21. Kiannah responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 5:52 pm #

    “Why is it so incredibly hard to turn off one little laptop?” My answer: because somehow, deep inside, we think it’ll be easier to distract our selves from uncomfortable feelings than it would to just ‘be’ with them. But the thing is, doing so gives our minds more time to work up more stressful thoughts as offshoots from the original stressful thought! Sometimes, I find that when I’m feeling what I call ‘bad,’ if I just refuse to listen to the thoughts for a minute, and feel the emotion, as it sulks or whatever, usually around my belly, I can’t label it anymore- it just ‘is.’ It might even feel kind of intriguing, colorful, or ticklish– without those pesky stories attached to it. And then I sometimes stop. And think ‘wow, this is part of the human experience. I’m watching sadness, just like I’d watch some picturesque storm.’ Doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try.
    And after that, if it’s before bed, reading my ‘bed time story’ book helps too :) (currently it’s The Hobbit).

    P.S. Have you ever played the card game Monopoly Deal? If you like ruthless games, I bet you’d enjoy it. My aunt called it a “throw each other under the bus game.” Side effects include evil laughter, if played with at least 4 people.

  22. Kate responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    I’ve never played Monopoly Deal. But evil laughter? Sounds awesome. I should get some people to play with me.

    This was SO well put: It might even feel kind of intriguing, colorful, or ticklish– without those pesky stories attached to it. And then I sometimes stop. And think ‘wow, this is part of the human experience. I’m watching sadness, just like I’d watch some picturesque storm.’

    Thanks for the thoughts! I want to try watching my negativity like a storm.

  23. Christi responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    The reason you’re awesome, Kate, is that you’re very much like us. You have bad days and good days. Sometimes you dislike certain parts of your body and other times, you just feel so inexplicably beautiful. The ability you have to explain a situation or memory amazes me. I’m a little bit jealous, actually and find myself going, “That’s exactly how I feel!” You are real.

    The Bloggess is great because she has a husband who loves her in spite of her crazy. How many guys would be okay with all of her adventures? She also proves to us that she can be loved, successful and popular in spite of her bouts of depression and personal issues. She’s funny, but not necessarily someone I can identify with as much.

    So, thank you for your blog. And you are beautiful! I love the short haircut. In 8th grade, I tried it once and ended up looking like a boy with boobs. : / Shoulder-length looks better on me. :)

  24. tirzahrene responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    I’ve gotten better about doing Smart Things when my mood is nuts (I’ve got hormone poisoning today, actually).

    I call my mom sometimes.

    I try to keep it to myself and just warn anyone who’s stuck in my near proximity.

    I managed to come home today without flipping off any drivers.

    I have rum with Coke and lime.

    I talk to friends.

    The most important thing, though, is I feed myself. That’s my number one mood levelizer. And I go to sleep as soon as I can, because I usually feel better in the morning.

  25. Kate responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 7:11 pm #

    I like how many people mention their moms here :-)
    And yes, sleep is a good idea. Things are usually better in the morning.

  26. Val responded on 21 Feb 2012 at 11:53 pm #

    You know, I used to imagine it was only scruffy little old me who always felt second best and inadequate.

    Then I started paying attention somehow, and all the people I thought had the perfect lives?

    Well. Life is complicated. They had their stories too. The parents divorce, the people who died on them, their addicted relative/s, the car accident that left them hospitalized for a whole school year–struggles and difficulties galore.

    One guy I knew in community college who seemed like perfection personified wrote a paper about when his dad fell off some cliff or embankment while they were on vacation and the man DIED.


    Another perfect person with a perfect daughter told me about her many miscarriages and journey through adoption. Okay, it ended well, but the story broke my heart.

    Anyway, what I’m getting at is: don’t assume. That stunning air-brushed model is probably as insecure as we’ve ever been.

    Plus her husband? Hugh Grant was with Elizabeth Hurley when he was arrested with a prostitute. If that doesn’t shoot to hell the whole perfect life picture, well, wow.

    That author at sixteen–the story isn’t all written either. Sometimes early success becomes a very burdensome weight. Look at the array of child actors.

    Everything is better than okay. It is GREAT. love, Val

  27. Aezy responded on 22 Feb 2012 at 8:44 am #

    Long time lurker, first time commenter :)

    Just had to comment since I’m currently taking a years break from a science degree at Cambridge University. I only mention it because it was there that I realised that there would always be someone smarter than me, achieved more younger than me, who did more extra-curriculars, who partied more and who got better grades. It also made me realise that it didn’t matter, because I was still me. I might not have gotten up at 5am in the dark to go rowing every morning or gotten a first on every essay I wrote, but they weren’t going to kick me out for it, that was ok.

