I tried to kill the Conflict Girl. She was limping along, a shadow of what she once was, so I finally put her out of her misery in a satisfying blast of dynamite a couple years ago.
To carry the cheesy metaphor even further, the ashes of the Conflict Girl turned into a ghost who has haunted me ever since.
Before I decided to destroy her, I had grown tired of the reminders that she wasn’t what she once was. I grew weary of defending her against other petty people who, like me, were unhappy with how their lives had turned out. I wasn’t strong enough to ignore the haters — one hater in particular — with my middle fingers flying high. I was just. so. tired. Everything felt like too much effort. It was all too hard.
Besides, I was trying to turn over a new leaf. I wanted to be a Christian Little Mary Sunshine, a completely sanitized and whitewashed version of myself that bore virtually no resemblance to the real me. But I had deemed the real me unacceptable, once and for all. Church and religion and Jesus were supposed to make me feel like I finally had unconditional love but it actually had the complete opposite effect. I don’t think I have ever hated myself more or believed myself less worthy just to exist.
In setting the Conflict Girl ablaze, it wasn’t a mercy killing, it was an expression of deep hatred for all I had ever been. Hadn’t I gotten boring over the years anyway? How well had my real views ever really served me, anyway? After all, I was depressed, diagnosed with a chronic and incurable disease, and almost nothing in my life had turned out the way I wanted. I didn’t live up to my potential. My illness had destroyed my once-formidable intellect. Maybe I was once interesting, but not anymore. Adios and good riddance, bitch.
In making my new start as a bland and generic Christian girl who never had any mean thoughts, I was trying to bury the real me in a deep grave. I never wanted to see her again. She deserved to have an incurable disease. She was a snarky and negative bitch who was far too neurotic to be likable. Why the hell couldn’t she just cheer up, when her life was so perfectly adequate? Her problem was that she just needed an attitude adjustment.
I needed an attitude adjustment. And if I couldn’t figure out how to do it, then I should just shut up. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything. I took that to heart, made it a code to live by.
The truth is that I have never been that person to just shut up, even though I don’t think the real me was ever really that horrible. I have always had a side of me that was introspective and thoughtful, that never truly wished anyone ill will. That’s still true. Namaste, y’all.
But the truth is that a lot of my thoughts are just not very nice. I’m sarcastic and obnoxious. I’m unable to stop noticing stupidity and my God, there’s just so much of it.
I want the world to be a better place but fighting (or even being aware of) my own and others’ micro-aggressions is just way too exhausting for me. As the saying goes, not my circus, not my monkeys. I’ll support other people who fight against micro-aggressions and apologize for the unintentional ones I make, but I have different battles I’m fighting instead.
My perspective is inherently colored by who I am and what I’ve experienced. In many ways, I’m different now than I was when I was writing down my unfiltered thoughts. But I’ve also realized that I’m not going to survive if I keep censoring myself. I hope that when I take off those shackles I’ve been wearing voluntarily, that I’ll regain the ability I once had to write well.
At one time, I truly felt that I wrote well. I don’t feel that way about myself anymore, even though it’s how I make my living.
I want nothing more than to get that part of myself back, that natural self-expression and connection to my true self. It felt so much better. So I’m resurrecting the Conflict Girl, bad attitude and occasionally salty language and outrage over politics and all. She deserves to have a voice again. But she still looks like a child’s doll salvaged from a fire, ripped apart and pulled from the wreckage. It may not be pretty to watch her learn how to become her old self again, if it’s even possible.
But she deserves a chance to try to come back to the world. She was the only honest voice I had.