In the Burning Phase of My Life.

To befriend the shadow girl in the mirror…

Never should on yourself.

What should I be today?

I’m having trouble deciding, so perhaps I could put it to a vote, gentle readers. There are so many possibilities to choose from…

Indian Chief? No, don’t have the headdress, and quite frankly, I’m allergic to feathers. Doctor? Not enough schooling, and I REALLY don’t relish the sight of human blood or open wounds. Ballerina? Perhaps at one time…but my creaky old knees are well past that now.

Dumb bitch who has no self-control and should just stop eating altogether because she doesn’t deserve to take up the HUGE amount of space that she does right now–

Whoa! Wait! Where did THAT come from?????

Pretty harsh, right? Yeah, I thought so. But that is what a great many of us, myself included, say about ourselves when the pain gets too great and the eating disorders that shadow us constantly push their way to the forefront. I could have, just as easily, said, “Magnificent human being who is so sensitive, creative, and talented that all the finest things at the world should land at her feet.”

That probably doesn’t sound too familiar to a lot of my readers. We are so used to the “shoulds” that we place on ourselves being negative, being about the things that we feel we cannot do, that we are too weak to do, that reveal what we perceive to be our many flaws. Why choose a version of ourselves that promotes joy when we can just choose to believe a worst-case scenario instead, one that justifies the self-punishment that so many of us get stuck in day after miserable day?

Because sometimes being positive is scary, because it is so new and different from what we have been programmed to do. Programming is tedious to change, and it sometimes can seem like too much of an effort. But it is worth it. I’m tired of starving and punishing my inner child. She cowers in the corner, beaten down, because of all of the poison shoulds that I have rained down on her.

It is time for her to be nourished, both physically and mentally, so that she can build sand castles, sprint down the street while chased by several friends and all of the neighborhood dogs. She needs to know it’s okay to paint on the walls…with washable paint. Hell, sometimes with permanent paint!

It is time to love my inner little girl, and stop dictating what she should be other than her own unique self.

What could YOU do to banish the “shoulds” and be kinder to your inner little person?

Please share…I would love to know.

Love each other, and yourself, until we meet again.


March 26, 2010 - Posted by | Mind Shadows. | , , , , , ,


  1. Dumb bitch who has no self-control and should just stop eating altogether because she doesn’t deserve to take up the HUGE amount of space that she does right now–
    WOW….have you been reading my mind??? Great article xxx

    Comment by Siobhain | March 26, 2010 | Reply

    • I suppose I have…and if I can READ your mind, perhaps I can help to put the kinder, gentler thoughts in there, too…thank you for reading, and sharing….:)

      Comment by Jen Kamerman-Jenkins | March 26, 2010 | Reply

  2. This is a great point. I think awareness is the first step – because then you can enter into a dialogue and challenge the negative voice. The tendency to internalise negative self talk was so deep for me, that just recognising where it entered was a crucial first stage – and meant that as your post shows, I could start to assess whether my judgements were really fair, and to add in an alternative message.

    I also always remember a comment my friend made to me when she said that I wouldn’t let my worst enemy starve – and was I really worse than that?

    Comment by Finding Melissa | March 26, 2010 | Reply

  3. so true, Melissa…and your friend’s quote is so provocative and right…I think I’m going to carry that one close to my heart in case of emergencies…

    Comment by Jen Kamerman-Jenkins | March 26, 2010 | Reply

  4. I just LOVE this post it almost made me cry because I want to nurture the little girl, yet I can’t.

    Comment by shellypolly | May 18, 2010 | Reply

  5. Oh dang, I can truly relate to all this… Bravo on your brutal honesty. 🙂 It’s so hard to just be the learning “girls becoming women” we all are, instead of pretending and forcing ourselves to be superwoman. :\

    Comment by Lily | September 15, 2010 | Reply

  6. Hi – I have a relevant guest post regarding eating disorders and children. Wondered if you’d like to take a look?

    I also do Monday Madness – a blog linky for mental health bloggers every week, and Awareness day on Wednesdays. Hope to see you over at wordsinsync soon – OH – For those who participate in the linky’s I offer the chance of a feature on Thursdays too. Shah .X

    Comment by Shah Wharton | March 30, 2011 | Reply

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