The Gremlin, The Mannequin and Joan Jett

Warning: Strong language included in this post.

I may have mentioned in my previous posts about what we call in the coaching world as our “saboteur”. AKA "the gremlin". It’s that little (or sometimes not so little) voice in our head that we all have, some more than others. It tells us mean things, negative talk, tells us we can’t do something, that we look stupid, that we’re fat, ugly, etc. Everyone’s is unique. Some people believe theirs more that others. Some people have learned how to squash theirs. But, it’s been my experience, that it never quite goes away and that it evolves, just like we do. It gets smarter, and sneakier too as time goes on.

I’ve started this post a few times, and have never finished or posted about my saboteur. It was a homework assignment from my coach about a year ago; one that I never completed (See, even coaches are bad clients sometimes). I think back then I was afraid to rip the band aid off and show everyone my saboteur. Well, enough hiding, here she is:

My sabotuer is a vicious bitch to me. In my mind she looks like a manequin would, perfect hair, skin, and make up, perfectly thin with no flaws. On display. She is also empty inside. She tells me my world will fall apart at any moment, and to brace myself for it. She wears a smug expression. She tells me I need to be thinner, stronger, younger, in better shape, a better mother, a better wife, a better friend, a better everything. And never, ever, let them see you cry. She used to tell me I'm not good at anything, so why try?



The absolute complete opposite of her, and what in my mind kicks her ass is my alter ego: Joan Jett. She doesn’t give a shit about what anyone thinks of her, doesn’t give a damn about her bad reputation, is exactly who she is and certainly makes no apologies for it. She is a serious ass-kickin' rocker.


In many ways I'm a lot like her, but my gremlin says, "That's not pretty, not lady-like, it's too loud and-your-reputation-IS-so-important-if-it-were-flawed-WE-WOULD-DIE!!!"

Metaphorically speaking, the mean-bitch mannequin lady and Joan Jett have roller derby races. They race, they bump into each other, tell each other to fuck off, sometimes they crash and get it into a knock down cat fight. They go around and around the track, going nowhere.

Do you think I'm totally crazy yet? Okay, good.

But, sometimes they slow down and skate together quietly. Because I am not either of them. I am not perfect at parenting, working out, or anything for that matter. And I don't need to be hard-as-nails tough like Joan Jett either. I can be in the middle. In the grey. My gremlin, the mannequin lady is addicted to suffering. No matter how pretty she presents herself to me, no matter how convincing she is, I still need to remember SHE IS NOT ALLOWED TO LIVE MY LIFE. So, I take my skates back.

And skate away from her to take control of my own life.

So, who is your gremlin, your saboteur? What does he/she say to you? How do you decipher between that voice and your true voice, your true being? 


Kendra said...

This is a great post. I think we can ALL relate to the inner voice in our heads trying to ruin our lives. I like all the language you use as well. Its great to call that voice out on its shit :)

Jenny Ferry said...

Awesome post, Andrea! It reminds me how much of a champion you are for women's empowerment and body image by exposing the biggest mind-suck/fuck there is...that sneaky saboteur. Your rock, sister, and glad to be on the same team. ;)

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to take the time to do this assignment sometime, it seems like it did you a lot of good!

And IF IF IF the mannequin is ever to get ahold of those skates again, I think Joan Jett should tie her laces together so she'll fall on her face and you can sneak up behind her and rip 'em right off her feet. That'll show her! Afterall, that mannequin has nothing on you! :)

Stephanie Smart said...

Wow, what a great post. One that I really needed to hear today. I was just thinking that I need to post something on my wall in big letters to remind myself not to listen to the saboteur. I knew there was a reason I found your blog and why I subscribed. Thanks for your honesty and openness.

Mia said...

Wow, I've been thinking a lot lately about my inner meanie as well. She kicks my ass a lot, but like you i try to ignore her and create an inner heroine who overthrows and takes over her position of power. Seems as though most women beat themselves up from time to time. Well written, and something to think about:)

karen pery said...

Wait, are you telling me you only have one saboteur? I have teams, legions, armies - okay, not that many, but definitely more than one. : )

Andrea said...

@Kendra- Yes, but sometimes it's nice to have friends to call out our shit!

@Jenny- Yes, the saboteur IS a mind fuck!

@Lindsey- I like that! I may use that visualization. :)

@Stepahnie- That's a good idea- a reminder to listen to your true, authentic self.

@Mia- Yes, I think most women beat themselves up a lot!

@Karen- Mine has just evolved. As my life changes, and gets better, she evolves and gets sneaker.

Anonymous said...

Yes Andrea...great to get this out here. We all know what it is like to let the Saboteur make our choices for us...hugs