This is a weird thing I wrote, from out of nowhere.
Talking To Myself
I can’t pretend that I am not here, but I want to. There’s evidence to prove that I’m here, and sometimes that’s all I have to convince myself – the dog gets fed, the bills get paid, food disappears and is replenished. Somebody must be doing that. And I don’t see anyone else here.
So I must be here. It’s just that I don’t see me. It enrages me when other people don’t see me, so what am I supposed to do with being invisible to myself?
I try hard not to look into mirrors. Always have. I am afraid of what I will see. I know that I won’t like what I see. It is painful to look at my face, and I avert my eyes as much as I can. It is painful to see.
To see the rest of my overweight and bloated body is agonizing, like when I saw old pictures of the Elephant Man, so grossly misshapen and disfigured. It was too hard to see that. It is too hard to see me, and I want to smash all the mirrors into dust so there is nothing left that can reflect my image.
These days, in this age of Zoom and video meetings, I cannot escape seeing my face coming back at me from the postage stamp thumbnail on the screen. I don’t much like that, but rarely participate in online meetings without my video on because meeting hosts usually require it. But if I’m there for an hour, it’s an hour of scrutinizing my face when I speak, noting every blemish and the sagging jowls and vague double chin. I silently criticize my reactions to other people speaking – I look stupid, I look pissed. Smile you fool or you’ll look like a third-rate action figure. What does your hair seem to be doing? Your teeth are a mess, especially since you lost that tooth on your bridge. Nobody wants to see that.
Oh, for the love of…hellooooo? It’s me. Well, it’s you but it’s me in you. Whatever but let me jump in here for a minute to ask…what the hell, Ann? You have always hated the sound of your voice and the image of your face. What the hell? Where did that come from? When did that start?
I remember when it started, and it has to do with my mother, and I don’t want to go there right now. It’s not safe to go there right now. I have been there far too often in the past few weeks, so…no.
So what the hell are you going to do about it, huh?
I don’t know.
You had better know, because that’s what she told you, remember? That you were always going to screw up and never amount to anything. Don’t you remember?
Of course, I remember. I always remember that, and I always knew she would win. Always.
So, that’s it then? That’s the best you can do? Hmm. Maybe she was right.
I don’t know. Maybe. But maybe not. I sometimes think I can do something, and sometimes not. It goes back and forth in my head, and it makes me so tired. Why can’t I just…be?
Silly girl. You CAN just be, but you know you are not satisfied with just being. A rock is just being. You want to be doing something, something big, something noticeable. You want to be visible. That’s why you’re always mouthing off about SOMETHING.
Well, I guess. But I’m so tired, and this is very hard, and now I’m here all by myself. She’s gone, he’s gone, they’re all gone and it’s just me now. Left holding the bag. I’m lonely and scared, and I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if I can do this.
You do know what to do, you’ve just forgotten. I know you can’t see well because of the pain. But I’m here to tell you that you have everything you need, so use what you have. Take your best shot, girl – how does that old saying go…shoot for the moon and you’ll land amongst the stars? Don’t you remember?
I think so. I guess so.
Listen, and I’m serious here…nobody gives a shit what you look like. They give a shit about the inside part they can’t even see, the part that says you want to do something, the part that makes them feel like they can do something. The part that is the cockroach of love! Nobody worth anything wants perfection from you. Got it? Don’t forget it this time. Your life is depending on it, you know?
Oh, my god – I remember the cockroach of love! You can’t kill a damned cockroach – you think you smashed them into oblivion, and they just get up and walk away with half their legs. But, yeah, I know. I sometimes don’t want to have a life. Sometimes I want to not wake up in the morning and just be what I feel like most of the time, like nothing.
OK, now you’re pissing me off a little. If that was an option you wouldn’t be talking with me right now. So I would advise you to get that out of your head, because you and I both know you don’t want to do that.
I guess. But when does the pain go away? It never stops, and I don’t even know where it comes from, but it’s like that volcano eruption in Iceland…tons and tons and tons of lava pouring out of it. Coming up from way down deep and just gushing out, rushing out, going who knows where. It’s boiling, red and hot and angry, somehow looking the way I feel when the bad stuff is coming out of me.
When the volcano is done, it will be done. When you’re done, you will be done, but you know you’re not done. You’ll know when. There’s no rhyme or reason to it, so just relax and enjoy the ride.
You say I guess a lot.
Yeah, I do, when I don’t know what else to say.
Well, listen I’m pretty tired now, so why don’t you relax and take it easy for a bit. Then sleep. Sleep a good sleep and know that you are safe and everything is exactly the way it’s supposed to be right now, even if it seems like it’s all screwed up. Trust me on this?
Well, I guess. *snicker*
Lord. You’re a pain in the ass, you know that?
Yeah, I do know that. Sorry.
Don’t ever apologize to me. Ever. Just do what you do, be who you be, and don’t bend over.
Don’t bend over? I’m not in prison or nothin’…what is that supposed to mean?
When you bend, the people who don’t want you to win see it as a sign of weakness or submission, and they will ride your back and hurt you even more. See?
Hmm. Got it, I think. I might need a refresher pep talk another day, though….
That’s fine. Trust me to be here, and I’ll be here.
OK. I guess.
THAT does it! Good night!!!
Good night. Sleep tight.
** ** **
I do need to sleep. I do need to talk to myself more. It will be OK, I just don’t know what OK looks like.