Write Like Everyone Hates You

I admit, sometimes I can be a special snowflake. Not a self-entitled one, but a little sensitive. My entire sense of self-worth is wrapped up in my academic career and performance.


A couple years ago I sent in my first (and at this point, last) research paper for publication in an academic journal. I didn’t figure I’d go straight to publication, but I thought I would at least try. As my grandpa used to say, “The worst they can do is say no.” But there is worse.

Even though I didn’t think I’d make it to publication, I thought I might get enough constructive feedback that I could make edits and eventually be chosen for an issue. I knew my topic had a place in historiography. It was important and no previous research had been done (you’ll have to take my word on it, my dissertation is pending).

As an assistant editor of a historical journal at the time, I knew what to expect from the submission process being from both sides of the typewriter. Even so, I don’t think I could have been prepared for this.

I was still disappointed when I received the “thank you for your submission but…” letter I knew I was going to receive. I also saw that they had included the three reviewer’s comments. That’s what I saw as the true value of this experience anyways. I was getting free research and writing help from professionals.

The first two letters were extremely helpful, pointing out research holes and that I had taken on too large a topic for a thirty page article (they were right). The third letter, however, was a harsher written murder than I had ever endured before.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t told all through my academic career that everything I touched was gold. I had one professor that would get unintentionally tactless and utter phrases like, “is that it?” or “have you learned nothing?” I had one that didn’t have to say a word, all I had to do was look at her face. I was well aware that I was capable of less than stellar work. Plus, I am a Type A person to a fault. If I see the hint of disappointment I automatically assume what I’ve done is terrible and this person will think I’m stupid and hate me forever. I didn’t think anyone could ever criticize my work nearly as harshly as I did. I, again, was wrong.

This third reviewer, we’ll call him Carl, did not provide a sentence of anything that could be used to better myself. It seemed not about my work but personal. The hate he spewed clearly stated that I was hopeless and I should just never try again. I would share the exact wording, but somehow I have lost the letter. I stuffed it in a drawer somewhere and my memory has blocked out where I put it.

Now the disappointment faded and I was just plain hurt. The other reviewers gave suggestions of how to improve with a sense of “try these things, you’ll get better.” But this third one got personal, stating that I was hopeless and should just stop.

Carl seemed to almost have a personal vendetta. I shared the letter with my advisor at the time. He was enraged and called it unprofessional. I asked him if he knew Carl and he said yes, he had a disagreement with this person and that mere association could be the reason for the scathing letter. I’m still not sure if this is true. My advisor was such a nice man he could have just said so to save what was rest of my already fragile ego.

Sure, I got mad. I ranted and raved. Then, when I stopped talking, it got quiet. Except for Carl, now in my head. When I would write a simple book review, he would whisper ‘Why? You know you’re not good enough. You’re an imposter and soon everyone else will know too.’ My book reviews started getting rejected by journals. I couldn’t enjoy sitting and free writing anymore either. I felt that everything I touched was terrible and worst of all, I was stupid.

Now that I have passed my comprehensive exams, I am to start writing my dissertation. Carl is with me every single day. Some days I become so anxiety-ridden I’m not even capable of the simplest topic sentence. I’ve had a few when he’s been a little quieter and I’ve been able to finish a few pages. Then he returns and I have to resist the urge to delete everything.

I had a professor in my undergraduate say that the real reasons students procrastinate is because they are afraid what they do isn’t good enough. I thought he was overly optimistic at the time and the real reason people didn’t do their work until Sunday night was because they didn’t want to, and there were way more fun ways to spend a weekend. But Carl has made me understand what he meant. He was right. I am procrastinating because I fear what I write will be terrible.

Someday, I hope to finish my dissertation and mail that rat bastard a copy of my diploma (also the professor I had as an undergraduate that called me stupid for not knowing what a Roman forum was, and those who said I couldn’t finish it while holding down a job).

