I’ve blogged and written many times about my various internal critics. I give them names, physical descriptions, and personalities. This way they become real and cannot live as cowards hidden inside my head. I see they are not my friends and I am able to banish them – maybe not for always, but at least they stay away for a long time and when they do reappear I know how to banish them again.
We all have internal editors or critics. That’s the voice that tells you that you are stupid, a bad singer, clumsy, boring. It’s the voice that critiques every piece of writing you do, every conversation you have, the way you dance. This voice often shows up when you sit down to write. He, she, or it leans over your shoulder and whispers mean things in your ears.
One of my voices is named Ed. He used to tie my fingers up in knots and breathe dry ice into my brain. He doesn’t do this so much any more, because I found out that I could diminish Ed’s power by simply — writing about HIM. Here is one paragraph I wrote about Ed:
Ed is a middle-aged man with a sunken chest and a long thin nose through which he sniffs and snorts. He squints his beady eyes whenever he looks at me, suspicious that I will again try to write something. If I do, he’ll tell me I have nothing original to say, so why waste my time? His voice is usually sharp and piercing but he is capable of hissing his words, especially when he spots a mistake – any mistake, even a misplaced comma or a typo such as “teh.” He notes all mistakes in a black accountant’s ledger notebook that he always keeps with him. He reads the entries to me out loud.
And so on. As I wrote about Ed, it dawned on me that Ed is not my friend. And the more I wrote, the more obvious it became that Ed was a nasty, mean-spirited, chickenshit bully who did not want me to be happy. So why was I listening to him? Why indeed. So nowadays Ed just pouts in the background, waiting for me to notice him again. I am determined not to.
Ed is only one of the voices in my head (and my body) who give me a hard time. Later this month I’ll blog about Cousin Irene, who is even worse than Ed. In August I’ll be blogging about two others who are in charge of various physical/mental attributes. Their names are Uncle ArthurItis and Aunt Nervine, and they are a pain in the you-know-where. Stay tuned.