Hard on Myself: Something I recognise…


After reading my post from yesterday, many people commented upon the need to take things gently and be kind to myself. This triggered a jolt of unpleasant recognition: I am extremely hard on, and often not at all kind to, Alienora.

I treat myself with thinly-veiled contempt – and have a tendency to beat myself up at the slightest infraction of the rules. Rules, I hasten to add, which originated in the training received from more dominant characters in my life’s play – but which I have adopted, albeit subconsciously, even when the major players have, in fact, walked off my stage and gone back to their every-day existences.

I internalise criticism – and use it, all unawares, to improve my own personality, performance, relationship with the world and its denizens. This is all very well and good when the harsh words are justified, but dangerous and destructive when they are not. In desperately trying to prove that I am able to take criticism, I have, on numerous occasions, allowed the Lady Macbeths (of both sexes) of the performance to whisper poison and manipulative folly into my receptive ear; I have willingly opened myself to seduction by gaslight, in other words, hearkening to the harrowing blend of charm and threat which characterises these dimly-lit figures and the ominous scenes in which they appear.


But, the King Duncan figure – whose ending is so necessary to the plot – is, in this instance, myself. The brutal stabbing, at darkest watch of night and in direct contravention of all the laws of kinship,honour and protection of guests, is the result of the vicious drip-drip of persuasive periwinkle.

I recognise that I have listened to the prompt sitting in dark solitude at the side of the stage; that I have allowed the sinister and vainglorious to bully me into rewriting the script and changing the whole emphasis of the characters I created; that I have created a place in the chorus for myself because of the belief, fostered by the controllers, that I did not deserve a speaking role, let alone a major one. I have given way when ‘advised’ to rip away the babe suckling at my breast and dash its delicate brains out.

I recognise that I have perpetrated all manner of cruelties upon myself, cursing myself time and time again through the medium of the infamous Three Witches, treating myself as an arrant failure, a nasty person, a Caliban (to switch Shakespeare plays for a moment).

Now I am not claiming, for one moment, that I do not possess that element of demanding Director so important in producing a tight and successful show; I do, in spades (and probably buckets as well) – but, the Hoarse and Narcissistic Whisperers have added a loathly and lurid lustre to the whole thing, an air of dark enchantment and specious advice which, no matter the vastness of Box Office numbers, has had a deleterious effect upon the dramatic art form as a whole.

I recognise…


4 thoughts on “Hard on Myself: Something I recognise…

  1. Julie

    If life is meant, first and foremost to be lived, all we should be doing is try to understand it without getting trapped by our own and our culture’s values and expectations. That’s why being an outsider, a marginal or a hippie is good. Creativity is also a mark of success.

    Liked by 1 person

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