Warning, the inner critic causes the use of mild expletives. You see I have a copy of Quinn McDonald‘s new book The Inner Hero Creative Journal: Mixed Media Messages to Silence Your Inner Critic and I’m working my way through it. As a first step I let the IC out so we could get acquainted. If you take a look at the very generous preview on Amazon you’ll see what I mean. Not that I purchased the book from them . . . Book Depository is a far cheaper option for me, or even Fishpond.
But I digress. What I wanted to tell you is that, while I knew the IC is really negative and does not hesitate to criticise me, undermine my confidence and reinforce any little hesitation on my part so that it overwhelms me to the point of inertia, I did not realise what an utter bitch it is when challenged! So if or when you delve into this wonderful publication, be prepared! Even my digression about book suppliers started a minor skirmish. “You can’t stick at anything for long can you!” These criticisms are always said as a statement of fact, they are not posed as questions.
So yes, an utter bitch and there’ll be more on the gendering of insults and compliments at a later date . . . I have made a note. If I start in on that particular rant now I’ll get it in the ear again. I will let you know up front however, I bought my copy of the book, I am not being paid to review it in fact I haven’t read it all yet, oh, and I do follow Quinn’s blog . . . I start my day with a coffee and Quinn in bed . . . just the coffee, not Quinn. It’s not just her posts that are great, the community of people who comment is marvellous.
This fiendish IC seems to not only carry all the negativity and criticism that I grew up with but has some very tricky and slightly more benign company. Yes! There are two of the little buggers! Do I need to point out that ‘bugger’ is not considered swearing here in New Zealand or in Australia? Check out this ad, there were several of them over the years and although there were complaints to the NZ Broadcasting Authority but they weren’t upheld. In fact to call someone a bit of a silly bugger is almost affectionate (mental note, write a post about NZ colloquial language) but I have no affection at all for these two.
IC #1. You would be amazed at what this guy says to me . . . I’m not sure of its gender but I think of it as male, a great ugly, sticky, black cloud of a fellow who is now out on his own trying to fend off my attack. What does he say you ask? Well, as the mouthpiece of all the historical criticism, both real and perceived (my reality Pete if your reading this) he seems to spurt an almost constant stream of verbal diarrhea aimed squarely at my self-esteem. I’m thinking that I must have a healthy self-esteem or he wouldn’t shout so bloody much!
The tone of his barbed comments is rather predictable. They’re barbed like fish hooks that stick in to you and can only be removed with some pain but oh the relief when you get them out! The comments, similar to the one above, are all about how I’m unlovable, undeserving, unworthy, inconsistent and ill-disciplined, just a jack of all trades and have no originality. What utter garbage! But of course now that I’m on to him and challenging at every turn he thinks it time to step up the volume.
Want to know what I do? I laugh! And say “Yeah, right!” in a very Kiwi way. No, not the fruit, they’re actually kiwifruit, I’m a Kiwi and a kiwi is the bird. See IC, my digressions are f-u-n-n-y! How do you write a word so the reader says in s-l-o-w-l-y? As if to someone having trouble understanding but in this case, loaded with sarcasm. I can give as good as I get!
I’ve also reframed some of the comments over the years: jack of all trades is now versatile and flexible in my thinking.
IC #2. Now this character was harder to isolate because it had a purpose but then went rogue on me. This one is probably feminine but very, very sneaky now because she doesn’t want to be uprooted. Mind you if she could join up with an Inner Hero (they get the courtesy of full title), she might just go back to her role of cautionary protector and get something of a reprieve. You see I think this one tried to stop me exposing myself to criticism but very quickly became the perfect squelch to creativity and originality, to taking risks. Yeah, Squelch is a good name . . . slimy little character.
Ah! I feel stronger already! Expose the enemy and highlight their flaws for a change! IC #1 has absolutely no sense of humour which it why laughing works for now . . . no doubt he’ll disguise his bitchy self but for now, I have the nasty little bugger cornered! And IC #2 is just a timorous wee beastie.
I have a Warrior Inner Hero who stands up for the misunderstood, the marginalised, the frail and the less fortunate, and now she has armour on and is standing up for me! Happy hunting Warrior Woman!