I Am Whatever I Say I Am

A fellow writer commented on my last essay about all my travesuras. She specifically mentioned how she loved the bit about my walking through school with my fractured foot just to spite my mom. She labeled it badassness.

I’ve never thought to describe myself as a badass.

After a bad bout of anxiety, a breakdown of tears in my car and a significant crying hangover – I decided to go back to therapy this week. I attempted to recap my life story and current triggers to my new therapist in thirty minutes. She called me a warrior.

I’ve never thought to call myself a warrior.

Driving home from therapy I recounted some of the major themes I took away from my first session. Like the importance of positive self-talk.

The core of positive self-talk, especially in those moments of desperation, is not to deceive yourself into believing something that is not true. The core of positive self-talk is recognizing the truth in yourself. The fundamental truth is that we all make mistakes. To expect perfection is unrealistic and unattainable.

Positive self-talk helps to bring the positive out of the negative to help you do better, go farther and move forward. It’s the difference between “I’m stupid for thinking this could have worked out” and “This was a hard lesson learned, but I am stronger and wiser because of it.”

One of my coworkers has this student who is perpetually irritable. This special needs kindergartener is basically a reincarnation of Grumpy from the Snow White movie – just remove the cone hat and replace it with dark, curly locks. When presented with any new situation, he scowls his face up and crinkles his nose, crossing his arms across his body and grumbles, “I can’t.” Occasionally, he will switch it up and mutter, “It’s too hard.” And sometimes he cries.

His occupational therapist took it upon herself to change Grumpy’s self-talk patterns by providing him with a different script. She told him that whenever something new or hard comes along he should say “I think I can do this” or “I’m going to try.”

The other day, my coworker – his speech therapist, placed a new activity in front of him and instead of his usual ill-tempered response, he smiled. I heard his voice from behind when he gleamed, “I think I can do this.” I had to do a double-take to make sure it was the same student. Not only was he practicing positive self-talk, he was generalizing it into different activities outside of the occupational therapy room.

It got me to thinking. What negative messages am I walking around am I carrying inside my head from my childhood? And how can I counteract those negative messages with positive truths?

It may take some time for me to figure it out. Definitely more than one therapy session. But I’ll start with this.

I am a badass warrior.


***This is Week 19 in the #52essays2017 challenge started by Vanessa Mártir.

5 thoughts on “I Am Whatever I Say I Am

  1. You are indeed -FYI I very much look forward to your posts, they’re a highlight for me! Keep doing what you’re doing and I hope things pick up for you.

  2. You are a bad ass warrior and Guuuuurl you got skills with the pen and keyboard!
    Keep writing! I’m all toooooo familiar with negative talk. The struggle is real… I hope to meet you one day!

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