Letters From Lockdown 44: Alice Sampson

Dear My Inner Critic,

Sorry but I’m done with you and I won’t take this any longer. Years and years you’ve been here, weaselling your way into my life. Affecting everything. And did I ask you to come? No. Did I ask for your opinion? Also no – but still you came cruising in your Cadillac made of adolescent trauma, bad friendships and a predisposition to anxiety disorders.

And now that lockdown has brought back memories from the beginning of your reign of terror, I think it’s time you caught on and fucked off.

For years, you’ve convinced me I’m not as smart as anyone else; that I’m not as interesting, attractive, funny, fun, sexy, wise, successful, driven, hard working or deserving.

You made me think that everyone else knew something that I didn’t. At any turn, as if I’m so incapable – making me hesitate to say something; ask a question; seize an opportunity.

You made my feelings sour towards people who requited my romantic feelings because surely “If they fancy me, there must be something wrong with them.”

Accept that I just wasn’t the type of person people cared deeply about. Well I’ve proved you wrong there at least.

You made me The Quiet Girl. It’s because of you people have a hard time remembering my name. Because of you, for so long I steamrollered my personality – made myself agreeable, mild and invisible. It’s because of you that I subtracted myself from any social equation. Everything was wrong with me, according to you.

For fuck sake – I used to be the loudest. I was such a loud kid. Before you came along I was always the first to volunteer, the first to do the presentation, the first to make a friend. I didn’t care, I was obnoxiously loud and opinionated. If most of my friends now saw me as I was then, they wouldn’t recognise me.

But then you made me teeny tiny. And because I believed I was insignificant, I became insignificant.

I thought I’d made progress, and actually I had. You took a step back for some time, lurked in the background. Gave me enough time to let myself be, realise that people don’t exist on a hierarchy therefore I couldn’t be at the bottom of it. But still in my core I often believe I am worthless.

The ultimate act of self-love is expecting people to treat you well. To stand up for yourself; to not be walked all over. A quote I came across said ‘You teach others how to treat you’. You’ve helped me teach so many people that I’m forgettable and can be pushed aside. Not only will I happily let people walk all over me, I’ll be grateful that they’ve even acknowledged my existence.

Luckily some ignored these lessons and I spite you by having people in my life who love me.

Still I find myself reluctant to let go of those who hurt me because I guess I don’t think I deserve better. You’ve made me a literal cliché.

Fuck you,

Alice xoxo

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