The huge green slimy monster skulks in the dark recesses of my brain, taking up precious space, emitting noxious smells. He sits there, not speaking, not moving, just being. That is, until I wake up, then he wakes too, he stretches slowly, oh so slowly, and comes to life. First he moves a long green knuckly finger, the endless horny nail scraping against the spongy floor of my brain. Then the rest of his body creaks to life. He leans forward until the weight of his hideous oozing body is resting on his hands and he painstakingly lumbers to the forefront of my brain where he’ll spend the day commenting on each and every one of my thoughts and actions.
“Oh, give it up, you know you can’t write.”
“No one’s going to read that you know? Why are you bothering?”
“Don’t ask stupid questions, especially when you know the answer.”
“Go on, eat that spoonful of Nutella, it’s not like you’ll ever lose the weight anyway.”
“No one likes you. Deal with it.”
And his personal favorite, the one he falls back on when inspiration fails:
“You suck.” It’s simple, devastating, and to the point.
He is Egmos; The Evil Green Monster of Self-doubt. He is my inner critic. He poisons my days and cripples my self esteem. He makes sure I flounder when I should be swimming with confidence. I hate him, but I’m powerless when faced with his slime covered sneer.
Most days I never let him stir. As soon as that first finger starts to twitch I rev up my mantra spitting machine and I start up my power chant: “I’m smart, I’m pretty, I can do anything I set my mind to.” Soon enough I can get out of bed, shower, and get on with my day. If the mantra isn’t working, I pull on my favorite boots and square my shoulders and I chant louder. Usually that works, but some days I wake up already down; I haven’t slept much, I’ve put on more weight than I care to admit, I remember that my cat is dead, that I live on the other side of the world from my mother and my friends. On those days Egmos is in his favorite spot long before I even make it to the bathroom and by the end of the day I’m a blubbering mess of self pity.
Clearly I need some of this stuff.
How about you? What does your inner critic look like?