    But when I am feeling bad, it sounds a bit strange but I play The Sims 2. Something about being able to control their lives and make sure they have happy and successful ones, even if mine isn’t going amazingly well, makes me feel better.

  28. Kate responded on 22 Feb 2012 at 11:17 am #

    Good point. Envy is too simplistic. It misses the stories. It doesn’t let people be whole people. And sometimes it’s really important to remind ourselves that they are. And also, that there is always someone else, looking at YOU, and thinking, “There’s Val, with her perfect life…”

  29. Kate responded on 22 Feb 2012 at 11:19 am #

    Thanks for commenting! And wow. You play Sims. That’s pretty amazing. Like, if I was writing a cool character who knew how to deal with feeling overwhelmed, I’d have her do that.
    And a science degree at Cambridge? That sounds really hard. And really awesome.

  30. BrokeElizabeth responded on 22 Feb 2012 at 11:21 am #

    When I feel bad about myself, I grab my iPod and go for a long walk around the city whilst listening to dramatic orchestral music. It makes me feel like a superhero. Cheesy, but it always works :) .

  31. Aezy responded on 22 Feb 2012 at 11:54 am #


    Thanks, my friends mainly think I’m odd for getting into it so much but some days it is the one thing I KNOW I can control and do well. So it helps!

    The degree is hard and awesome and pretty much confirms my fascination with life and the universe. It’s also pretty intimidating to be told about all the famous scientists that have studied there before you. Some people don’t cope well with it but it just made me realise that being me was just fine, even if I’m not a child prodigy. Besides, I don’t think that those kinds of kids have much fun, the ones I met tend to lack a sense of humour ;)

  32. Krystina responded on 22 Feb 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    I try not to think about things that usually make me feel sorry for myself. I think the Prozac has a lot to do with it, but I am pretty damn good at it. ;) FaceBook and I have a love/hate relationship. When I see certain former people I went to school with who are off living their exciting lives in another state or city with their new friends and great job….while I’m still in the same city as well as house as when I went to high school…I kinda feel like a boob. Then I think of the pretty cool experiences I have had and the wrecks and surgeries I have lived through..and I know I am a better person for having gone through it. I recently made my Bucket List. It is really long and I am still thinking of things to add to it every day. It makes me smile imangining the things I have yet to check off! If we are able to wake up every morning with a roof over our heads and be able to read this blog, on the internet, we are ALL very lucky. I think that in itself is an acomplishment. BTW, I am now following you on Twitter. I get on Twitter most every day – but I am following several comedians – they are hilarious:) Have a great day Kate.

  33. Deanna responded on 24 Feb 2012 at 1:32 pm #

    When I was much younger and I felt bad about myself I would try and talk to my mom. My mom would yell at me and tell me I was the only person on Earth who felt that way. I grew up believing that no one else ever felt unattractive, unsmart, uncool or Un anything. As I got older, I realized that not only was my mother wrong, she was also in a very odd stage of denial which caused her to get angry at me for bringing out things that were true.

    I have learned to forgive her but she still makes me mad.

    Once we were having dinner with some of her radically liberal friends and one of them was going on and on about how her daughter (who was the same age as my daughter) would never consider attending a school in the south or midwest and would only do small, private, Northeast (college that is). My mom was stuffing all you can eat shrimp into her mouth and half listening. This discussion made mad because at the time, my daughter was at a small Midwestern college (she later transferred to a major upscale Westcoast college)and my mom is still angry with me for spending so much on her education. When I was accepted into an Ivy League school, she went ballistic on me saying we couldn’t afford it and it doesn’t matter where you go to school (odd coming from the wife of a college professor). However, when her friend was saying these things…she ignored it and when I questioned her on it she just said “Oh..well she doesn’t know what she;s talking about.’

    So…to sum things up, it has always been very hard for me to talk to my mother about certain things and I come from a generation that didn’t discuss these things much.

    So…now I learn how to deal with things although my friends and clients have always been a great source for me.

  34. Elena responded on 25 Feb 2012 at 11:14 am #

    I totally understand the skinny-voices syndrom and suffer of it myself. And I think that anything that makes you realize that there are more important things in life that being or not being skinny will help you overcome them, so probably being pregnant can really help since it is a BIG step one takes : ) Congrats for the babyyy!

  35. Luca responded on 27 Feb 2012 at 8:20 am #

    Kate, please never stop writing! Your writing is the kind that I read and I want to shout: FINALLY, someone is like me, and I like her!
    So thank you for making me realize that it is not that bad to be me, since you are definitely awesome, so I am awesome too, for being a little bit similar. (and I am very sure that I am not the only one feeling this, meaning that this is not about me, but about you, the great writer)

  36. Jenn responded on 23 Apr 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    If you are Googling Kate Mulgrew, we are totally best friends waiting to happen.