We are looking ahead. We are liking our new fonts. We are building mysteries and unpeeling others. We are going to go.
Convince yourself that even if you are a Lovecraftian horror, you’re not the single worst Lovecraftian horror on the block. You don’t need to name names, but there’s somebody out there, face-wise, who you would not trade places with. Recognize that no matter how long you stare into the mirror and gingerly, physically alter your own self-perception, tomorrow morning you’re two steps backwards. Different body chemistry, different demand on your brain, a weird-ass dream when you’re pregnant and decapitating villains from a rope invisibility affixed to the sky is in your mind. You wake up and feel fucking awful. This is okay. You are building a muscle. It’s going to be weak for a good long while and it will shake when you use it unexpectedly for a more than a few moments. It will shake when it shouldn’t and you’ll think it will fail, and sometimes it will, because that sense of yourself in a positive light will fail. You’ve got all these terrible habits that tell it to be quiet, still, to not scare you with the failure that feels such a part of it, such a part of you.
But once you start to stretch it and work it, it wants to stretch and work. It activates and suddenly, self-esteem isn’t this joke you tell yourself about beauty queens and models, it’s this being that involves his or herself in how you experience the world. The time spent worrying about the negative impression you might be making on others – the self-esteem leans in and reminds you, gently, sometimes with a soupcon of snark, that you’re never going to see that jerk in the grocery store again. Or, you might, and if they have an opinion on your mismatched socks and want to share that with you, you can survive the encounter. You hear that and you straighten your spine and you let your shoulders fall free and you just got fifteen minutes back that you didn’t have to spend skulking and simpering and calculating a stranger’s untold disdain for you.
It’s sort of like having an administrative assistant for your inner bullshit. And so often, I think, when you have someone other than yourself involved in a problem, you take better care of it. It keeps falling to front of mind. You force yourself to step up. You want to avoid disappointing them so you fight back. If you can separate threads of personality inside, you can listen to some of these voices and take up some of their causes when you pretend they’re not my own. Maybe that’s not the best impetus for internal change. Maybe you should be able to enact change because you deserve it.
Ideally, yeah, you can synthesize the self-esteem AA and the motivation coach and the creative muse and the squishy stuffed animal of friendship and the Crone Who Knows and the WASP Who Won’t and all the parts and pieces of your psyche into a single, consolidated you. But first, I think, you need to know who is up there rattling in your attic and invite them for some imaginary tea. Or imaginary coffee or even just an imaginary census-taking. Try it.