You know that restaurant critic? The one who writes the harshest reviews? You do, I know you do. He wrote things like, “The olivette potatoes were undercooked and pretentious, the lima beans edible but not sublime as advertised, and the tournedos of beef stingy, tough and dry. I wouldn’t bring my worst enemy to this restaurant.”
That guy. Now do you remember?
Well, that guy, finding it hard to make ends meet bashing restaurants, picked up a sideline job as my inner voice. For years, he sneered and shook his bony finger at me, accusing me of all sorts of dastardly deeds, insisting I could do better, insinuating I might be a little slow and most assuredly was unattractive.
I kind of got used to that guy. We werern’t friends and I can’t say I trusted him, but I accepted him as a valid member of my mental household. I listened to his opinions and tried not to resent his critical nature. This is how we improve, I told myself. We may not like it, but we need it. That’s what I thought.
Then, as mysteriously as he had appeared that guy disappeared. He was there and then he wasn’t. Did he die? Did he find a better head to live in? Where did he go? I don’t recall the exact day he left. It was more of a gradual awareness that the old coot’s voice had gone silent and that there seemed to be more room for new thoughts.
Not long after, MeeMaw moved in. MeeMaw is the polar opposite of her predecessor. When I get lost, which is often, MeeMaw tells me that the journey counts more than the destination. When I mess up she tells me everyone does-try again. When I don’t know how to do something, she says there’s more than one way to do everything – think of a way. She calls me “sweetie” and “honey”, and blesses my heart on a regular basis. She lets me sleep in. We make cookies and go on long walks. We stop to smell the flowers. We make plans and prioritize and treasure the little things. We count our blessings. I’m not sure where MeeMaw came from, but I hope she never leaves.
If that guy, that restaurant critic, what’s-his-name, if he lives in your head, do yourself a favor; send him packing and get yourself a MeeMaw. Life’s too short to entertain critics.