"- don't be so quick to knock it. People don't usually part with the weird shit they personally know because they know how easy it will be to punch holes in. Now I'm tellin you somethin. It's for you to poke through the soup and find the meat." John Patrick Shanley's 'the dreamer examines his pillow'

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Can't sleep again. My body is tingling with light, and I can't force it to want to lay in my warm, soft, cozy cotton sheets under a memory-filled, fluffy comforter for a night of much needed rest... nope, didn't work. Still here.
I'm listening to one of the best songs out there, In the Arms of the Angels. "There's always some reason to feel not good enough." You know what? I am tired of thinking, of deliberating. I believe that tonight I will stop all thought, and all judgement. I give up.
One day in acting, our teacher made us aware of that little voice in the back of our head that tells us we're not good enough, that makes us second guess every action and most words, and that presses us down sometimes almost imperceptibly, but which is nearly always present. The Critic, she called it. The few time the Critic is ever truly gone is perhaps when you're too tired to think, or under some other influence. She told us "here and now, I want you to tell the Critic to got to the store for some milk, and come back in half an hour." I know, sounds hokey, huh? But I did. And it left. And I went crazy. Started laughing like mad, it just felt SO amazingly good to not doubt my every move. I laughed out loud for ten minutes, and there was nothing in me to say "um, hey. maybe you should stop freaking out." The professor said the reason that works is that you can't get rid of the Critic forever, it's part of who we are. (It's also one of the worst enemies of acting. And living and relating.) You can, however, make it leave just for a while, knowing that life will return to normal.
How much easier would life be if we could murder the Critic?
You know, relating to other people is one of the most fascinating attempts we will ever make. There are those you can relax into, stay in their flow of words and thoughts and what comes into their face and body as they talk, and there are those that are like strikes of lightning in your day; you just bounce off one another, but having a drawn out conversation is not considered or pursued. There are those you have to think like mad when you're talking to - "am I doing the right thing to make them comfortable?" You just can't read them or discover what the heck it is they want. I hate that. But that type of person is nearly always someone I find fascinating or hurting, someone it's absolutely worth getting to know, as frustrating as it is. And there are your old friends, you sometimes feel guilty for not being able to relate to, but mostly just enjoy their presence. Lord, how I don't deserve those golden ones. That's real love.
My roommate Catherine and I talked yesterday about how rare it is to listen or be listened to. How long has it been since I've really listened and cared, and thought only about the person I was looking at or hearing? It happens far too seldom. So I've been trying just that, and I've been realizing how many of my conversations are focused on getting through, having a good time, bouncing off one another, making the person feel good, making sure my sense of self is preserved in my eyes and in their eyes. When I allow myself to really just hear their words and care, no matter how deep or shallow the conversation, and no matter how well I know the person, I find others opening up far more, and I find myself being ok with those few awkward moments when I don't know what to say. They're no longer awkward because I'm trying to make things not awkward. They're only there because I feel my response is insufficient to what I'm hearing, and I'm waiting for a new inspiration from my mind or theirs, and it does always come. God, people are amazing. We can all be real buttholes, too, and incredibly self-centered. But I love us anyway.


Blogger Neilio Wongizzle said...

why is it that you are so amazing. reading this entry about "the critic" made me aware..i've always wanted to give that lil' guy a name. i too sometimes wonder what life would be like without that voice that holds us back. man. that would be intense.

my mom's coming on thursday! maybe plan for dinner friday?

also, i made a new friend who has a car who likes to drive into columbus to go to huka bars. i think i'll force him to stop in westerville when he goes next!

i love you!

7:02 AM

Blogger Elysia said...

Wow Lizzie, that is so true. My critic has been over-eating as of late, I think I need to make him go run at the gym for a while and leave me alone. Thanks for sharing your little bits of strength, you are a benefit to us all.

8:27 AM

Blogger saphria said...

That is just what I needed to hear today. How is it that you always know just what to say. Thanks but I must now be off to practice my guitar before my critic comes ack from lunch.

3:22 PM

Blogger kirsten said...

I Love You! You are a genius... take that, evil Critic! Kirsten says Elizabeth's a genius! Also, Kirsten's Critic really likes to play the piano, sing, and act. Oh, and say she loves people, like Elizabeth! Her Critic also has a critic. Hey, what if we have a never ending chain of critics. That means that nobody doesn't have a critic... wow, I think I need to think this over...

11:39 PM

Blogger Lenny said...

I have this book that talks all about "The Critic" and how it interferes with the way of the artist. You can borrow it when you come live with me for Christmas.

7:01 PM


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