Taming my gremlin
We all have that inner voice that constantly rehashes what’s wrong with us. If we’re lucky, she’ll praise us every so often. Today I believe that I made peace with a gremlin who has been persecuting me the past month about a grave mistake, one that may have cost me a very dear friendship. All because I made the error of defying a friend’s trust by referring to some information (i.e. speculation/gossip) about a mutual friend in a piece that I was “in the process” of writing -- about redefining success for women.
In the past month, I have sent two emails to my dear friend. Today, I phoned her in the hope that we could finally re-connect. I’d been wondering why she hadn’t returned my emails, trying not to take her silence as a sign that she didn’t want to resume our friendship, trying not to take her lack of response too personally, trying to rationalize her non-response as she must have her own stuff going on right now. Surprisingly this past month has been productive for me as a writer, a reader, and a woman trying to remain centered. I’ve been writing more, reading more, and running more. During my runs along the Jersey City waterfront, for an hour I am able to let go of my gremlin who has been beating me up for engaging in gossip. At the same time, I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that I did nothing wrong “in my process” of writing because that’s just what it was a “process” leading to a larger rationale about redefining success for women, but most of all for myself as a woman.
Taming my gremlin has been quite the ordeal what with her mis-validation of my current situation. My gremlin stands tall double my five-foot stature and stares at me with her piercing ruby eyes andpointed ears. Her face is a cross between a wealthy wrinkled white woman and the grinch who stole Christmas. Her skin is diarrhea green and her fingers are long with nails that have gone unclipped for thirty-three years. She scratches her way into my mind and heart by punishing me for being human, for having been critical of another woman. She is unforgiving. She does not believe “in the process.” She is a perfect woman, who befriends everyone, and everyone wants to be her friend. She is the image of grace, friendship, intelligence, community, and professionalism. Yet she is the gremlin who mistakenly judges me frequently for all of my mis-steps in my career, in my community work, and in my relationships with friends and family.
Given my wavering expectations of myself I am always in the process of taming my gremlin. And so the process continues . . .