“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” –Steve Furtick
Recently, I feel like I keep rounding corners that lead into dark alleys where Sinister Sasha awaits. She takes me down with a baseball bat, while hurtling insults in the form of insecurities into my face. It’s ridiculous, really.
On a couple of separate occasions in the past week, friends cancelled plans with a few hours notice, for perfectly legitimate reasons. And suddenly, rather than being home alone with the unexpected surprise of a night with no plans, I’ve found myself in the company of Sinister Sasha.
“Nobody likes you,” she says, very matter of factly. “They think you’re too… oh, I dunno… Pollyannaish.” She smirks, and glances down at my feet. “And your shoes are old.”
I try to ignore her. But those seeds of doubts dig in with all their might.
“You do go a bit over the top with the positivity,” I whisper to myself in the mirror, after splashing my face with cold water. “And if you do the math, you’ve been paying about a nickel a day for footwear.”
Practical Sasha is sitting on the edge of the tub. She chimes in, “You’re too hard on your shoes to spend any decent amount of money on them.”
“And the optimism?”
She starts to whistle and studiously examines her fingernails. I sigh, and head out to the kitchen, taking a seat at the table and putting my head in my hands. “I could--”
“Nope.” Sinister Sasha interrupts, sitting opposite me.
“You didn’t even let me fin--”
“You were going to say that maybe you could tone it down a little. What’s the point? That maybe you’ll ‘fool’ everyone enough into thinking you’re not Super Positive?”
“Well,” I huff. “I’m not.”
“Phbbt. Whatever.” She rolls her eyes. Suddenly she zeroes in on the bar of chocolate sitting on the table, and she begins to unwrap it. “I’m going to have this. You shouldn’t have any, anyway. Hate to break it to you, but your pants have been fitting a little snugly recently… did you quit running?”
“I'm taking a br-“
“Quitter.” She mutters, taking a bite of chocolate.
I stand up, grab my cell phone, and head out the door on a walk. Sinister Sasha can’t keep pace with me when I storm out. But I don’t feel alone. Friend Sasha is walking next to me – a compilation of all the wonderful people in my life.
“You really shouldn’t listen to her,” she says soothingly. “She views things from a distorted reality.”
“But she has some valid points!” I say, my eyes filling with tears.
“Oh, hush now. That you’re too positive?” She clucks her tongue. “We both know that you have ups and downs just like everybody else on this planet. And even if you didn’t, what’s so wrong with that? You are who you are, and there isn’t any point in trying to be anyone other than yourself.”
We walk along in silence for awhile. Friend Sasha touches my arm gently, to point out flowers to smell, cats to pet, fun cloud shapes to ponder. We work up a sweat, hiking steep hills to reach my favorite overlook of the city. Sitting down in a bench, we watch ferries roll in and out like the tides.
Finally, Friend Sasha speaks up again. “You realize that the more you listen to her, the more power you give her over your entire well-being, right?”
“And you realize that all she does is identify your deepest, most ridiculous fears about yourself and tries to see what will upset you, right?”
“And really, what does any of it matter? At the end of the day, all we can really do is try to lead a life that is true to ourselves. Then we can live a life without regrets – or at least feel good about where we’re at. Would you want to be anyone else?”
“No.” I say. And as the word leaves my mouth and hovers in the air in front of me, I realize its truth. “I want to be my Self.”
Friend Sasha smiles at me. “Good.” She looks out at the view again. “But you could stand to get a new pair of shoes.”