Friday, December 30, 2016

Losers and Other Voices in Your Head

Mandy, 1987-ish.

Part of not writing or not creating whatever it is you should be doing but aren't, is dealing with the tumult and fray that are the voices in your head. I'm not talking diagnosable voices that might lead to some sort of prescription or anything. I'm talking about the voices of doubt and derision that tell you that you can't. That you suck. That you're a loser for even thinking anyone would want to read anything your lame ass would write.

Every time I'm faced with the blank page, those voices start to clamor. Voices from the past. Voices from my own psyche that tell me I'm not good. I'm not worthy. I'm a piece of trash and no one would ever want to read anything I wrote.

"Who do you think you are?" they whisper. "You're just a loser."

"Loser" is the secret key to the darkest door in my brain. Walk down a spiraling staircase and descend into the pitch and cobwebby spaces of my gray matter — there you will find a little girl huddled in the corner. It's difficult to even write these words because I've given you access to the most vulnerable space within me. You now have the means with which to hurt me, easily.


It's my kryptonite.

I'm 45 years old and still I'm walking up the slow slope of Woodbank hill towards my house, the one with the peeling paint, the broken garage door and the overgrown grass. I'm still trying to get past one house as quickly as I can, before the Catholic school kids come out of their garage to play basketball in the driveway.

Too late. Always too late.

"Your mother's a drunk!" they shout. "You're a loser!"


Once planted it's there forever. Why? Why can some little snot-nosed, private school brats infect my brain like that? Maybe the only reason it resonated with me is because it's what I already believed about myself. Maybe it wouldn't have mattered a whit if I liked myself.

I suspect that's the real truth of the matter.


The blank page sits there and taunts. "Loser, who would want to read your stuff?" "Loser, don't post that on Facebook, Jesus." "Loser. Nobody gives a damn."

All the voices that clamor for your attention. All the voices that want to bring you down. But then another voice, perhaps the voice of the divine. Something calls to you and says, "You're fine."

That twinkle. That sparkling little light that reaches down the deepest cavern of your biggest doubts and tells you that you can.

And so I do.

Each time that I do, some kind of victory is won. And maybe that's why you're here too. Maybe you've been in the dark. Maybe you want to see the light. I'll hold my candle up and show you the way.


  1. Dear Mandy,
    Just keep writing. You have much to give and are giving in your blog. In this journey of life we are all learning.
    God bless you.

  2. When I read you or see you online, all I think is Luster. Not Loser. You're a bright, shiny object - so smart, so pretty, so inspiring. I hope you keep writing here.

    1. Wow! I love the way you see me! I will keep writing here ... or at least give it the old college try.

  3. Hi Mandy,
    Thank you. You may look back at each sentence written and find 'this needs work'.
    One way of judging a work of art: a painting, a book, a story,
    a few words....does anyone remember?
    How to describe your words easy, watch 'As Good as It Gets'.
    Sincerely, Richard.
    P.S. I remember you wrote "...our parents teach us how not to raise our children", I thought wow, so true.
    Thank you Mandy for sharing.
    Last, 'As Good as It Gets' is one of the best.

  4. "Self righteous bitch."
    The first time my step dad called me this I was young enough I had to ask my mom what it meant. Yep, she was there, no comments made in my defense.
    I love reading your writing, even when you make me all flash backy.

    1. Wow! I can't believe he said that to you. :-( But I"m glad you're here.

  5. Sometimes I wish my parents had known how to boost my confidence and my willingness to take a risk. But as I read this post, I realize they were attentive and kind and I should count my blessings. It is kind of amazing to me that someone as pretty and talented as you would still be struggling with so much self-doubt. You sparkle.

    1. I feel like I sparkle when you say I do. Thank you for the power of suggestion.