My Greatest Enemy
My greatest enemy is a total asshole. She is always trying to hold me down, hold me back, make me question who I am and what I can do. And she likes to come around when I am least able to resist her mean words, when I am tired, hungry, or hormonal. She is so crafty, so clever, relentlessly pushing the most painful buttons. She thrives on stealing my power, making it her own, leaving me weak and unsure, filling me with self-doubt.
You can’t believe the things she tells me. When I am writing, she whispers, “Blah, blah, blah. This sounds so stupid. You’re not a real writer! You’re almost 40 and you’ve never published a book. You’ve barely had anything published at all!” When I am racing my bike, she follows me around and says, “You’re not a real racer or you’d take this more seriously. Real racers train–you just fart around on your cruiser bike.” And right before I teach a workshop, she stands before me and taunts, “You are a fraud! How’d you get here? You don’t know what the hell you are doing!”
See what I mean? She gets her energy by stealing mine.
Sometimes, when I am out with my husband and we walk into a room filled with beautiful women, she sneaks up behind me and sneers, “Look at you with your trousers and Chuck Taylors! When are you going to grow up and start looking like a lady? Paul must be embarrassed with you on his arm!” And she stands behind me when I’m looking in the mirror and taunts, “Nice canyon down the middle of your forehead! You should get Botox or something, for god’s sake. Look at you! Stop thinking so much! Everyone can see you have the weight of the world on your forehead.”
She even sneaks in when I am hanging out with friends. She likes to tell me that I should stop talking so much, that my friends don’t want to hear another philosophical rant. They don’t want to talk about feelings and all of that crap. “Can’t you just lighten up and make some damn small talk?”
I’m used to her by now. She’s been around as long as I can remember. In college she used to tell me I was fat. In high school she said my clothes were old and ugly. When I was in grade school, she told me my Dorothy Hamil haircut was hideous.
I used to believe everything she said. I used to let her hold me down. But then I began to realize she’s just a big, fat liar. Deep down, she’s just a little girl who is unsure of the world around her, unsure of her place in it. The reality is, she needs me. She needs me to listen to her, because if I don’t, no one will, and she is afraid of her own annihilation.
She’s been hanging around lately, telling me all sorts of lies. I’ve been sort of half listening, half ignoring. But today? Today I took her for a walk in the woods. I showed her what I know of the beauty in life, told her about my home, my family, my friends, my work. And then I put my arm around her and said,
“Now that you’ve gotten all of that stuff off your chest, let’s let it go for now. Let’s walk together into the Unknown, into our wildest dreams.”
And so we did. And so we do.