Good morning! So you’re awake. What time is it? Oh, 3am – and I’m here, as usual. Same time, same place. Please don’t close your eyes and ignore me – I’m self-doubting Deirdre and I’m here for a reason. I’m here to tell you that what you’ve been thinking all along is true. You’re not good enough.
You can try to close your eyes and go back to sleep but you know that won’t work, don’t you? You’re so tired and I’m not surprised because you’re getting on a bit now aren’t you? 50 – quite some age. When you were a little girl you used to think 50 was really old, but now you are there, you say it’s not. Really? Have you looked in the mirror lately? You’re not the energetic, interesting, pretty young woman you used to be, are you? Well, don’t you worry. You just listen to me and I’ll look after you. I’ll make sure you stay where you are – safe, comfortable, unseen.
It’s 7am – you can get out of bed now. It’s time to start your day, but you know what? You didn’t get much rest because we were talking all night, so why don’t you take it easy today? Don’t worry about going to the gym and working out. It won’t make much difference to your body will it? Ha! No amount of squats and jumping about looking ridiculous and wobbly in an exercise class is going to make much difference to your figure. After all, the women there are slimmer than you, prettier than you, younger than you and they wear better workout clothes than you – they probably talk about you behind your back as well. Actually, scrap that. They wouldn’t talk about you…they probably don’t even realise you exist!
That’s right. Sit in the living room, flick through a magazine, scroll through Instagram and compare yourself to other, more successful women and eat some biscuits. That’s far more comforting isn’t it? Nice and safe, warm and cosy. You don’t have to worry about all that jumping around, getting sweaty and tired. You’re so tired.
What are you writing? A novel? Ha! How funny. Oh don’t be ridiculous! Why on earth would you put yourself through that? It will take you so long to finish and it’s so much hard work. Besides, you know what you’re like, you give up on everything half way through and then you feel awful about yourself. So, do us both a favour and stop now for goodness sake! After all, even if, after some miracle you do finish it, you have to send it off to try and find an agent who might want to represent you and get it published. And do you know how many people that actually really happens to? That’s right. A lucky handful. And those lucky writers are very good at what they do anyway – they’re not like you – a bitty, part-time, unintelligent writer. They are natural go-getters; very clever people who are motivated and stick at it because they know they’re good. And you and I both know, you’re okay – but you’re not that good. That’s right. Shut the laptop and take the dog for a walk…
Who are you talking to? Why are you happy? You’re going to do what?! Oh. my. God! What are you thinking? You have just said yes to a ‘really exciting freelance opportunity’. You know what that means don’t you? It means you will have to go into an office with a young, trendy team, who know exactly what to do in that buzzy kind of environment. They understand all of the latest technology, they know how to upload, download, CMS, SEO and everything about digital. What do you know? How to type a few words onto a Word document. And even then, you’ll probably make silly mistakes and use the wrong lingo in emails to the project team. Do yourself a favour and listen to me in future.
So, now you’ve gone against everything I’ve said and you’ve accepted the job offer. Now you’re lying awake all night worrying about it. I’m not surprised. I told you to listen to me and you went and thought you could do it by yourself, so now you’re scared and you’ve let yourself – and me – down! YOU CAN’T DO IT! Just say sorry and cancel it. Tell them something important has come up and you can’t take the job now. Go on. Do it now before you get in too deep and make yourself a laughing stock. If you try and do it, you know that afterwards, people will hear about how rubbish you were and the team will roll their eyes and ask themselves why they commissioned you in the first place. They will know next time to ask another freelancer – a younger, fresher, more intelligent woman. Not an old, out of touch, untrained journo like you!
Let’s set the record straight right now. You’re 50 years old and it’s about time you stopped fantasising and dreaming about being somebody you’re never going to be. Or doing things and achieving dreams that are impossible. It’s time to settle down and stop believing you can go for things that are out of your reach – things that only happen to other people. Not you. It’s horrible to feel that scary, worrying feeling gnawing away at your stomach when you’re trying something new, just incase you fail, isn’t it? So why feel it? While I’m around, you’re lucky because you never have to feel it again. Be safe. You’re better off.
Good morning! It’s me again. Just like every day. I’m here to keep you safe and look after you so you don’t feel frightened. Oh, and today it’s your birthday and you’re going to be 80 years old. I don’t think we’ll do anything out of the ordinary today, will we? You look sad. Come on, it’s your birthday, cheer up!
Why are you crying?
What do you mean it’s all my fault? Oh, don’t be silly, you’ve had a wonderful life. You’re very lucky you had me for a friend. But I’m finished with you now.
I’ve done my job. I kept you safe and now I’m off to see my two best friends – Fear and Regret. I think you know them well, don’t you?
NOTE: Well, for some reason, I went off on a tangent there and wrote a completely different kind of post than I’m used to! I hope you liked it though – even though it wasn’t particularly cheery – I was thinking about self-about and how it affects us and the words just came out like that! But I also want to say – don’t listen to self-doubting Deirdre – she’s not your friend and she doesn’t know what will make you happy! 🙂 So, I’m leaving you with a quote I read today which sums it up…
Doubt, fear and regret are the three villains of success. If you close the door on the first two, you will never have to worry about meeting the third.