The Bitch Slap: You CAN’T What?

bitch slap can'tY’all know the slapping most always begins with me. This week is no different.

I sat down to finish a blog post I’d started on yesterday morning and the further and further I got into it, the shittier it got. No, really – it was shit-TAY. So shitty, in fact, that I deleted the entire thing and proceeded to post THIS on my Facebook wall:

Redhead Writing 3

So, I guess you guys are cool with me being a whiny little bitch about not being able to write. I’m on deadline for two books and all I could do yesterday was lament about my can’ts and chug endless quantities of Vitamin Water Zero. And while I did actually get some editing done on Book Number One, the day was a colossal waste with regards to productivity.

And this Bitch Slap is on me.

Can’t. What the fuck is up with that? Since when have I been a can’t person? If I don’t, then it won’t get done. If I don’t do it, then who the hell is going to? Apparently I’ve led myself to believe that a mythical elephant is going to soar across the skies and crap Do It Fairies into my backyard…and in such case, the dogs wouldn’t eat them and they’d fly into my house/office and start DOING? Read that sentence again. There is so much wrong with that sentence, I don’t know where to begin. (The most glaring error being that my dogs would definitely eat the fairies and would eat them on the sofa so I would have to wash all of the cushion covers three times to get the fairy juice out.)

During what’s probably been the most incomprehensibly screwed-up ten months of my life, I’ve had days where I can’t. Where breathing was a chore and I didn’t have enough hands to pick up the pieces…the kitchen was too far away so I didn’t eat and the garage was even further, so leaving my house was out of the question. But today, I sit in the midst of one of the most incredible years of my professional life, wondering when the personal is going to catch up. So when the professional gets all screwy, I pull a can’t maneuver?


I believe, if in no god or no single political party, in the beauty of human resilience. I bounce, goddammit. And when I short-change myself by pulling a “bank’s empty!” move and let the can’ts take hold, well…what the hell is all of this for then?

What can’t I do?

Of all the things I can come up with to put on a list, there is only one out of my control: changing the past. All of that shit’s done and gone and might as well be in boxes in the basement with all those stuffed koala bears and bowling trophies and a spider or two named Bob. But if I tell myself I can’t change things, then I might as well quit now.

There really is nothing out of my influence. I think control is an illusion. When we spend all of our time trying to control things, the most beautiful things in life pass us by – those that just happen. And it’s possible that if I step back and put on my big girl britches from Frederick’s, I might find that I have some kickass influencing to get started.

So if you, dear readers, find you can’t, the odds are you won’t. And if you don’t, no one else will. Stop it with the ongoing cycle of pity parties (and I do commit to joining you in abandoning these soirees as well).

So what are you waiting for? Tell the contractions to stick it. Can’t, don’t, won’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t, haven’t, aren’t, isn’t and any of the other fuckers that they keep company with…

Beat it. Because I could. So I did – I just wrote an entire blog post about it.

You’ve been slapped. (and so have I…)

45 replies
      • Shanan Molnar
        Shanan Molnar says:

        I am an event planner -we could make a BITCH Slapping Party that would rock the world… Maybe the theme for releasing your books – 1 and 2….  Maybe not ROCK the world but SLAP it into a much more productive perspective.  Like with the entire society having removed their recto-cranium inversion….. 

  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Thanks for that.  

    I’m at a time in my life where I’m playing the domestic role for a few years, and I appreciate it when someone in the professional world talks about things that apply to me, even if I’m drowning in poopy diapers, dish soap, and bills.  Instead of sitting here, whining about my husband and all of my friends going to grad school, I should embrace my current position, and get. shit. done.  I know I’ll go back to school when my husband’s done, and I’ve got the heinously awesome job of raising a kid.  That’s what I’ve been handed, and that’s what I’m going to do…and I’m going to do it well.  And I’m going to quite my damn whining while I’m at it.

    Anyway, thanks for the slap.

    • Killian
      Killian says:

      The phrase “heinously awesome” to describe raising kids just made my day.

      It gets better, I promise.  Mine are now 19, 18, and 16, and they are unbelievably amazing.  Still fucking expensive, though.  =)

  2. Lucinda DeVries
    Lucinda DeVries says:

    As always, you make me think. I am still working on my Higher Banana and this is super relevant to that. As I begin to work on starting a consulting business (marketing for small businesses and contract work for marketing teams) I am having to put my “can’t” in the can. Because I can do this! I want to do this! I need to do this!

    Some day we need to get together for coffee and slap each other in person! Sounds kinky but totally isn’t.

  3. Autumn Thompson
    Autumn Thompson says:

    I needed this today!  Being out of work, thinking starting your own business was a good idea and watching the mailman(lady) deliver nothing but bills can really get you down.  But, no one is going to turn it around for me.  No one is going to make my behind go after what I want expect me.  No one is going to convince potiental job prospects that I am qualified but me. Thanks for the slap!

