When I posted that entry yesterday, about taking photographs of myself and putting them online, I immediately felt uneasy. And yesterday, all through today, I’ve realized, I’ve had a chorus running through my head. It’s a familiar chorus, made up of voices that are imaginary but no less real and each no less a stab with a tiny needle. It’s a choir that sings, Oh, she thinks she’s so cute. Look at her, post those pictures like she thinks that outfit is fabulous. Isn’t it funny, the way she was so careful to say, “I know I am not fashionable,” and then posts a picture? Honey, we know you’re not fashionable. You don’t need to tell us. She’s so ridiculous. She thinks she is so clever, with her false modesty. She is just waiting for everyone to say, “No no, you’re adorable!” God.
I talk back to the voices. I say, but no, it’s not like that. I am self-aware! I am self-reflective, and self-mocking, and isn’t that enough to insulate me from accusations of vanity and laughable prideful pride? It was ironic, right, and just fun, and I am aware that it is silly and I’m not taking myself seriously. I want to say, please don’t say The lady doth protest too much, because I’m just trying to explain myself, here, I’m trying to be honest. I’m not protesting, as if I were guilty and caught red-handed. I’m just trying to tell you–I just want you to know that I’m not like that, I’m not. I’m not. But there’s no one to actually say these things too. And the voices sure don’t listen, because they get louder, and they get nastier, and you start to think, well, maybe they have a point. Maybe I am too tortured and ridiculous to live.
I think the phrase I am looking for is “my own worst enemy.” I think
the life I am living is entirely too examined. I examine my every move,
looking for flaws. And then I make a move, cautiously, carefully,
gingerly, and I am filled, almost instantly, with regret and doubt and
embarrassment, and wishing it all away. Wishing that I didn’t know
exactly what every person in the world was thinking about me,
contemptuously and cruelly. Because I think I know. I think that I can
read your mind, you see. And it doesn’t occur to me that thinking that
someone has a secret cache of cruel things to say, that in their hearts
they are mean as snakes and poisonous as big black spiders, is just as
screwed up and pointless.
I’ve cast myself in a role as vulnerable victim, I’ve cast the world as
cruel villains, and none of it is healthy or smart, none of it is good
for me, good for my relationship to the world. I am tired of being
afraid of what everyone thinks. I am tired of being suspicious, and
assuming the worst. I am generally an optimist about
everything–sometimes to crazy extents, I will believe in miracles. For
everything and everyone but me.
Of course, it’s possible I’m right. Someone out there is certainly
saying something that is not candy and light and snowballs and kittens
about me. Somehow, I’ve got to internalize the idea that it doesn’t
matter. That what people think about me is none of my business. I can argue back at these imaginary assholes
all I like, but what’s that going to change? It’s just going to make me
more anxious, more unhappy, feel helpless and misunderstood. I am done
with helplessness. I don’t give a fuck, any more, if I am
misunderstood, because it is exhausting. I’ll just say what I have to,
as best as I can. I don’t know a better way of learning to live without