A Conversation with My Daily Affirmer
Her: Hi there! You’re doing great!
Me: Whatever. Why are you here?
Her: Because you need me! Also, because you are wonderful!
Me: Whatever. Will you be staying long?
Her: Oh, I think so. Or, for as long as you need me.
Me: Cool. Well, then, you should know that I don’t need you. You are free to go.
Her: Wow, you are so strong. That’s great. So glad to hear it. So then, is she leaving too?
Me: Who? What are you talking about?
Her: That chick over there with the storm cloud over her head and the scowl on her face. Is she staying? Cuz, if she’s staying, I’m staying. I love a party.
Me: Her? I hardly even notice her. Don’t stay on her account.
Her: Wow, how can you NOT notice her? I mean, she’s actually growling at you.
Me: Look, I didn’t invite you here, I don’t even know how you got here.
Her: [playfully] Oh, so you invited her then, did you?
Me: What? No! She’s just…she’s always been here. At least as long as I can remember. Look, she and I have an understanding. A long standing unspoken agreement. She’s fine. She gets to stay.
Her: OK, you’re the boss! She stays! So, what does she do?
Me: What do you mean, what does she do? She doesn’t do anything. Just hangs out.
Her: And talks, right? Seems like she talks too. Can’t you hear that?
Me: Oh, well, yeah, she talks. Kind of a lot, actually
Her: And LOUDLY! She’s working herself into quite a lather over there!
Me: She’s not always that loud. I think she’s trying to be heard over YOU.
Her: Cool: I love a good competition! So what’s she saying?
Me: Does it matter? Don’t worry about it.
Her: Oh I never worry. Not about you, anyway: you’re a strong, incredible, smart woman. But I’m super curious – curiosity is kind of my thing: what is she saying? Can you translate that growl into something intelligible?
Me: She’s just…giving me her opinions. Like, all of them. It’s OK though, I’m used to it. It’s fine. And anyway, she never actually gets OUT...just hangs out and makes a lot of noise.
Her: Hmmmm. Yeah, call me crazy, but I think that’s the whole problem. The whole “never gets out” thing. Doesn’t that mean that she spends all her time in here, shouting or mumbling or whatever? In your head? That’s a lot of growling and scowling to be happening inside one person’s head. Oh my, now she’s spitting at you! At beautiful you!
Me: Well, I think you’re upsetting her. She’s sort of used to being the only voice around. I try to leave her alone and let her do her thing. You should do the same.
Her: Oh I see...her thing! What is that exactly?
Me: [blank stare]
Her: I mean, what does she do for you, that she’s earned the right to be the only voice that gets to stay?
Me: [long pause]
Well...she...um...she...keeps me accountable? And..uh...humble. And..um, stuff like that. Keeps me in line, so to speak.
Her: Fascinating. Accountable, huh? And humble? Those are both great things to be! I’m so curious how she does that when she seems so...nasty and un-fun. Where’s the love, man? Where. Is. The. Looooooove?
Me: The lo—oh geez, it’s not enough you’re always cheerful, you gotta be a hippie, too? Let’s just say she doesn’t let me get too big for my britches. Like, when I am a little too confident, she brings me down a peg or two. Whips me back in line and keeps me safe.
Her: [raised eyebrows]
Me: She can be a little harsh, I guess. But she keeps me safe.
Her: Well, safety is cool. Love that. We all want to be safe. Harsh doesn’t sound so good though--who needs that? And how exactly does she keep you safe?
Me: Oh for cryin’ out loud, what’s with all the questions? She just does, OK? She tells me stuff. Stuff I need to be aware of. You know, she tells me the truth.
Her: Which is…?
Me: Damn, you just don’t quit. Honestly, it’s annoying, especially with that perky smile plastered to your face.
Her: Haha! Yes, I do smile a lot! It’s my favorite thing EVER. So, what’s this big truth that whatserface over there bestows upon you?
Me: Oh, I DON’T KNOW. Just, she keeps me safe, she keeps me here, she tells me what’s what, that I’m better off inside. No risk, no failure. No risk, no rejection. Also that I’d screw up if I tried anything anyway so what’s the point.
ME: That sounds bad. It’s not like that. She keeps me a realist. She keeps my expectations in check. Protects me from rejection. It’s a valuable service, OK?
