Perhaps I am wired backwards, but I find things that are supposed to be inspiring just the opposite of that.

For example, I have a very impressive friend who is an international woman of mystery. She’s been paid to go to exotic places all over the world — India, Barbados, the Netherlands, just to name a few — to present her research. She earned a PhD from a top-tier ivy league school. She’s currently an NSF scholar  and Microsoft Research also wanted her. Her daily life includes glamorous things like being treated $200 meals by men who know the restaurant owner personally.

She doesn’t inspire me in the least, though there’s hardly a better model for true success in life. What she does is make me feel like an loser layabout that has squandered her life doing meaningless and trivial things. My childish response to this is drowning my feelings of inadequacy in fried chicken and re-runs of trashy reality TV shows.

On the other hand, things like paternity testing episodes of the Maury Show, where guests appear to be barely literate, are my inspiration. Shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom inspire me also. They’re so comforting. My thinspiration isn’t gorgeous girls like supermodel Lindsay Ellingson, either. I’m “thininspired” by doing a Google image search of SSBBW. Please don’t try that at work if you don’t know what it means. Your wail of revulsion may raise eyebrows.

I am driven so much more powerfully by a clear image of what not to be than by ideals on pedestals. I would be a much better person if I could find something worth emulating in everyone. Rather, I find something I mustn’t ever do. You see, my strange wiring has made me stilted and particular about behaviors without actually improving me as a person. Alas!

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