On Inner Demons and Good Friends
Everyone has demons. Or some guy on their shoulder (or girl). They have that little voice in their head that says ‘hey buddy…’ and after your conversation with him you feel a little sucky.
The brilliant and beautiful Amy Poehler writes about hers in her book “Yes Please”, and I have always tried to follow what she says. She calls them demons, and also says that you just have to tell them to “fuck off”. One of my trainers calls them ‘little man’ and says you have to have a relationship with them. And I find they both work. When you have the relationship, you are able to hear what they say to work on it, but you also can get rid of them for the time being.
I have had so many types of demons over the years, in so many different forms. There were the guys in middle school who made fun of my eyebrows and my knees. There was the one in high school that whispered that I was actually all those things my friends were teasing about me.
College demons are a little worse. I have a demon that casually sits next to me in the coffee shop and say “she looks way better than you”, or lounges beside me when I walk to class saying “wow, you think you’re working hard but look dude everyone else is doing so much better than you”.
My worst demons come into existence when it comes to my friends. My demons whisper to me, fueling my anxiety, my confidence. He was on a goddamn roll this week. Anything I did they were there.
My demon will dryly observe my early bedtime of 10:30, sniffing “you think you need sleep but you know your friends function on way less, so you aren’t doing college right”. He saw the snapchats I got of my friends during the wee hours of the night and casually said “wow, it’s almost like they do everything when you aren’t there”.
Sometimes, my demon is a dick and saves things up so he can flood me with suck feelings all at once. After a iffy week of gym work, he murmured to me Friday that my ass was flat and that my stomach was marshmellowy. Then he’ll point out everything my friends are doing. Their inside jokes, their affectionate conversations. This week my demon succeeded in getting me anxious, worked up and feeling shitty so I unloaded all of that information on my platonic life partner(see: best friend who is a guy and nothing weird is going on trust me). And he was great about reassuring me but my demon was there drinking a cosmo and snorting.
My demon had some great material to work with last night. After a day of accomplishment, a nice heart to heart with a friend and giggles with others, it followed me into my friends room for a movie night.
“You know you won’t be able to finish it. You get sleepy around 10:30 at night, you suck at college”
“You’re friends are meshing so well without you. Like, nobody even wants to sit with you. How sad is that. They have assigned seats too, cause they do this so often without you”
Thanks demon. Real helpful. Here the attempt at ignoring beings. The movie starts and when I eventually dosed off, he kept casually keeping track of what was happening. He told me they forgot about me. He told me that I was the awkward 5th wheel and that if I left they wouldn’t care.
I tried to have a conversation with him next, but he wasn’t going to slow down. He kept talking about how I had no actual best friend because they each had their own and they usually clicked without me. He was a total bitch and brought up the last weekend that he succeeded in lowering my soul, and then even tried to hate on my quality of work compared to theirs.
When I had to be woken up three different times by friends last night, I saw my demon smirking and shaking his head. He didn’t have to tell me, I was already feeling sucky. I started telling myself these things without his help.
Stuff like how I couldn’t handle staying up late like them, how I was the outsider. How they finished our Netflix show without a second thought towards me. How they left me alone on the couch to sit with each other. How they were able to have a conversation about things I didn’t even know about and how most of the time I sat and smiled like a simpleton. How they would remember me eventually, maybe, and I would grasp that attention like a drowning sailor.
My demons goal is to get me petty and get my heart hurting. He’s succeeded a lot this semester, feeding off my busy schedule and little socializing time. Those are where he thrives. He got me to start thinking about our adventure to South Carolina that is soon, how I was going to get ready without everyone (because why would they want you, he murmurs), how I was going to try and ride separately from them, because I was the first one they tried to get rid off in the car pool situation (FACT it happened I was there). How I would be stuck sitting alone somehow and separate from them, away from what was happening. How I should eat a salad at dinner and not eat breakfast because I could feel the rolls of my stomach. How I was going to be outcast and left out of everything.
It’s a tough thing to get through, believe me. But you can get through it. You acknowledge your demons and you fight back. Not harshly. My love , Amy, says just tell them to fuck off, which you could do. You listen to them. But the most important thing is keeping them at arms distance. Acknowledge what they say, and say hey man that’s great, and try your best to ignore them.
You can’t let them get to you
It’s hard. I know it is. I battle with my demon every day and I know there are people who can’t even do that. Even after writing this I am having to make tea and watch a Disney movie because I feel so shitty about myself. But I won’t let him get to me for long.
I have to pick myself up and, for me, open up. I (eventually) will tell people about my bad days and they will comfort me. I’ll feel guilty for making them feel that way and feel bad because I’ll feel like an outcast again.
It’s a vicious cycle but a manageable one when you can have your friends by your side.
My friends are my saviors. Even when my demon tries to use them against me, they remain to be my stronghold on the world. They’re the first to raise me up and the first to be my cheerleading squad. They are the first ones to realize something is wrong and try to help. They cuddle me and support me. They’re rich in love and humor and loyalty. They make me warm and fuzzy and I have found my forever people.
That’s the moral of this story. Your demons will suck the life out of you. They’ll make you feel like shit and they will tear you apart, but if you have a good support system, then you can survive. This is a post about a shitty week that ends with an adventure to South Carolina with the best people. It’s a hate filled mushy rant about sucky feelings and good friends. In the morning, things are better and you will smile when you see them.