The Bully and The Cheerleader

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Today was one of those days, the ones where I berate myself at every turn and want to do nothing but sleep. I have Twitter to thank for that. An article appeared in my stream –  retweeted from another site – and my back molars ground against each other when I saw the author’s twitter handle. I’d blocked them awhile ago for this very reason, but apparently blocking someone doesn’t prevent other people from sending tweets with their Twitter handle in it.

So, I read the article and it was as egregiously self-congratulatory and self-important as I had predicted. It was one of those “let me take your problem and make it about me” essays. When I finally finished it – because it was over 2,000 words – I took to the comments, where people were gushing over how amazing the writer is. The pulsing in my forehead grew more intense with each comment I read. The author was so amazing and such a role model. Blah blah blah. I laughed to myself , wondering what they’d say if they knew who that person really was: abusive, toxic, and dishonest.  I knew ahead of time I shouldn’t have clicked on the link. This person is a major trigger for me. I should have known better. When I finished reading the piece the self-doubt flooded in.

I forwarded the link to some friends and we all had a good laugh at the author’s expense, because they know the author, too. It was comforting to hear them validate my loathing for the writer.  But once the giggles faded, I was still left with this gaping wound in my heart.  I lay in bed wide-awake last night, unable to sleep, wondering one thing: why does that person get what they want and I can’t even get a date?  I thought about Luc, and how he always smiles when he sees me at the gym. Maybe he likes me, right? It’s not so preposterous. I’m pretty and I’m a good person. Right? That’s when the Bully Voice stepped in:

THEM: I don’t know why you bother. These things never work out for you. Why do you keep doing this to yourself?

ME: You’re right. I know. I’m stupid.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

I disabled my OKCupid account because I was having that conversation with myself every god damn day since re-activating it. No more. I can’t do it. It’s just not good for me. I don’t have the fortitude to talk myself through the disappointment. I think that’s why I’ve been thinking about my sister so much. She never lost that Head Cheerleader spirit that she had in High School. When I first told her I wanted to write a book years ago, she didn’t hesitate to tell me I should.

“That would be so awesome,” she said. “I’d buy it.”

If I said I thought an actor was handsome, she’d chime in with, “Maybe you could meet him someday!”

When I’d tell her about my crushes, I’d always say that I didn’t think the guy could ever like me back.

“Don’t say that! Of course he could!”

There was no such thing as impossible to her. That’s where the resemblance ended. We were identical in personality (salty) and instinct. We also shared the ability to gut someone to uncover a person’s weakness and then use it to gut them with a sentence, leaving them on the ground, gurgling and bleeding out. That’s why her last words to me (“No wonder you’re alone”) keep echoing in my head. She knew how deep those words would cut me. That’s how hurt she was that I – in her mind – betrayed her. More frequently now, I feel the urge to call her. I still have her contact info in my phone.  She would scare off The Bully. But she can’t, so I have to learn how to do it myself. I have become my own Cheerleader. That doesn’t come very natural, if you can believe it. (*sarcasm*)

But enough of this. I saw Luc today and –  again –  he smiled at me. That’s enough to float me for a couple of days. It’s both crazy and sad how the tiniest bit of attention can sate me. I ran into a woman from my Precision Running class at the super market and we ended up exchanging numbers. That gave me a boost. She’s great, very encouraging and funny. We’re treadmill buddies, as in we also book the treadmills next to each other. When she sees me struggling during a particularly high incline she whispers, “Lift your knees and stay in the middle. You’ve got this.”

It’s nice to make friends again. Things aren’t all doom and gloom. I have to remember that. Today was just a bad day.

Tomorrow will be different, I’m sure.


ETA: A writer’s group I belonged to sent around a list of ways to fight writer’s block. One of the suggestions was to keep a “side-piece” to help fight the boredom and monotony created by the story line and characters from your primary project. I’ve start writing something, another fictional story, this time a mystery. Much like traditional side-pieces, having a second story to turn to when things with your novel get stale or too complicated is a welcome escape and – believe it or not – actually strengthens your writing over all.

My question to you is: If I posted this “side-piece” story here in installments, would you read it or do you only want to stick to non-fiction type writing?




  1. I’d read it!

    I too struggle with the negative thoughts that permeate into my brain whenever things aren’t copacetic. But you acknowledge that it happens, rather than letting it bury you. I find that giving it a voice, facing these moments head on makes the negativity dissipate more easily. You should give yourself credit for that. It is a temporary feeling. And to acknowledge that online dating is garbage for you–bravo. I hate OKCupid. Hate. It. It is a grind, at least my experience has been that way. And fuck “You have to do something!! If you don’t work at it, you won’t get anything in return!” I am doing my best to live a purposeful life. Sounds like that’s what you are working towards, too.


  2. You have so much going for you but engage in habits that contribute to your unhappiness. These are some I’ve noticed in your posts here and on ATWYS…you compare, you deride, you cyberstalk and spend much time ruminating about the past. You are way too cynical and others pick up on this. Anytime I do these things, I also start getting depressed so I actively practice not doing them. Please, please please…you have so much to offer the world. The minute you find yourself doing any of these negative things – STOP!!…and take a moment to think about all the things you have accomplished and are grateful for. Go out into the world with a smile and look forward not back. It will change your outlook on life and probably your romantic prospects. You got this!


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