“MOVE IT! It’s Monday – she’s barely functional in her post-weekend alcohol-induced groggy slumber” says the meanest and the ugliest of all the gremlins.

This fearless leader is as repulsive as he sounds: a droopy face with sagging bags under his eyes. His thinning hair parts down the side of his scalp revealing a crusty layer of dried skin, dandruff and pimples oozing with puss. His voice, oh his voice…is something out of your worst nightmares. A croaky and dreaded sound of condemnation and darkness.

They look at me fiercely…this time, there’s 5 of them, their faces alive with pleasure because they know they have my attention and they’re eagerly anticipating my fall. But allow me to introduce the ugly crew as I’m sure they visit you too!

You met the ringleader, Bully. He’s a vicious sucker and he’s crafty, riling up all the gremlins for attack. Let’s not forget he’s the Master of surprise and conniving messages. He’s always first to speak up. He reeks of chronic self-loathing and criticism. His message is harsh and demeaning. He looks at me square in the eyes and spits out the words carefully crafted to knock me down, “get your head out of your ass you lousy piece of crap – get up and be responsible! Get a real job. You’re just bringing everyone down financially with your unpredictability and dreamy hopes for a better tomorrow.”

If that isn’t enough, Miss. Sensibility, nose upturned, throws in her highly dignified opinion, “Katy dear, aren’t you being selfish? What makes you think, for one second, that you will do the most impossible of things? What makes you so special that you think you can go against the grain and create a 6-figure business? Just who do you think you are?” Her eyes glare at me with utmost contempt.

I try blocking all of it but as I stand to leave the room, Pudgy yanks on my arm and pulls me back into my seat. He’s impossibly cruel. “You will sit here, you will listen, you will NOT walk away”, he says, “and for the record, no one out there thinks you’re anything but scum. Have you noticed how much you’re failing? Down to just 1-2 runs per week huh? Hah! And have you lost a single pound? Nope. Nada. Whatdiya expect when you eat like 3 horses combined? We all know sexy isn’t in your future. Might as well let it all go…let it hang out. Take that, chubs!”

By now, I’m fighting back tears. Disguised as a supportive friend, Pitifulme shows up next. She’s soft and seemingly kind but really, she’s weak and depressing. She wraps her heavy arm around my shoulders and tells me I shouldn’t be surprised. “It’s okay Katy…let’s cry about this together. There’s no point fighting it. It’s over. Let’s head to bed and have a nap. We both know sleep is the best escape. Besides, it won’t matter what you try to do. You won’t be productive anyway. You deserve a break so let’s nap. Then let’s eat ice cream. See, if Pudgy insists we’ll get fat, then let’s prove him right.”

I feel the pull. So tempting. Every square inch of my body wants to surrender to blissful sleep and denial. Top that with chocolate and I’m set. But as I’m contemplating this, I’m suddenly slapped across the face by Pissedoff. Now, Pissedoff doesn’t show up very often…at least not when others are around. But he’s incredibly fierce. And he knows he’s ugly as hell. When he gets hold of me, his rage spills out like no one’s business. And right now, he’s mad. He’s furious with me for being such a baby. And he knows that I’m the reason for all this failure. It’s been nothing but one failure after another. He’s so angry at me he screams “you’re F&^*ing useless!” Adding skill to his method, he carefully channels this rage so I can cut down loved ones with rage and mean words. After all, I might as well dish out the excess shit I feel.

* * *

I’m sitting here listening to everything that’s been said to me. I reach out to a real friend and give her the report on today’s meeting. She’s enraged. She asks me to leave the room, to find a better space. Fortunately, I listen to her.

Once I’ve left the Gremlin Convention, I feel relief. I have the power to accept or disregard all this talk as truth or not. I choose to block all of it. I choose to release my most authentic, natural self. I choose to embrace what’s possible and not the lie that it’s impossible.

I will win this battle.

I choose to love. I choose to believe. I choose to be free.

Every. Single. Day.

Your inner critic shouldn’t get the last say; talk to me and let’s put it in its place!