I recently read the paper I submitted for the first time since I received Carl’s insults. The other reviewers were right about it being too large a topic for thirty pages and that I should have included more analysis and what I think rather than just telling the story. But overall, I don’t think it’s absolutely horrid, or worthy of hanging up my historian hat. I will actually use pieces of it in my dissertation. Someday, I hope to also publish it as a book in which I will include Carl in my ackowledgements. There’s nothing that motivates me more than someone telling me I can’t do something. Sure, Carl is in my head on a nearly daily basis, telling me I can’t do it. But dear Carl, watch me.

f you


Hooking Up, Dating, or Whatever the Hell This Is

Have you ever wondered, ‘Am I dating this person?’ or ‘Am I their boy/girlfriend, booty call, etc.” Where the hell do I stand with this person? In today’s culture it can be a little less than vague. I mean, because we’re just supposed to automatically know through our powers of mind-reading.


A Little Background

I married young (stupidly in my case) and never really dated. I just had steady, longterm, monogamous relationships. When I became single I had no idea how this dating thing worked. The last relationship I had that didn’t end in marriage or started to end up that way was in high school. So all I had to go off of is, ‘Well, he didn’t ignore me today and actually drove me home instead of ditching me for his garage band so I must be his girlfriend.’ Not so applicable in the adult world. At least I hope not.


So Here It Is

I started thinking about this during a recent conversation with a friend:

Her: So you’ve hung out multiple times. Are you dating?

Me: Yeah, a few times. We had a great time. Dating? Wait, what?

Her: Are you his girlfriend?

Me: Um, no? He hasn’t specifically asked me to be…so no.

Her: Well are you at least exclusive? [Dating/sleeping with only each other]

Me: Uh…I don’t know, we haven’t talked about it. [Cue frantic thinking, ‘Oh crap, does this guy even like me?’]

[By the way, I’m oh so eloquent when questioned about relationships, can’t you tell?]

I realized that today men don’t ask the parents if they may visit their maiden daughters in a supervised sitting room nor do they always specifically ask “Will you be my girlfriend?” like in the third grade (or high school). This is often known as the “define the relationship” talk if something like this is discussed. It’s creepy as hell if it happens within an hour of meeting a person (actually had that happen) but after a few weeks/months, etc. one does start to wonder. Eventually I just want to say, “Out with it! What is this?” (I don’t advise you do this so abruptly).

I found this article amusing and quite accurate, at least in my case, with dating/hooking up/whatever today. I’m not agreeing this is the most romantic or thrilling progression, nor always the most accurate for everyone, but it is amusing and I find it applicable to my limited dating life thus far…just damn confused. [For the record, the GIFs were inserted by me]


Dating In The Hook-Up Culture: 10 Weird And Confusing Stages Of The Modern Relationship

By Paul Hudson. June 3, 2014. Visit the original article here.

Dating these days is a joke. And not a very funny one at that. I don’t know if it’s because our generation started dating before we hit puberty or whether the Kardashians of the world have ruined what was once a beautiful thing, but the truth is that dating these days is horrible.

Half the damn time you won’t even know if you’re actually dating or not. What was once explainable using a single digit binary code now requires the decimal system.

It’s no longer “Are you dating?” or “Are you not dating?” There are now different stages, one hardly distinguishable from the other – at least while on the inside.

Looking from the outside in, on the other hand, gives shape to the confusing and convoluted dating culture that we have created for ourselves. Here are the more easily recognizable stages:

1. The One-Night Stand.

Regardless of whether you met on the street, in a coffee shop, at your yoga class or in the park, the first date tallies up to one thing: either a successful or failed one-night stand.

It doesn’t matter what the initial intentions are – not as if you know what the other person’s intentions are anyway – on the first date you’re either sleeping together or not. Depending on the results of this stage, you’ll move on to stage 2.


2. The Second Glance.

Seeing as how you were probably highly intoxicated the first time around, you decide to see this person one more time. This decision is most likely the result of you not being certain whether or not the person was good in bed.

You managed to black out sometime in the middle of it all and can’t figure out whether the person was the best or worst sex of your life. Round 2 it is.