Her: Goodness gracious, who on earth would ever reject YOU? Ha! Only a crazy person! That doesn’t sound like the truth to me!
Also, why does rejection matter again? I mean, if you’re out there just doing your thing, why does it matter what someone else thinks? You’re just being your beautiful self, right? Not hurting others, not breaking any laws? Just being you?
Me: Well, yeah, but…
Her: But what?
Me: I just know it matters. I can’t explain it. It just matters.
Her: Yeah, I don’t think so. Also, you’re fantastic and there’s no wrong way to be you. You’re great, and I’d love to see anything you want to do in the world happen.
Me: Oh for pete’s sake, knock it off. I see what you’re trying to do. It’s not going to work–it’s just a bunch of bubble gum psycho-babble.
Her: I love bubble gum, don’t you? [smiles teasingly] Or do you prefer deep, dark, liver-and-onions psycho-babble? Me, I’m going for the bubble gum every time.
Me: You would.
Her: Actually, bubble gum or pilates. They’re both pretty great, if you ask me.
Me: True. I do enjoy a good pilates sesh. Feels so good.
Her: Right? Oh my goodness, pilates is just the best. I wonder what she thinks of pilates. Have you asked her?
Me: I don’t know. But it doesn’t matter. Like I told you, we have an arrangement; she wants to say so she gets to stay.
Her: OK, it’s your psyche! You can have anything you want in here.
Hey, does she have a name? No? Oooo, let’s give her one! Not like a real name, cuz we don’t want that whole Karen thing to happen. Everyone deserves to love their own name, don’t you think? But something we can call her...like...I dunno...how about Blah Blah Blah? LOL. I like that! We can refer to her as exactly what she sounds like anyway!
So, I wonder what Blah Blah Blah thinks of pilates? I mean, who could be anti-pilates, ammiright?
Me: Uh, I have no idea what she thinks. She’s usually not around during my Zoom classes.
Her: Really? Isn’t that interesting???
Me: Well, honestly, sometimes she tells me I look ridiculous while I’m trying to balance on one leg, or that there’s no way I can do that plank move. But then she goes away. Mostly, she’s not around.
Her: Well I think that’s just fascinating. Blah Blah Blah is mostly not around during pilates….you feel good during pilates...think there’s a connection?
Me: Oh good grief, do I have to think about this?
Her: Oh gosh no: you don’t have to do a thing. You’re already doing so much! Honestly, you’re like a super woman, I don’t know how you do it. Your job, your family, pilates, dealing with Blah Blah Blah over there–that alone seems like a full time job and it’s only ONE of the many things you are managing every single day! So impressive. So inspiring.
Me: [Fingers to my temple, eyes closed] Oooooookaaaay. I get it. You’re here to prop me up. To counterbalance the negative voices.
Her: Blah Blah Blah. Say it. It’s super fun.
Me: Ugh whatever, you’re here to counterbalance Blah Blah Blah. OK, you’re right, that was fun. And yeah, I admit, she is pretty annoying sometimes.
Her: I KNOW, RIGHT?
Me: Yes. Fine. She’s annoying. And mean. And nasty, like you said. The other day, she told me I’m never going to get any better at fiddle: that made me sad. But maybe she’s right and I should just give up.
Her: She SAID that? Geez, she just interrupted you like that, while you were playing? How RUDE!
Me: No, it wasn’t while I was playing; she’s not around then. I think she started talking about it cuz I haven’t really been practicing that much and feeling kind of bad about it; I think she was trying to help–to give me a reason to stop and just let go of it.
Her: Aha! THE PLOT THICKENS!
Me: Gonna regret this, but what are you talking about?
Her: She’s not around during pilates; she’s not around when you’re playing the fiddle. Those are things you really enjoy and make you happy! Seems like there’s no room for her then!
Me: You want a nickel for that insight? I can’t do pilates and play the fiddle 24/7 now can I?
Her: Now THAT would be pretty awesome, LOL, but I guess you’re right. What else has she said to you?
Me: Well, there’s the thing about how I’m a not that great of a mom, how I’m a disappointment to my friends, how my writing is stupid, my opinion irrelevant, yadda yadda yadda, then there’s a whole topic about how socially awkward I am–that’s a popular one. That one can keep her spinning for days, it feels like sometimes.
[another pregnant pause]
Her: Just sayin’, I’d never do any of that to you. That’s all bullshit and you know what? I think you already know that.
