Thursday, 14 July 2016

Small Victories

I'm very aware of my weaknesses, where I think I fall short, of which there are many; many which I don't think wise to list, because then this would become a whine like a air raid siren that begins quietly and climbs to a penetrating, deafening wail.
Wednesday's child is full of woe. On the day I was born it also rained, so maybe I'm not entirely to blame for my default setting. However, I thought with the passing of time I had mastered my self-criticism; apparently not. It's just got cleverer: unpicked distraction techniques and positive affirmations, to slip in through undefended crevices; fissures so tiny you wouldn't think it was possible for a negative id to crawl under or squeeze through, because generally speaking they take up and need a lot of room. More space than the average mind possesses, and mine has neither the power or the inclination to be super-brainy, and so these breaches will happen.
Yet each time my security system comes under attack I feign surprise, as if my bluff will be enough to see off my opponent. Sometimes she calls it and worms her way in with her insidious voice, sometimes she realises that the mere threat suffices. My sensitive conscience pricked and on high alert! Anxiety then dominates for the next twenty-four to forty-eight hours but when nothing untoward happens, other than uncovering the usual thorns, this dissipates to a standard awareness, which at a later date is followed by complacency.  
My opponent, ever the optimist in spite of her pessimistic remarks, waits...bides her time until a false state has been declared. Then when I'm 'up' and there's no need for me to believe a 'down' is likely, in she seeks to mess about with the circuitry. And that sudden blip in the wiring, though it may be short-lived, can lead to a pitiable condition, one where nothing thought or said is affirmative and the outlook in which I view the world and my place in it has been severely altered, twisted beyond recognition.
The beating up is never physical, but is nonetheless damaging because the opponent is an verbal invisible self, and it's harder to combat that which is part of you. Her barbed tone is instantly recognisable as my own despite the difference in language: her terms are deeply critical, open old wounds and produce new ones. The old though they've scabbed many times over reopen easily with a little gentle prodding to renew their tired aspersions, while the new gush fresh abuses more relevant to recent situations. You're not this, you're not that; you're not worthy of such and such; you don't deserve (fill in the blank); along with other personal put-downs connected to non-existent looks and abilities. 
At its centre is a hard stone like that of a fruit, a stone that would crack teeth if it hadn't at some point during the course of the lifetime been swallowed and furnished with sanctuary. Then when proven mad moved to an asylum on the peripheries, but find access is still achievable if the target is overwhelmed or unoccupied. Such violations are recurring and inevitable once that stone has resided within; it can never be banished completely, even though the days of equilibrium might outnumber its exile, because as I said it's sneaky. And surprisingly good at it.
Functioning, rather than behaving dysfunctionally, becomes then the main objective to living or trying to get as close as you can to a semblance of it, rather than letting that voice of low self-esteem wreak its havoc. Except you can't always avoid listening, no matter how destructive you know it is, because to deny is denying that shameful part of you exists. That she is also you and not the enemy. She is like a bundle of cells that have gone askew. She may not be nice but she is a reaction to life and knows no different. To crush is not the way.
Small victories is the game that must be played so that her undeniable presence, even when on the peripheries, hovering like a bird eyeing its prey, becomes less disturbing and more of a fact. She'll always be there, watching...

Picture credit: Wings of Victory, Erte