By JO ABI
Why is my inner voice such a mean bitch?
Why can’t she be my best friend?
I’ve been struggling to find ‘me time’ lately and I’ve noticed that every time I schedule something like a dental appointment (for whitening) or the hair dresser (for a long overdue cut) I feel selfish and vain and I start berating myself. “A good mother wouldn’t deliberately take the long way home so she can chill out and listen to music before three children throw themselves at her.” “You ate too many biscuits today. Don’t you realise how fat you look in your summer dresses? Puplum…not for you dumpy arse.”
Why do I judge myself so harshly? Society judges me harshly enough as it is. You’d think I’d be intelligent enough to give myself a bloody break.
See, I just did it again…if I were more intelligent and sensible I wouldn’t let self-doubt make me feel like crap. I’d embrace my health and reasonable looks and age gracefully. Did I really have to cry when I saw that photo of myself with eye wrinkles, forgetting to breath in and what was I thinking wearing that stupid top?
I’ve always been worried that I don’t know enough. I may not be the smartest person in the room but that doesn’t make me stupid. I may not know where every single country in the world is located but I know most, vaguely. I can’t name all the world leaders but I’m interested in politics. I can’t do maths in my head but I sit down and monitor our family budget closely, calculator in hand. Just don’t ask me to use Excel. Or scan something.
But do you know what SHE says? My inner bitch says, “You are so stupid. How could you make a mistake like that? You really shouldn’t try and talk about world issues. You probably though the only Georgia was in the US. Dumb, dumb, dumb.”
I hate the way I look and I hate the fact that I hate the way I look. I’m too fat. My skin is terrible. Why did I squeeze that zit? My breasts are saggy. When I lie down I look like Glen Close in Fatal Attraction. Fried eggs instead of breasts. And I should exercise more. I should be a better mother. I should cook healthier meals. I need to detox. I’m hopeless. I’m pathetic.
Life is passing me by while I taunt myself. In my mind everyone is judging me too. I interpret every exchange, every look, every vague text message and email as some dig, some judgement.
In actual fact many of them may be having unkind thoughts, but why do I care? I’m not mad at the world for setting impossible standards for woman and for men (earn millions, perform like Christian Grey, embrace your receding hairline).
I’m not mad at the world or others for the judgements and the inferiority complex. I’m mad at myself for listening to it, for letting it get to me, for allowing crappy things like that to ruin my day.
My husband is sick of it too. “Why do you let it get to you? Why do you care?”
We are all trying our best and I wish the voice inside my head said, “There, there, you’re doing your best.” Instead I get, “Why did you eat that biscuit? You really should read to the kids more often. Call your parents more. Watch some documentaries and learn something for once.”
In my effort to improve myself I have stuck a world map up in the toilet so I can multi task and learn where every country is. I have recorded heaps of documentaries and current affairs programs and sometimes I even watch them while trying to sip herbal tea instead of eating biscuits (or roll ups stolen from my children). Lately, every time I hear something on the news I don’t understand I Google it. But there’s just so much information out there. How will I ever know enough to feel smart? And could I be any shorter?
If I achieve anything in this life it is to make my inner bitch my best friend. I know she’s in there somewhere. I’ll let her be moody. I’ll let her have moments of harshness but the bitch better become a bloody cheerleader because I’m not letting her make me feel crap any longer.
Jo Abi is the author of the book How to Date a Dad: a dating guide released by Hachette Livre Australia. You can read more about her many and various exploits here.
Do you worry about not being smart enough, beautiful enough, or a good enough?