Thursday, March 22, 2012

Woe Is Writer

If writing were this easy and painless, I'd have completed whole libraries by now...

I recently read an article about boosting self-confidence with the power of positive thinking.  

How original -- snide remark compliments of my inner critic.

When it's on break from beating me to a non-productive, quivering pulp, my inner critic often amuses itself with wonderfully cruel asides.  It should blog...  Funny thing, the article knew my inner critic well and said the reason it's swelled to the limits of my skull is because I'm a girl.

"Another perk of womanhood!  Yay!"
--said my inner-critic.  I'm calling her Unis.  (The rest of me had a bit of an f.u. reaction...)

The article claimed that's because little boys tend to be criticized way more than little girls.  What?  I have no idea why that would be the case, but let's say it is.  The article claims boys criticize and tease each other more openly than girls, and anecdotally-speaking that does seem to be the case.  And it feels true that girls grow and nurture a substantially stronger inner critic than boys.  Just look at public restroom behavior.  En masse, women don't tolerate gross bathrooms or slovenly bathroom habits.  Men do.  Within 10 minutes any male public restroom becomes a post-apocalyptic mire pit.  Which I don't get at all.  Anyway, the article said because they're more used to criticism being heaped upon them, boys learn early to shake it off, confront it, or ignore it.  Which is why some can miss a toilet or sign their names in pee and go right back to their day.  Men who don't behave that way--often just hold it until they get home, if they are so able.  On the other hand, girls perceive criticism often when it isn't even really there.  We experience it more acutely, and internalize it, making it part of our identities.  A slovenly bathroom reflects on us, and we will not have that. We'll demand intervention, call in a manager, complain, the most fringe of our sex may even attack the mess themselves!

I don't know if the article was accurate, but it felt and feels true.  At least as a description of me and Unis.  And the inner-critic theory also fits with the "practice makes perfect" model.  Most boys and men I've known do seem better at ignoring, compartmentalizing or confronting than I am, all skills I'd like to master, though not at the expense of decent public bathrooms.  And I do dread a regular regimen of high-fiber frustration and cardio-criticism just to build my confidence muscles.

"Embrace your anxieties."

Shut up, Unis.

1 comment:

  1. Can't say I agree with much of any of this - even the restroom part. I have stopped being surprised at how gross Women allow their public washrooms to get.

    It is way too easy, too conventional, and too uninspected to reflect these popular canards about male psyche.

    As for criticism - my experience is that women criticize more (outwardly) than men. Compare mothers with fathers. My mother was always criticising - and still does. Constantly. Perhaps your world is different, but it does not reflect everyone's reality.