My Mental Sadist

I recently made the decision to start my own business. I held my breath, jumped with both feet, fingers and toes crossed. It’s extremely new, and everything still feels very uncertain and fragile. It’s probably ill-advised to write something like this so early on in the journey, but in the spirit of authenticity, I couldn’t not write about how tough the past couple of months have been.

First, I think it’s important to say, I’m well aware that starting a new venture without the financial security of a full-time job is not the wisest choice, but staying inside the lines has never really been my style. I’ve known deep down in my bones that I’m meant to do this. I know, unequivocally, that I can do this. I also know it’s meant to be really hard and really, really scary.

What I didn’t know was the minute you leap you’re rewarded with a little voice inside your head that will spend her time convincing you every minute of every hour that you cannot. She’s kind of like the that obnoxious Microsoft paperclip assistant except she only “helps” you find all the things in your brain you don’t want and definitely didn’t ask for. And holy hell is she one relentless, loud-mouthed shrew.

She waits until I have even the slightest feeling of peace and then flips a switch that plays the greatest hits reel of my fears and anxieties on repeat. Her witching hour is right before I try to get any sleep. She knows how to keep it interesting, sprinkling in new worries like what if I get cancer? What if there’s a tsunami on Lake Erie? What if my teeth suddenly fall out? What if I choke on my own breath and no one finds me in time?

My favorite was when she had me mourn the move out of my apartment like I had lost a parent. She punched me in the face with such sadness and grief that I’m genuinely surprised I didn’t go ahead and buy a gravestone and put it in Lake View Cemetery where I could visit it and leave flowers. I’m still not sure how anyone I cried about this to kept a straight face and pretended to grieve with me. It was just an apartment, you intolerable lunatic.

Last month she convinced me that the answers to all my problems were at the bottom of Cheez-It boxes, pizza, bags of M&M’s and bottles of wine. I never did find those answers and now I’m just puffy in addition to everything else. Awesome.

They say your journey is meant to be littered with naysayers. But what about when the biggest naysayer is you? People filling me with doubt I can handle. I was prepared for that. A torturous saboteur inside my own head suddenly convincing me that all the things I was once confident in is wrong, I was not prepared for.

We’ve been playing this sick game for some time now, and I’m almost used to her presence. Maybe she’s helping me become stronger by combating my own self on this journey. Maybe she comes with the territory; A mental test to prove how much I really want this. Or maybe she’s just an asshole. Whatever she is, I chose this.

No happy ending at the end of this post, for I know she’ll be here for awhile. It is and will be a daily struggle, but that’s ok. The juice will be worth the squeeze. In the meantime, the next time she tells me I can’t do this and I should just put my face in those Cheez-Its I’ll say, “Bitch, watch me.” And then I’ll only eat a handful.

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Megan Conway

A 30-something Cleveland native who writes better than she speaks.

2 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Always wise to recognize a freeloading brain tennant. Hopefully, she’ll find another arrangement soon and you can relax and enjoy the glorious new brain real estate filled with power and joy.

  • Such a serious and personal subject. (I have to say that you cracked me up and had me laughing as well!)
    I can so relate to what you’ve written. I’ve studied and read so many books to train my mind to overcome negative thinking during challenges in my life. I’ve learned that I had to exercise lots of patience going through these battles. It took time and lots of effort and faith to win. With each success though, confidence builds and new habits develop. Also, once I’d kicked this part of my thinking to the curb enough times, it’s become much harder for it to creep back in. Sure I have set-backs. It’s just not my “go to” thinking pattern, and I now can recognize it and flush it out before it gains a foothold. You’re way ahead of the game now, Megan. You’ve identified the enemy and declared war.
    I know you can win it!
    Thanks for sharing.

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