Sucker for Punishment

A fiction piece of mine got rejected by a market where I really thought it would fit. I’ve also been bracing for a whole wave of declinations of papers/grants/stories, wondering what the heck is wrong with me that I choose to subject myself to this in perpetuity. Sadly, none of this stops me from wasting time on the web. Long story short, a poor blogger MD who is facing some breastfeeding challenges received the following piece of unhelpful but hopefully diverting “advice” as my comment.


Take up a hobby where you will be subject to constant rejection. (I write short fiction and get rejections weekly; nay, daily!) Take up writing research grants as a significant portion of your job, thereby assuring you will be mercilessly pummeled with a continuous stream of scathing criticism from the NIH/NSF/myriad funding agencies. .

Completely lose confidence in own competence on any front, thereby getting cured of all type-A/perfectionist/control tendencies. Get crushed by refusals some more, just in case you manage to raise your head a bit and contemplate possible non-suckage in any realm for more than three nanoseconds, because we can’t have you entertaining such ludicrous ideas.

Realize that the fact that your kids are gorgeous, healthy, and well fed is a miracle since you have no competencies whatsoever. Gratefully reach for pumped milk or formula when facing a fussy child paired up with empty breasts in the evening. Pass no judgement on self because you have already established that you suck as much as it is humanly possible to suck. Contemplate becoming a “you suck” meme.

Write an essay about motherhood challenges, submit it for publication and get it rejected four dozen times, thereby exhausting all the markets. Serves you well; you don’t want to start feeling like you’re competent as a mother or a writer, do you?

Keep sucking. Realize that you suck so much that perhaps this means you, in fact, excel at sucking. Have mind literally explode while trying to resolve this cognitive dissonance. Annoy husband, as he now has to clean bits of brain from the sofa cushions. Feel vindicated because, had he listened to you and bought the leather sofa you wanted, he would now not have to scrape your gray matter from in between the ridges of corduroy upholstery.

Posthumously receive a large NIH/NSF grant, acceptance letters from top literary magazines for your fiction, and the La Leche League Most Devoted Breastfeeder Evah Medal of Honor.

Ha-ha. No. Even posthumously, you just suck.


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