[a third pregnant pause]
Me: Wow, she’s kind of a nightmare: a noisy, never shuts up, really awful nightmare. God, why do I let her have the run of the place? Why can’t she just shut UP for once?
OMG, I freaking hate her.
Her: Right ON! Me too! She is literally no fun at all. No one wants someone around who just gnashes her damn teeth and predicts disaster all the time.
Also, she’s so totally wrong about you. And really, that’s why I’m here.
I’m gonna give it to you straight, no bubble gum, no cheery cheeseballs, no fairy dust up your backside, just truth: you got this. You got EVERYTHING. Life is gonna be sad and boring as HELL if you listen to BLAH BLAH BLAH and don’t do things just to avoid a little rejection or failure. And the POINT, to get back to your point, of trying things is to enjoy them.
You’ve got a million things you love to do and want to do: I know that about you. And wow, you have so many people you love and who love you, and not a single damn one of them wants you paying any attention at all to Blah Blah Blah when you could be out there living life and being your badass self. No one wants you to hide your light under a bushel. Well, Blah Blah Blah seems to want that, but she’s a bitch and half in heels.
Oooo, that made her mad! Now she’s spitting AND throwing a tantrum! Wow, I think she might be barfing a little bit too. GROSS! Ooooo, girlfriend is a MESS! Hahahahahah!
Me: Whoa. Look at that. She’s slinking away! She’s–actually–leaving! I had no idea that was even possible! How did you do that?
Her: Like I said, I like a good competition, and I looooove to win. Ask enough questions, and those nasty bitches get tired of not being center stage. While you’ve been “wasting your time” talking to me, she just did her spoiled only child thing and stomped away all mad. Pretty awesome, don’t you think?
Me: Wow. Listen to that. Listen to the silence. I didn’t even know she was spewing out all that noise pollution until it was gone. I could get used to this; it’s sort of beautiful.
Her: Of course it’s beautiful. It’s you.
Me: [rolls eyes.]
Me: Wow. I feel so peaceful. She's...gone!
Her: She might come back. But I can too. I can come back whenever you want or need me to, you beautiful person, you.
Me: Wait, what? She might come back?
Her: In my experience, Blah Blah Blah doesn’t give up quite that easily. Yeah, she’ll be back, at least for a while; she’s had quite a home here for a long time. But I’ll come back too and we’ll deal with her together!
Me: Uh..do you have to come back? I mean, this is kind of embarrassing, that I even needed you to be here.
Her: Hey, you do you! Just know that I can come back anytime at all, and I’m pretty sure if we start talking about pilates, or music, or the sunset, or some heartbreakingly lovely thing one of your kids did, or really anything that makes you happy, we can kick her ass to the curb whenever we want. Whaddya say? Sounds fun to me!
Me: [resigned sigh] OK, fine, sure...I guess...but can we keep this whole relationship just between you and me? No self-respecting sarcast wants the world to know she’s got a...what are you again?
Her: A daily affirmer! The best friend you’ll ever have! Also, I’m available daily, weekly, monthly or on demand.
Me: Right, well that just made me cringe myself into next week. Seriously, I’ve resisted this whole daily affirmation thing my whole life.
Her: Imagine if you’d put all that energy into resisting Blah Blah Blah.
Me: Got it, you’ve made your point, she’s a total bitch and I don’t need her. So, we can keep it to ourselves? Our whole relationship?
Her: Oh sure. Whatever you need. You’re in charge here, and you’re SO GOOD AT IT. You’re amazing, you know.
Me: OMG alright already! Just Stop! Except don’t. I mean– I know you’re right, it’s just– WEIRD, all this affirmation is so WEIRD and unfamiliar, and like water in a desert and so strange at the same time– I mean, OK OK OK:
I AM amazing! Hell, yeah! I got this, and I can pretty much do anything I want!
Her: And for now, my work here is done! God, I love my job: career satisfaction is AMAZING, let me tell you.
Me: So happy for you.
Her: Thank you! I’m happy for you too! So what are you going to do now?
Me: Gosh, I don’t know. I feel pretty great right now. I’m thinking of picking up my fiddle and playing for a bit.
Her: Of course you are: that is so like you, to want to CREATE something.
Me: That’s true. That is like me. If you’ll excuse me, my axe awaits.