  4. Katy
    Katy says:

    Love the slap, as always.

    I’ve been in the mud myself this week. I try to not make it an all-or-nothing situation. I still believe I can write, but not perhaps in the immediate moment. When I notice that I’ve become a bobblehead, sitting in front of a blank computer screen and drooling for hours on end, I have to take step back, shake it off, do something else and come back to it later. If I’m too bitchy with myself and crack the whip too hard, then I dig my heels in deeper and the writing blocks for longer. (I’m a Gemini. Being at cross-purposes with myself is easy.) I think it’s about compassion for me, and trusting that I’ll get the damn job done eventually….soon.

  5. Annie Sisk
    Annie Sisk says:

    The Committee To Run Annie’s Life Far Better Than She Actually Manages On Her Own has met and voted unanimously to kindly request that you continue the bitch slaps until morale and productivity improve. With kind regards, Madame Secretary.

  6. Camilo Olea
    Camilo Olea says:

    ‎”I think control is an illusion. When we spend all of our time trying to control things, the most beautiful things in life pass us by – those that just happen.” Yes, indeed. Thanks for pointing this out to your readers. 🙂

  7. Sherree W.
    Sherree W. says:

    Best line in a paragraph ever “…a mythical elephant is going to soar across the skies and crap Do It Fairies into my backyard…and in such case, the dogs wouldn’t eat them and they’d fly into my house/office and start DOING?…”

    I’ve been waiting for days, guess they’re not coming. Damn. Bitch slap deserved.

  8. Zero Dean
    Zero Dean says:

    Right on. Been there, done that. Even the scrapping a blog post — because it was something I needed to write — only to find out it wasn’t something I wanted to post — especially as the alleged “can do” king. 😉

    Rock on.

  9. John Trader
    John Trader says:

    Timely slap for me Erika, thanks.  I’ve been hemming and hawing over starting my own business and have three proposals to write hanging over my head laughingly mocking my inability to get my cheeks in gear.  I guess I briefly loss sight of what really matters in my endeavor – the power to influence others and induce positive change.

  10. Chris Tucker
    Chris Tucker says:

    Haven’t commented in a while but couldn’t go without saying a monumental Thank You today. Right on time, right on target. Buh bye now – I got stuff to do. I heart this post.

  11. Chris Tucker
    Chris Tucker says:

    Haven’t commented in a while but couldn’t go without saying a monumental Thank You today. Right on time, right on target. Buh bye now – I got stuff to do. I heart this post.

  12. SL Clark
    SL Clark says:

    Publishing CEO here, I’m going to regret this, despite commenting *after* the Mainland early birds. There’s what, maybe 150+ comments heading to my Inbox after I push Post?

    Impressive slap! Can’t, won’t; another beautiful day! A string of gray, rainy productive days is NOT going to happen here in Paradise. I’m sooo far behind, my authors are heaping dino dung on me. Poor me.

    If you miss your deadline, a book won’t make SXSW. If the enormous pub co. craps out, 100’s of authors are screwed. New York is the current epicenter, it won’t be for long. Create or die; Viva la Revolution!

  13. Oscaramyr
    Oscaramyr says:

    Okay, I loved this (and boy did I need to read/hear it.
    Howeva…. While I get your point about ‘can’t’, I hereby grant you a free pass on ‘won’t’. Everyone needs to take a bike ride now and then – so I give you permission to take an hour with the bumper sticker, “Just don’t do it,” affixed to its fender.

  14. Heather Atton Cook
    Heather Atton Cook says:

    I strongly agree. 🙂 I have been contemplating all the “can’t”s in my life. I used to spend a lot of time stressing about what I didn’t have the nerve to do… just because I knew someone in my life thought I couldn’t do it. What if they were right? So I just wouldn’t… ugh, I throw up in my mouth a little just thinking about how I held myself back because I just thought someone else was right and I couldn’t do something…

  15. Carol Hess
    Carol Hess says:

    Ouch!  That felt good — just what I needed.  I would really, really like to see elephants crapping Do It fairies though.  Are you sure it isn’t going to happen?  Pretty please?

  16. Leon Noone
    Leon Noone says:

    G”Day  Erika,
     Wow! Now you’ve invented a new form of abuse: slapochism. Just hope that Danny Brown doesn’t find out. And someone said innovation on the web was dead.

    Like I keep telling managers; you have people problems not because your staff can’t do what you want but because they wont.

    Now The Redhead agrees with me. Can life get any better?

    I’m breathless. Keep on slapping you clever girl.



  17. Tiffany
    Tiffany says:

    I’m very deserving of (and embracing) this slap today, especially to make up for the past few months. Today’s the day when all those contractions (and their fucking companions) can stick themselves in my cats’ litter box.

  18. BNight76
    BNight76 says:

    Wow! All I did was google “how to bitch slap myself into productivity” after a lackluster start to 2014 and actually got some sound advice. Finally someone I can understand.


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