Thursday, December 16, 2010

Essay: Inner Critic

I wrote this in 2002.  I was trying to break through the incessant negative thinking in my noggin'.  My therapist at the time suggested I describe here he is.

Inner Critic
I call him the Dictator.  He is Napoleonic in stature, stocky as my momma would say.  He barks orders.  He abhors laziness and short-cuts.  He is appalled by fluff and silliness.  "If you are going to do it, do it right," he yells before I pick up the pen.  "Don't waste time" is another favorite maxim.  His face is puffy from screaming and his voice is course like sandpaper.  It seems he is most comfortable wearing an uncomfortable uniform.  He smells of Pine-sol and bourbon.  When he growls in my ear, I do what every little sister of Bella Abzug does...I refuse, resist, and rebel.  The Dictator loathes misspelled words and words used too frequently.  He carries a red pen in his chest pocket that burns me when he uses it.  He tells me I am naive, idealistic, misusing my gifts.  He says I have nothing original to say.  He also like to remind me that writing is a self-absorbed activity and is futile in addressing the problems of the world.  It seems I am responsible for those as well.  He wears polished black boots and his posture is impeccable.  He enjoys ridiculing me and when I am writing, I dream of duct-taping his mouth  and making him sit and listen to me read my worst work.  He yells loudly and tells me I am a dabbler, a dilettante--someone who samples, but cannot master because I have no discipline.  He is generous with finding fault and stingy with silence.  He thinks I am mediocre on good days and that giving up would be the wise choice.  I don't respect him, but I fear him and have lived with fear of him for thirty years.  He does damage to my Spirit when I don't shut him up.

How do I shut him up?  What works the best?  Just like with a child pitching a fit...I ignore him, which infuriates him even further.  And then, I pick up my pen and try again.

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