• Leah Van Someren

Dear Inner Critic

Dear Inner Critic,


It’s me, host and prey concurrently. The center of your chastisements and subject of your shaming. We’ve done a lot of life together, you and me. Forever roommates in some sort of sick, unspoken lease on my mind real estate. Did you know the space you commandeered so long ago was once a wondrous stratosphere brimming with compassion and twinkling imagination? Intricate finger paintings beheld as majesty and carefree dreams, wild and absurd. A mythical playground where life sprung up with every flitter of movement and freedom saturated every nook, crack and cranny.


But then you arrived, loaded for bear with as much judgement and harsh critique you could muster and, like the plague, invaded without concession or permission. What was once free space, open air and full of delight, you hijacked and like the hoarder of lies that you are, you scattered unwanted junk from ceiling to floor. Any time spent together consisted of me attempting to untangle your massive mess of condemning thoughts, still hot with shame’s painful sting. For years I’ve toiled to unsnarl and subdue but every time I tugged a tether, the knots only constricted tighter and tighter. Like an imaginary needle nestled in a mountain of hay, you swore there is a strand of truth trapped in the tangle that loosens the looming fear I cowered under. So there I sat, compulsively tugging, fingers raw and bleeding, too fixated to notice my mind cinching in around me.


And don’t get me started on the friends who trailed in behind you without my consent. Control, Rejection and Fear. Your posse of truth feigning posers overhauled my mind into a house of mirrors that are anything but fun. They are twisted and distorted, anamorphic and awry. Worst of all is your imaginary friend, Perfection, who doesn’t even exist and yet you demanded I make room for her in what little space I had left. And when you all got to yacking, you go on for hours. I pleaded with you to be quiet but my voice of truth was seldom heard over the echo chamber of your chatter.

It’s times like these and so many others, you may have noticed I do my best to avoid you, trying to sneak past without being detected. Let me reassure you, it’s not me, it’s you. You and your insatiable insisting that I must work to be better. Like a harsh and sterile spotlight, you expose every flaw. Purposely misdiagnosing, you prescribe ‘rights’ to fix all my ‘wrongs.’ You say you’re doing me a favor, piecing my dismantled self together to sooth the ruffled opinions of others. But in reality, you are much more afraid of what they think than I ever was or will be.


That said, Inner Critic, I have something to say and I’m going to say it. So sit down and shut up, just for a second. You see, recently, I’ve spent a lot of time with Love. You may know Him…He lives just downstairs in the center of my heart. That’s where I’ve been abiding each time I depart. You'd know Him when you see Him by the way that He smiles. It’s like the sun acquainting himself with a familiar horizon. His laugh is enough to awaken a dead man, not that anyone could taste death when they are with Him. And if you met Him, I think you’d like Him because He’s patient and kind. Songs come from within Him and Life is the sum of Him. In the morning, we climb mountains and scream from the top and in the evening, we cook dinner always pausing to dance.


We sit for hours, painting pictures of our hearts with the most intricate strokes. And other times we lay, basking in the sun with eyes intertwined. Not a single word is uttered and it’s completely divine. He never fails to discover majesty in the mundane. We laugh together always and cry together too. Nothing is ever ritual when we commune. From the moment we met, Love knew me through and through and even still - maybe even because of that - He wanted nothing more than to forever have my back.


Every time I cry, Love is there with arms open wide, receiving me without requirement, condition or hesitation. He hugs me and holds me and whispers in my ear, “You never, ever have anything to fear. You, my dear, are completely safe here.” Love always wants to know what I have to say and gently reminds me if I’m going astray but still never imposes or demands His own way. When I’m with him, I’m constantly in awe of how He shows me who I am exactly. I see a reflection of me in His eyes, along with the rest of humanity. The best thing about Love: He gives Himself away, never concerned of running out because He knows and believes in His own immensity.


I told Him about you and your ball of knotted wire. I asked what He thought about the shame stings and all your friends who spew lies. I explained how you’ve overtaken my mind and how you’ve hurt me, causing me to feel unsafe in what was once mine. I even told Him about Perfection, your imaginary friend and how she’s distorted my perception of all things, including Him.


And after all that, I know you might expect anger or a flip of a switch but He isn’t like that, not even one little bit. I know it may surprise you because it’s so unlike you but He wanted to ask you to come down from your lonesome tower for a visit. He told me to tell you, His heart home is always open to you and those that are like you. He hoped you would allow Him to help, heal and bless you. To show you how to put your gloves down and be vulnerable and authentic. Just know when you choose to, Love will wrap you in a hug until you run out of tears. He says the streaks left by crying are pathways to new living.


Inner critic, be acquainted with Love and let Him transform you.


With Love,

Leah