“Oh my God, I am so fat. Ugh! Is that what I really look like?”
“There is no way this story is as good as I thought it was. It’s going to be a disaster. Maybe I should delete it.”
“We should probably re-do the show. I’m sure it’s awful. I said the same phrase multiple times. Clearly I have zero imagination.”
These are all very real thoughts I’ve had in less than 12 hours. And yes, I know they aren’t true.
I went to bed feeling bad, my stress manifesting as physical pain. I woke up feeling hungover.
Something was wrong with me. I’d almost begged John Brownstone to delete the episode we’d recorded just before bed. I hadn’t written in two days – even though I have the rough draft of a short story and a novella to work on. And I couldn’t seem to look at myself in a mirror.
The worst part of all of it is that there is a very rational, clear-headed, thoughtful, kind voice in my head that counters each bit of self-loathing with, “You know that’s not true. It’s never as bad as you think it is. Everything is going to be okay.”
But I ignore the rational voice in my head like I ignore the calories on a king-sized candy bar.
One of the things I’ve learned from my therapist, when I have negative emotions for “no reason” is to trace the feeling back to the thought. This time, I knew the thoughts, I just had to figure out where they were coming from.
We’d just made a spanking video for Patreon, and I’d seen myself on video for the first time in a long time. Cameras aren’t kind. That woman doesn’t look like the woman I see in the mirror. Frankly, I like who I see in the mirror, but that chick in the video hit all my fat-shame buttons.
I’ve been a writing machine for the past three weeks, but one of the worst anxieties for a writer is having to face their own writing. We almost always think it sucks (or it’s going to suck). I’m not immune to that.
The podcast episode? I think it was a victim of all that self-doubt triggering at the same time. Am I a little low energy in the show? I think so. Was I as organized as I like to be for a show? No, not really. But is it as bad as I think it is? I’m sure it isn’t. I think I’m more worried that people will be bored by the topic.
Once I figured out where it was coming from, I felt better. I was ready to listen to my rational side again. The self-doubt and loathing aren’t exactly gone, but they’re muted. I have to believe that’s progress.
Maybe I’ll go read a book and let the voices in my head fight it out. Winner take all.