3. The Booty Call.

You have officially dubbed him/her, or have been dubbed, worthy of sexual pursuit. Congratulations! You can now move on to phase 3: the booty call. Now it is acceptable for you to text this person at odd hours, preferably when you’re intoxicated or about to be intoxicated, to come over.

In this stage, it isn’t recommended that you refrain from calling the person or see him/her without drinking heavily or taking drugs – it may be awkward. I mean, you’ve only been intimate a dozen times or so… slow down already.


4. The Friend With Benefits.

This is the first stage when you actually matter to the person more than any other slab of meat would. You put in the time and effort, your liver has certainly paid for it and it is now time to finally get to know the person you’ve been having sex with all this time.

Talking is recommended, but beware of throwing any romance into the mix. You’re friends. Not lovers. Keep all the lovey-dovey romance stuff to yourself and, whatever you do, do not look him/her in the eyes when in the midst of coitus. When you’re done, finish with a firm handshake or a high five.

dont like me

5. The Date.

Not sure how you did it – most never make it this far – but you did it… you are now going on your first official date. You’re not yet “dating” in the traditional sense, but you are going on dates.

I understand this can be confusing, but what about this process isn’t? The first couple of dates are crucial as they will decide whether or not you will be moving forward to the following stages or if the two of you will be “too busy” to see each other in coming weeks.

This is one of the trickiest stages as often it can lead to being bumped up a few stages ahead of schedule. Or, as I have already mentioned, it could be the end of the road.


6. The Fling.

After a couple of dates, it turns out that you aren’t really interested in each other. You enjoy sleeping with each other and even enjoy each other’s company, but you can’t see yourself together in the long run.

The feeling is mutual – you both know that whatever it is that the two of you have going on won’t last very long, but you decide that you want to have fun while it does. Flings are fun and usually harmless. However, this stage can look a lot like stage seven: the stepping-stone.


7. The Stepping-Stone.

This stage is like the fling stage with one critical difference: Only one of you knows that the relationship won’t last. While you might be beginning to consider the other a real partner, the other thinks of you as a means of getting into someone else’s pants.

Well, maybe not exactly a means of getting there, but a comfortable resting area while you look for a better watering hole. You like the sex and you even like the person you’re having sex with… you just don’t want to be with him/her for the long haul.

You consider this person a necessary stepping-stone before you can settle with the right person – or he/she considers you as such. One of you is going to get hurt after this process… but you may have skipped it entirely and moved on to stage 8.


8. The Backup.

You have now been dubbed – or vice versa – good enough to be with. Unfortunately, you’re not good enough to be with right now. You’re good enough to keep around in case things don’t work out with anyone else, but to date you, really date you, at the moment would be silly.

These sorts of relationships get incredibly complicated, neither party really knowing what is going on as neither wants to completely let go.

The good news is, you have a safety net to fall on in case nothing else works out. Or at least you do at the moment. No one wants to be a backup indefinitely.


9. The Boyfriend/Girlfriend.

Wow. I mean, seriously. You should be proud of yourself. Making it all the way to official status in our day and age is impressive – well done. You can now throw on the romance and allow yourself to finally have feelings for the individual.

You can start to be yourself and begin to actually care for the person you have been “intimate” with for oh-so very long. The only thing that you should keep in mind is that getting here doesn’t guarantee that you graduate from the dating scene to marital status.

In fact, most relationships of such caliber fail miserably. But cheer up! You can at least update your Facebook status and make all your friends jealous!


10. Lost In Translation.

This isn’t so much a stage as it is the platform holding all these stages. In this day and age just about everything gets lost in translation, but mostly because there is very little communication to actually translate.

Most people keep themselves closed off and sheltered, regardless of how intimate they’ve become with another person. Everybody is afraid to get hurt and afraid of possibly, inadvertently, giving up the opportunity to get into someone better’s pants.

Most of the time you won’t know what stage you’re in, were in or are headed to. You won’t be sure if the person cares about you or is only using you for amusement. The theory is that, with time, you’ll either find someone who won’t take you down this road.

Maybe it will come with maturity. Maybe you won’t be alone forever. Or maybe you’ll get to run through these stages for the rest of your life. No one knows! That’s half the fun!