Image Credit: Lorenzo Petrantoni
Before this post begins I should really tell the reader more about the writer. She’s pretty thick. She has a lot of books she’s yet to read, but unfortunately because she’s so dumb she’s a really slow reader. She has difficulty reviewing books because of this problem; she’s too embarrassed. Everyone else can read twelve to seventeen books a month, subsequently providing a plethora of content for their audiences, whilst she cannot. Because she reads so little in a month she eventually realised, thanks to me, that she obviously doesn’t love books as much as she thought she did, and that others love them way more. Therefore, it would be a disgrace for her to even step foot in that field of creative outlet. In the literary, academic and publishing field she is nothing but a joke and a fraud.
When it comes to her spelling I’m not sure if the major contributing factor is her dyslexia or stupidity. She also hasn’t accomplished much in her life, particularly career wise. Come on, she’s twenty-six, how pathetic can she be, really? She hasn’t got an instagram, fit body: she has a stress pudge around her belly button which would ruin all photos, and her legs aren’t skinny like they used to be when she was ill. She’s one of those people who works very hard at a lot of things but is never accomplished at anything; a jack-of-all-trades, master of none type of person. She’s a blubbering, clueless idiot who has nothing interesting to say at social gatherings or anything worthy to bring to an institution or discussion. She will never get anywhere in life, creatively or professionally. She’s just some worthless loser who wasn’t intelligent enough to become a lecturer and will spend the rest of her life working numerous temporary, part-time jobs.
This is all just honest feedback and that’s essential for me to give her because she is totally incapable of giving it herself. Her ego is so big that were it left unchecked she’d be unbearable and even more unsuccessful and pathetic in life. Having introduced you sufficiently I’ll let her continue with what she wanted to say, but I’d advise you to keep everything I said in mind whilst she is writing, just in case you agree with anything she says at any point and wrongfully commend or respect her in any way.
Geez, what a bitch.
It makes me sad to say that I once believed in any of that, let alone gave such unintelligent, cruel drivel a second of my time. There was a point in life when I instinctively agreed with the prior preface, in fact that is the dumbed down version of it. It used to be brutal and it didn’t just exist in my head. Because I had once agreed with everything written prior I wrongly regarded these opinions as my own, but over time, thanks to careful linguistic analysis, I gradually realised these are not my words. I would never dream of saying such vile things against anyone, not even my worst enemy (were I to have one). Despite my enormous debts you couldn’t pay me a million pounds to think, let alone utter, the same remarks as some cruel snob who belittles, shames or teases individuals who are dyslexic, working in retail, who have an unphotoshopped body.
Thanks to narcissitic, toxic jackasses who we all have in our lives at some point these destructive words which we hold so dear to ourselves once existed in the temporal realm. They were once sound vibrations from a loved one, a classmate, a colleague or even a teacher. We all have tangible relative memories of unkind criticisms and thus we reiterate them internally on a daily basis for what could be over twenty, thirty or forty years. How can anyone shake that out of their head? I know I personally had a stronger faith and recantation record of the preceding profile than the Pope has in the Lord’s prayer. I believed in it because it came from me and it’s about me, and I know me better than anyone else knows me. Or, so I thought; but upon reflective analysis of the vocabulary I began to have my doubts and rightly so.
No, recently I realised I’m not saying any of this at all. I have agreed with it in the past, yes, and I once adopted the words as gospel but let’s face it: I didn’t like or think highly enough of myself at the time to place such trust and regard in anything I would say. These words are not my own, though they come from my mind multiple times a day. It would seem that I have a flat-mate that I wasn’t aware of. Despite being together for over twenty-six years I’ve only just become aquatinted with her. Her name is Lavinia and she’s my inner critic. She’s a bit of a bitch, isn’t she? She’s a snobby, fat-shaming, body-negative, elitist, belittling pillock who I take great pleasure in completely disassociating myself from. Since meeting her I realised that I hate her more than I ever have myself so there’s something.
I’m not evicting her though, as vile as she is. Everyone has to have an inner-critic, a super-ego as Freud called them. They’re essential to societal progression and human psychological evolution as we know it. Trouble is some of them pick up bad habits from other toxic people in your life and sort of cling on to the affirmative knowledge fed back to them, regardless of how destructive it is. The inner critic does this with your best interest at heart. It collects all negative feedback and then, by marking out your flaws and errors, it uses them as referral points for self-betterment: but some inner critics are hoarders. If it receives the same negative feedback from the same, or similar, external, authorial reports it’s going to collect more data to hold against you and it’s going to make sure you never forget it.
Your inner critic reminds you of how brutally it hurt when you were teased for being fat, so it encourages you to strive, and strive and strive to ensure every ounce of fat one could use as testimony to calling you it is removed from your being, potentially to the brink of death, just so you can avoid that traumatic mental pain again. Your inner critic will also keep a filing habit of report cards for those few homework assignments and essays you didn’t get A*s or Firsts in and magnify them, framing them on the wall of your mind to remind you of the times you weren’t intelligent enough in the eyes of someone more intelligent than you. It perpetually berates you for letting yourself down, reminding you that your brain is genetically incapable of gathering and storing knowledge effectively and sustainably and that, in the world of academia, you are nothing but a failure and a mediocre specimen amidst millions of outstanding intellects. It reminds you that you are nothing, that your lack of accomplishments set a precedent for the rest of your life, and that unless it keeps reminding you of this, you will be swallowed by a naive self-confidence which will blind you from the reality that you are an absolute loser. Well, that’s what Lavinia does to me anyway.
