I Want to Be One of those Magical People

I have a pretty vicious inner critic.

I’ve written about him before, mostly about how he relates to my writing. But my inner critic is so much more than that. He’s a little devil, perpetually on my shoulder, reminding me about everything that’s wrong with me.

I constantly play the comparison game. I know that I’m not supposed to, that it’s bad for my mental health, that people’s lives aren’t as perfect as they look. Whatever. But there’s a part of me that recognizes that comparison is a valuable tool for self-critique. Most of the universe falls into a bell curve, and my life should be fairly identical to a whole lot of other people’s. That’s just how the universe and statistics works. I should be roughly similar to other people.

And I’m not. I am so different from so many other people that it makes me question whether or not I’m truly human, truly sane, truly anything.

Sometimes, people talk about their friends who peaked during high school; I’m pretty sure I peaked during middle school. I have so much trouble trying to do basic things. Managing money is a nightmare, trying to deal with paperwork and other human beings is a challenge. I’m afraid, all of the time, of everything. I overthink interactions with people that I’m close to. I suck at making friends, and when I do make connections with people, I end up destroying them.

Out of a few hundred job interviews, I’ve had exactly one real job. Whenever I email in a resume, people are excited about having me interview. But when I walk into the room, fat ass and gimp leg dressed up as nice as I can manage, you can see the light fade out of the manager’s eyes. I look like a good employee on paper; I look like a docile hippopotamus in the flesh.

I get anxious about asking people to read my work or sign up for my mailing list. The idea of marketing my work at all makes me break out in hives. I went three rounds with my brain deciding whether or not I should add the last sentence to my little “about the author” blurb on Medium posts.

Most mornings, I have trouble getting out of bed. Left to my own devices, I rarely wake up before noon. I can’t manage a full-time semester of school without something going wrong. A small part of my brain envisions suicide as the most logical solution to every single problem.

I am a fuckup on every conceivable level.

I am so over being special. I am so over having promise, whatever the hell that means. I get that I have to work hard to be extraordinary, but right now, I’m trying my damndest just to be normal. And failing spectacularly.

I want to be one of those magical people. I want to be effortlessly normal. I’d like to start my life with a blank canvas, and not one that’s been slashed through with a box cutter.

Zach J. Payne is a poet, novelist, and thespian; a lover of languages and purveyor of useless knowledge. He is an assistant at Ninja Writers and interns for Pam Howell at D4EO Literary Agency. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram at ZachJPayne. If you enjoyed this article, please click the little green heart.

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