My Weirdo Inner Critic

Sunday, May 20, 2018

His name is Frank.  Frank has no idea that's a banana.

Maybe it's because I'm kind of an explorer by nature.

Or maybe it's just because I'm inherently kind of strange, and have a tendency to do things kind of backassward and to unnecessarily complicate things.  (Ahem.)

My inner critic, though -- the one that conventional wisdom likes to tell us is omnipresent and keeps you from trying new things -- has a broken GPS.

He shows up after I try new things.

(I mean, I'm late a lot, because time is weird and squishy for me, but after?  Come on, IC...it's kind of ridiculous.)

New things don't bother me, generally speaking.  I'm one of those that gets a wild cockeyed hare-brained idea, and all of me's like YASSSS...LET'S TRY SKYDIVING WITH A LIVE PIG IN OUR ARMS or something.  There's no second-guessing, and rarely a whole lot of thought about consequences.  Which has landed me in hot water a few (million) times.  Beside the point.

What it's also done is let me try a whole lot of things.

I learn best by experience.  Hands-on, with my boots on the ground.  If I'm smart, it's also after reading the instruction manual, but let's be clear: that doesn't always happen.  If something sounds interesting to me, I'm on my way to Michael's or REI or Target or whatever, ready to pick up whatever I need to just begin.

Then, three or four times later, the banana gun is blazing.

I'm sure there's something that sets it off, but heck if I know what it is.  Maybe it's a whole bunch of somethings.  Maybe it's just that the explorer part of me gets comfortable, and bored, and starts making up things to scare me.  Or I finally become aware that I'm hurtling towards the ground and this parachute is uncomfortable and this pig isn't really having the best time, either.

I finally realize that gravity works and that going SPLAT! would kind of suck for me and Baconator III.  (Yes, I've named my imaginary allegorical pig.  Hush.)

Sometimes, this is where I quit.

Even if I'm not going to literally die upon impact.  

My mind tells me that this isn't what it signed up for.  Or I see places where I could improve and it's just too much, too soon.  Or I start worrying that people will think whatever it is that people will think because EVERYBODY has an opinion and most of them are completely mean and irrelevant to what I'm doing.

(It's the last one that usually gets me, to be honest.)

Sometimes, I talk myself out of things because Frank with the Banana Gun is all, you can't compete with XYZ because you have a camera from 2006 and you need at least that $100000 new one to be relevant.  (Frank thinks I have unlimited funds and no creativity.  This, from a guy with a banana.)

Frank is full of crap.

He's also late (I'm usually in motion), poorly dressed, and has bad taste in weaponry.  And he's woefully out of touch.

Not that this stops him from trying.

Some people will tell you that you should be nice to your Inner Critic.

That you should thank it for being concerned about you.  That yes, you could die if you keep using a sewing machine (especially in my case) or that people might laugh at you for using a sub-standard lighting setup for your videos (which I am, though it's not affecting the output that much, really), or that you're going to fall flat on your face if you babble like you always do (also a possibility).

But here's the thing:

Like I said, Frank is full of crap and threatening you with a banana.

It's a. banana.

Sure, it can poke you in the eye, but really...what else could it do?  Be yellow and tasty?

Your critic might not be a Frank.

Yours might show up as a monster, brandishing an Uzi.  Or your eighth-grade art teacher with a gaggle of mean girls behind her.  Or the Godfather, kissing you on both cheeks and smelling like cannoli.

But folks -- they're all just bananas.

In the end, even if the worst thing that you're worried about happens, you probably won't splat on the pavement with a live pig.

The best parts of my life have happened because I ignored Frank's threats.

What have you got to lose?

(Also, bananas are tasty sliced up in oatmeal.  SUCK ON THAT, FRANK.)

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© G O * E X P L O R I N G Maira Gall.