Bear with me, this is my first blog entry ever.
“Fire the Judge; Hire the Witness” is a phrase I read from Glennon Melton Doyle’s blog Momastery.com. Those words come to mind occasionally when I’m too critical of myself, or when self-doubt is screaming at me to avoid vulnerability.
And really, I never “fired the Judge.” At best, I might have reduced his hours. Maybe put him on Administrative Leave. But never fired. Fired is permanent. He still had his pension, his benefits, and all the seniority he’d earned during his long tenure in my brain.
Then Shannon, my sister, turned 40. We were celebrating with drinks and discussion and the topic of her wanting to take dance classes came up. With a beer bottle in hand, I told her in my best Joey Tribiani voice, “Do It!”
She said she couldn’t because she was too fat. Now my sister’s lips were moving, and her voice was heard, but Shannon wasn’t doing the talking. The Judge was talking. The Judge in her head was forming the self-deprecating opinion. The Judge was stealing her joy.
And I totally understood because I want to write. I’ve wanted to write since I was seven years old and I made a construction paper book about houses. Now, I want to capture the thoughts and ideas and epiphanies and aha moments I have forever and in a way that other people would enjoy experiencing them too.
But the Judge has been in my head too. Of course, when it comes to writing, he doesn’t tell me I’m too fat–he saves that for the dressing rooms, and the mirrors and the photographs of me. When I think about writing, he tells me, “You’re not good enough. You don’t have time. No one will like it.” He’s not even quiet. He’s not even nice. And he needs to go.
But that Judge is crafty. He knows me. He knows me so well that he wins all the time. And I’m so tired of losing. I’m tired of listening and buying his into criticism. I want to be free.
So my sister and I made an agreement. She would take dance classes. I would start a blog. We’ll fire the Judge together and hire the Witness. We’ll witness our own struggles, and vulnerability, and stamina, and joy rejuvenating. We’ll witness each other breaking through the barriers of self-doubt and self-ridicule into self-confidence and self-reliance.
Part of me thinks that she got the easier part of the deal–I’ve rewritten this post about three dozen times. But then I think about how she told me last week that she is in a class where she is the largest woman. She is in a leotard and tights and making herself visually vulnerable every week.
I’m sitting on my couch on another Saturday night with a beer next to my computer and Harry Potter on in the background. Who knows who will read this? I know one person who will. We’re in this together Shannon. We’re firing The Judge and Hiring the Witness.