Wednesday, September 22, 2010

the judge

My friend Danielle came to visit us this weekend. Danielle is a creative type much like myself who I met in a writing workshop a decade ago. We discovered over the weekend that we fuck ourselves over in life by wanting to impress an entity we christened “The Cocktail Party Judge,” or CPJ. Do you know her? You might not ever drink cocktails or go to cocktail parties, but you don't need to. She lives in your head and she thinks very little of that blog of yours. She wonders why you're not writing something real, something marketable, something that would impress her. She wonders what's taking you so long, and by the way she thinks your yoga is silly and your spiritual quest a waste of time because you’re just using it as a cover for not being more successful at pursuits that would impress her, like being a bestselling novelist. You want to show her that you're worth something even without her seal of approval but really you want to show her how little she means to you in order to impress her since her validation means you get to keep on existing. Whether you meet her at the front door or in the backyard, she’s going to make sure you feel like shit.

And because your existence hinges on her approval, every time you encounter her you go dumb. Mute. You stammer, lose your cool, your volition, your nerve, gusto, zest for life. Maybe you even weep at her feet. It gets ugly-dramatic. And your creative pursuits, the very pursuits that erase the passage of time when you're happily ensconced in their flow, instead of remaining child-like and light as a silk scarf tossed into the seashore breeze, they harden into a precious leaden kernel you can neither swallow nor dislodge from your gut. You become paralyzed, you choke, and you spin in circles, possibly on the bathroom floor. You get nothing done. NADA.

I'm not sure if I was born this way or beaten into it during the dark years, say, from toddlerhood til twenty-one. CPJ needs to be outsmarted, outdone, understood maybe, and brought down to size, her pedestal chipped away at with the tip of my pencil, say. Or I'll graffiti her plaster platform, spray it fluorescent pink with my initials, carve "YOUR MOTHER" into its side so deeply with a hunting knife that it topples. Scrawl yet another novel into its fluted surface that may or may not go anywhere, title it SHIT ASS and dedicate it to her. Then I can tell her all about it the next time we run into each other. I’ll look forward to it.


art said...

hope harsh on self is not your new novel .

enjoy you and your writing.
Or is it fuel for your fire.<3

ingrid316 said...

My sister and I always called her "the invisible panel of judges." Hard to shake but I think knowing she's there is half the battle!


Cate said...

I know her! She has great hair. Always so polished. I'm going to see her next weekend. I'm really looking forward to having my wrong dress and shoes on while I explain that I used to have a big grown-up job and I taught like graduate classes and shit, but now I, um, stay home with my kid and ummm... catalog images for a database, and when I can't get enough work, I edit medical textbooks for an hourly wage. Yeah.

kristi said...

as my 3yo would say, UGH!

yes, i know her all too well, and i hate her guts. totally paralyzes me too.

sometimes when i am having a really good day i just work out and kick her in the teeth while i'm doing boxing moves...


Elise Abrams Miller said...

I'm hanging out with you guys at the next cocktail party!

Justicia said...

anava mala! she's a bitch....