Gentle Reader, dig if you will the picture, of you and your very best friend engaged in a visit. It’s a glorious day and you’re enjoying each other’s company.
You’re in the grocery store with your child. You’re both in a good mood and having fun together. The phrase, “ice cream for dinner” may have been bandied about.
You and your friend, or you and your offspring, are approached by a stranger. Yet somehow, this stranger knows your companion. They know their fears, mistakes, and secret shames. They know the words that wound and how to wield the knife to cut the deepest.
In a blink, your friend, your child, has been flayed open with hidden weaknesses exposed to punish and humiliate.
Words said cannot be unsaid, and these cruel, malignant words will be a burden never relinquished. The trauma of these searing invectives will be bourn for all their days.
So, what do you do?
Do you remain silent? Do you join in, pile on, and feast upon your loved one’s pain?
Of course you don’t.
You defend and protect with the ferocity of a grizzly woken in late January to protect her cubs. You shut them down and shut them up. Depending on your self-control and blood sugar level, you just might punch them square in the mouth.
And, once this evil troll has been dispatched (one way or another), you turn to your wounded, beloved bird.
Then, Gentle Reader, you set and splint the break, working to heal, and in the healing make stronger.
You remind them of their awesomeness. You list their intelligence, fortitude, and magnificent heart. You point out their kindness and sense of humor. You tell them they are fiercely loved and ferociously lovable.
All in an attempt to defend, protect, and erase the un-erasable.
Of course you do. Because you love them, and cannot stand to see hurt in their faces.
So let me ask you a question.
If you wouldn’t let a stranger talk this way to the ones you love, why, oh why would you say things to and about yourself that are so much crueler?
And your personal WMD’s are so much more lethally focused.
You can hear that boy’s voice when he publicly spurned your heart in the fifth grade. The memory of the night when you thought you were looking pretty foxy and those guys driving past called you fat. Closing your eyes, the malicious laughter of the eighth grade mean girls lacerates like they are standing right in front of you.
Every human, from the friendless first-grader at a new school to the most successful entrepreneur, has that venomous Greek chorus inside their head. That internal voice that tells you you’re a screw up, or hideous, or a mental tree stump. The monologue that explains, in exquisite, mortifying detail, why you will never succeed, and why you should just quit wasting your time and embarrassing yourself and everyone around you.
And I am a fully paid-up member of this soul-shredding club.
So, let’s make a deal.
I am extremely protective of you, Gentle Reader. And based on the communication I’ve received, you are in turn, mightily protective of me.
The next time we have that impulse to commit psychic hara-kiri with a sword made of words, stop. Ask yourself if I would let a stranger speak to you in that fashion, and if not, knock it off. I promise when I get rude with myself, to channel my Gentle Readers, and likewise, quit it.
Let’s be the restful, supportive angel on each others’ shoulders.
Thanks for your time.
Contact debbie at firstname.lastname@example.org.