I bet you have at least one. I have my Monkey, Yay! Unfortunately, I have the Bitch too. My Monkey makes me so scattered that I can’t really get anything done, or at least not in one sitting. But my Monkey, maybe it’s ADD, but whatever, I love him. He allows me to simultaneously think of laundry, quotes, writing, cooking, bills, painting the kitchen, my kids, let’s go to Hawaii?, knitting, Nerd Herd stuff, new jeans, oooo bike, …all at the same time. I love that crazy making schizoid brain of his. Monkey isn’t angry, Monkey isn’t mean, Monkey is just a bit of a mess…He is a glorious part of me.
I’m learning that embracing the monkey makes life a whole lot…better. The monkey that tells you to have fun, to get a little crazy, to take the chance. He sneaks up from behind grinning ear to ear, and pushes you out of the comfortable stability of the to do list, right into the Bucket List. Amazing really. As crazy feeling as it can be, when you allow yourself to entertain some of those random thoughts, those wild monkey hairs, cool shit happens. You find a seed of inspiration when you least expect it. Love the monkey, embrace the mess he makes because we are art after all, and art is messy. Our lives are messy little art projects in progress.
Instead of getting frustrated with the monkey hijinks, high five him after he throws an imaginary banana at your face, and laugh. For real, laugh. We have to laugh at ourselves. Let the monkey be a prankster at your expense. Cannonball into the bucket list and be the star in your own comedy of errors. Don’t take yourself too seriously, after all we are all just a bunch of hairless (mostly) monkeys. Enjoy the monkey moments…
But… The… Bitch.
I named her the Bitch with a capital B after I finally realized what she was doing to me. Not cool shit like my Monkey. We all know, I think secretly that voice, the inner dialogue of disaster. Man or woman, that Bitch in our head that says no when we want to say yes, or yes when we want to say no. The one who says you don’t look good in the mirror. The one who says those shoes are ridiculous. The one who says you better not speak up in this meeting. The one who questions if that compliment was meant backhandedly. The one who says yes I will make something for the bake sale when you damn well hate baking. The one who says you’re fat. The one who talks you out of applying for the promotion because you wouldn’t get it anyway. The one who says you can’t buy that bike. The one who says you’re not good enough. The one who says…
Fuck. That. Bitch.
Kill the Bitch.
I am working all the time at killing the Bitch. It is the hardest thing I think I have ever done, next to trying to be a mom. I say trying, because real talk, we never get anything actually right, we just do the best we can with what we have, when we have it. Moms know this struggle particularly well I believe, because we are always trying, and beating ourselves up over stupid shit….ahhh another instance of the Bitch. I really, really hate the Bitch. No good can come of listening to that caustic inner conversation, it will only eat you up, erode your very soul. There is a difference between constructive and cruel. Make no mistakes, the Bitch isn’t your constructive critic. She’s the mean girl who is mean just to be mean. Time to ignore that negativity, time to kill the Bitch.
Finally, now, I take and recognize, slow, often tiny steps that seem insignificant at the time, but they turn out to be life altering. Confidence building. Red Lipstick. Buying the bike. Green Heels. Dancing in public. Replacing a clutch, welding, a marathon, a new recipe… moments. When you spoke up and the world didn’t end. You said “hi” to the cutie who handed you your coffee. You made it to the gym or you tried something new. Whatever it is, those moments, I now see, steal her power and we all need to build on those moments. Own them. Some days, there we are on a struggle bus, and we listen to the wrong voice. Some days we feel like rock stars, unstoppable and strong. Those days, she can’t even whisper. Remember those days, please.
I’ve learned that the Bitch can’t survive in confidence. I wish I could say that I have conquered her completely, but I can’t. Not yet. What I can say, is that there are instances, the right time and the right place where she has died a little, where I gained confidence partially through joy, when I truly feel the smile on my face. In moments where I am nervous but focused on gratitude and excitement instead of what could go wrong. When I listen to people who believe in me, as uncomfortable as I could be in that moment, and borrow their bravery. It is ok to borrow the bravery of those who believe in you.
Now, she doesn’t get to go on moto rides with me anymore. She doesn’t get to hang out in my head when I’m cooking anymore. But often she sits with me when I write. Sometimes she tries to sneak into the tattoo shop, or when I pull my pink hair into pigtails… Bitch get out. I know she no longer serves me and that is a tiny little step in the right direction.
It will be a long ride I am on to kill the Bitch, but I know I have a monkey that’s gonna help. The Bitch has finally met her match.