Doubt. insecurity, anxiety. Those insidious little creatures, are always lurking somewhere.

She thought she’d exorcised them…so many times…and she had sworn she’d never let them back in. But they’d only been playing hide and seek; cleverly concealed in the recesses of her mind. Those parts she chose not to look at anymore, because she didn’t think she needed them.

Was it instinct, or emotion, that was calling them out?

Something was summoning them. Time to come out and play that old familiar game again. And she couldn’t stop them. She was powerless, when those old acquaintances arrived on her doorstep touting words of wisdom, knocking so hard she was sure they’d break the door down if she didn’t open it and let them in.

Yet still, she tried to resist and push them away. But when she turned her back, they tapped on her shoulder, and when she tried to ignore that, they’d pull her hair, while whispering in her ear that they weren’t going to leave until she listened. So she was compelled to give them her attention, and they’d start talking. Incessantly.

They each had a name; Doubt, insecurity and anxiety. Their relationship with her had been a long one, but still each time they visited, she’d ask herself the same question; was it instinct or emotion that had brought them here?

It was to hard to know, with any degree of confidence. And they’d always start with the same familiar debate. She’d try and convince them that it was just emotion, it was just that she felt vulnerable; they were really just a figment of her imagination. And they’d scream at her that it was instinct. INSTINCT INSTINCT INSTINCT. While painting a picture on her wall, in excruciating detail, that she doesn’t want to look at. A reality she doesn’t want to believe.

She tries to argue of course, because she wants to believe in the romance, the power of her allure, that he really meant the beautiful things he said to her – yes they were genuine, yes they had real substance; they couldn’t possibly have been lies, or just transient emotions. It was real….he’d told her so. But doubt, insecurity and anxiety, just laugh, and shake their heads, and remind her of all the times she’d tried to convince them of this, all the times she had ended up being wrong.

Then they taunt her with the torturous facts – they had a good arsenal to work with now.

And they remind her:
That their loyalty to her has always been far stronger than the loyalty of any lover; they are always there for her, in it for the long haul; they’ve earned their stripes over the years.

And then they repeat to her the old familiar dialogue:
You’re not worth it; you’ll never be enough…doesn’t matter what they’ve said. It never turns out to be true.
Is it real? Yeah right! You’ve been played, again, girl. When are you going to learn?
You’ve only got yourself to blame when it turns to shit, and the truth starts coming out. Listen listen listen to us. We knew.
It doesn’t matter if you tell yourself you deserve the best, that you are worthy of all the good stuff, and that he said you did too – they’re just transient sentiments – get with the program.
You feel and believe in the words, the actions, too much, you take them in too deep; think they have meaning beyond the moment, that they have longevity, substance. But that never turns out to be true, does it?
Stop thinking you can take it to the bank.
Stop kidding yourself, stop believing in things that aren’t real
How many years have we been telling you this, how many more times are we going to hear this same story?

The beautiful words, the promises, the declarations of love, the ‘trust me’s’’ the ‘I’m not going to hurt you’s’, the ‘I respect you’s? They sing in her ear with relish – all just Hallmark card sentiments.

And as they warm to their subject, they gouge in deeper, reminding her about the touch, the looks, the mental connections, the physical union, and the spoken and unspoken words…. Surely there was something in all of that, she still tries to argue? But it’s sounding weak even to her own ears now. Can something die, that never really was?

The heat of their bodies when they touched; the intensity when their eyes and bodies locked; the passion: fingernails down each others backs, love bites so deep in so many places. Faded now, but still visible. A mocking reminder, that whatever she thought it was, was wrong, skewed. You should have listened to us, doubt, insecurity and anxiety chant, as they dance around her. We would have saved you from it. We would have protected you.

We haven’t let you down, yet, who or what else can you say that about? We’re always here; we’ll pick up the pieces. We’ll tell you the truth, when you try to turn your back on your instincts, and wander off into the land of emotional fantasy and delusion, wanting to believe too much in things that aren’t really real, and ignoring our whispers. You need to learn trust us. We have your best interests at heart, we only come when needed. And maybe one day we won’t need to come at all. But that day is not today.

– Judi Reed, 2012