My existence started exactly 9,809 days ago when my biological father played his only important two minutes of his life and accidentally yet successfully shot an egg with one of his merry men. Lavinia’s existence came into being around four years later, at whatever time I lost my two front teeth and bullying really began. Before Lavinia came along I was a spec of brilliance, flawed as perfect things are and I knew it. I was a life source which existed against all odds. An accidental magnificence, as we all are, in our 1 in 102,685,000 chance of being here on earth, in this epoch, at this very moment. Though Lavinia made me forget that before I even had a chance to acknowledge it because this knowledge doesn’t suit their agenda. They want you to be the best possible version of yourself that you can be: but they don’t really grasp psychology, nor the ironic results of their tactics.
To keep myself both humble and progressive I need Lavinia, but I’m keeping all of her feedback in check. Whenever you have a destructive self-criticism, one which hurts you, it’s important to keep said feedback as other. Rather than thinking “I’m fat and ugly” or “I’m stupid and won’t accomplish anything” alter your language and detach yourself and refer to it as an opinion of your inner critic. Therefore there are days when Lavinia thinks I’m fat and ugly, stupid and unaccomplished and then I have the chance to reflect on her opinions and decide for myself whether or not they hold any credibility. Is she just being a bitch or could I serve to lose a few pounds?
Lavinia never exhausted my list of failures; she took great pleasure in bringing up their memories every time I met someone new, caught up with my friends, lay in bed with my boyfriend. I felt like I was drowning in the cold air around me which was my own failure. I exhumed failure, I could easily either freeze to death by its hand or internally combust by it. My failures circulated my body as oxygen does: but my accomplishments were never to be seen, felt or remembered. The ironic part about this was that my accomplishments have always outweighed my failures, if I can even call them that, because upon analysis I’ve never actually failed. I sat down and wrote out every, single flaw I had, everything I hated about myself, everything I was failing at in life. What I drew up was a measly list of less than perfect accomplishments. I’ve achieved lesser than ideal scores of A grades, not gotten jobs I applied for, made errors of judgement, gained unwanted weight at times and fluffed up here and there – these are my greatest failures. Less than perfection, the less than ideal are what Lavinia has so pedantically crippled me with. Of course I will fail in life; there will be times of great distress, and when I fail Lavinia will be needed: but her current over-employment was killing me.
Then I took a step back and decided to draw the speaker. I looked at myself in the mirror and said the following out loud: “You are unintelligent, you are a slow and poor reader who doesn’t love books as much as you thought you did, you will always be a failure, you are not an academic, you are a you are worthless, you will never accomplish anything in life, you are unattractive and have a flabby figure, flat, dull hair, you cannot spell, you cannot speak properly and you don’t try hard enough in life.” You know what was strange? It didn’t look right coming from my mouth. These were all the things I said in my head over, and over again, every single hour of the day: and yet they looked alien coming out of my mouth. That’s when I realised these weren’t my words, nor my opinions. So I decided to draw the speaker of such words, and lo’ behold: she didn’t even look like me. She wasn’t me at all. We didn’t even share the same opinions in life, I just agreed with her because she was so determined, so adamant, so well-informed and forceful. I had spent my life obeying her and taking upon all her feedback and suggestions respectfully when I didn’t even like her. I do this with no other person in my life: if Donald Trump or Theresa May told me I was unintelligent, ugly or unaccomplished I wouldn’t give a flying fudge. If I wouldn’t care what they thought of me because I don’t respect them, why did I care so much of what Lavinia thought of me? Why did I trust her so much when she had done nothing but destroy me, tear me down and, let’s face it, hinder me most of my life?
Lavinia has her purpose, but it’s not in my everyday life. Next time I really fail at something, next time I do something morally wrong, I’ll take her advice on board, but for now they’re just her opinions, not mine. Lavinia thinks I’m going to fail at the next job interview I have; I think I may or may not, it’s just how life goes. There are some amazing people in this world and that’s the great part of life: so many amazing people to choose from, companies are spoiled for choice. Good for them! I’ll try elsewhere. Lavinia thinks my weight loss isn’t fast enough, that I have no self-control and it’s disgusting. I think I look pretty great, I’m no super model but I’m not trying to be. Lavinia thinks I’m unintelligent because I don’t read as many books as other people and therefore demonstrate how disinterested I am in literature as a whole. Well, I know that whilst I’ve only read two books, I’ve written four essays, applied for six jobs, and read over thirty academic journal articles whist also working two full time jobs so I’ll be the judge of that. Sorry Lavinia, but I think I know myself better than anyone else and when it comes to the importance of books in my life, I think my very existence today, against all the odds you threw at me, is testament to that.
Also, you know that job advert for a magazine’s digital marketing manager you told me I’d never get in a million years? Turns out you’re not always right after all.