Janet McJudgerson

A fable...about our inner critic.

I once knew a girl, not thin and not tall.

How she’ll be remembered—not that way, at all.

Janet McJudgerson, with her lemony face.

All pinched up and pious and with nary a trace
of love or compassion but I’ll never tell
since all of my life I knew her so well.

She stared back from the mirror and hated my hair.

My lips and my waist size, and how could I dare
leave the house in those clothes? With friends such as those?

Who loved me despite of the zit on my nose.

Janet McJudgerson saw every small thing through a lense so distorted
and troubling.

I looked over my shoulder and wondered, aloud,
“Will I ever, or never, fit in with her crowd?”

And then something magical, loving and true…
A thought came to me, “hey you, just be you.”

And then I began a journey so long--devoid of a map—so much could go wrong.

A step at a time, I made my own pace
unpacking and thinking—I found a new place.

Confidence, courage, compassion anew.
I honored my feelings and said “oh, fuck you,”
to every dark thought and critical view.

One day, some time later, came a knock at my door.

A shadow, it stood there with a girl, about four.

They meant me no harm when they came a-callin’.

The shadow and girl just seemed so crestfallen.

I opened the door, welcoming them.

“Come in, my good friends,” I said, waving them in.

The Shadow demanded some answers, you see.

“I’m in charge of this girl. I protect her from ‘me’.”

He meant ‘you’ pointing at me, he said it, plain.

“Whether ‘me’ or it’s ‘you’, we’re one in the same.

She’s the little girl ‘you’, whose heart you held dear.

Whose love and her loyalty, you never feared,
until you began trying to be someone else
and love everyone—except for yourself.

I nodded and listened, considering all,
of this girl here, before me, not thin and not tall.

And then I did something—held my arms out
so wide.

Welcoming her…to embrace
and confide
that I’ve loved her so much, my whole life—she is me!

And Janet McJudgerson, well,
you know, what could be?

She hugged me back, and she
She told the shadow, “I’ll stay for a while.”

So we could catch up and chat as dear friends,
and make peace with myself and my heart, once again.


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