I live with a bully I can’t escape. She whispers in my ear–every hour of every day, every month of every year. Here are some of the things she likes to say:
You are an idiot. Don’t fool yourself into believing you are smart, that you are worth something, that you can pull it off. Trust the doubt lurking around the corner, it’s there with good reason.
I am here to remind you that you know nothing. That you are incapable. What you do manage to pull off, honestly, is not remarkable. Most anyone else could do it. So don’t bother basking in the glory of your meager achievements. Those people who compliment you? They are just being nice. They all know, like I do, that you’ll never be as witty, as clever, as sharp or as smart as they are.
Are you kidding me? That idea is crap, shit, pathetic! Really? Is that the best you can come up with? How do you live with yourself? Don’t bother with your creativity and your writing. Definitely don’t send it to anyone. They will mock you behind your back. They will joke how they thought, for just a moment, that you might be funny, nice, with the occasional clever remark, but when it comes down to what counts, you just don’t have what it takes. You are the Christmas present under the storefront tree, no substance, just a piece of cheap shiny ribbon on an empty box.
You are unoriginal, untalented. You can’t write. You are lucky life dealt you such a shitty hand. That way you can hide behind it. You can use it as an excuse to cover up your mediocrity.
You are not worth the resources you consume. So keep letting those opportunities fly by. Don’t seize the day, don’t throw caution to the wind. Just hide away in the corner. Keep doing what you do best: making excuses. Why suffer the public humiliation? Trust me. I know best. I know what you are: nothing.
I want to shut her up. I want to stitch her mouth shut, Mafia the wench with cement shoes and a trip to the river. I’ve run away, moved across oceans and across cultures to escape. I got married thinking she’d move out. I underestimated her relentlessness.
The bully is me.