An Ode to My Inner Voice

14 06 2011

Dear Inner Voice,

Mortally powerful,


sway-inducing strikes.

Infinitely clear judgments

of invariable culpability.

Razor-sharp, steel indictments

and iron whip.

In my dominion,

you reign supreme,

your sovereignty uncontested,

never dare questioned.

Your strength I admire.

Your voice I revere.

Your commanding volume

I humbly obey.

For I have battled you

with all my weapons,

domestic and foreign.

In spite of all,

you have prevailed.


Inner Voice,

Bruised, broken,

damaged, tired,

injured, bleeding,

teary-eyed, wearied,

reduced, humiliated,


I stand before you


I ask.

I plead.

Put down your whip.

Let go of your cane.

Stop lashing.

Stop flogging.

Descend from the preacher’s podium.

Leave the judge’s bench.

Every morning,

every night,

in my wake,

in my sleep,

I hear your echo,

piercing my ears,

hollowing my inside,

into an endless void:

“Mirror, mirror on the wall,

who’s the smallest of them all?

Who’s the basest of them all?

Who’s the ugliest of them all?

Who’s the wrongest of them all?

Who’s the weakest of them all?

Who’s the vilest of them all?”


Inner Voice,

I confess:

I cannot another befriend

with you as my foe.

I cannot march forward

when your massive ropes

are binding my every limb.

I cannot stand up

whilst your oppressive hammer

on my head strikes.

I can no tomorrow see

when you repeatedly

extinguish my flame

and draw the curtains

on all that is bright.


Inner Voice,

Why can you be kind to others,

but never to me?

If I have wronged you,

I am willing to atone.

But, please, inner voice,

change that mirror on the wall.

Take my hand.

Eliminate my need for strangers,

for therapists, for pills.

Spare me the humiliation, the burden

of begging for praise

to obtain worthiness.

Haven’t you belittled me enough,

trodden over me time and again,


I wear the demeaning cloak of shame?


Inner Voice,

My feet have become sore.

My legs have grown tired,

my hands, weakened,

my shoulders, burdened,

my eyes, dried out,

my hair, grayed,

my sighs, muted,

my strength, consumed,

my fears, ever more monstrous.


Inner Voice,

Show a little kindness, a little softness,

a little less harshness,

a touch of compassion.

Dismiss judgment and qualifications,

right and wrong,

if only for a fleeting moment.

Try to accept me

as a person

who errs

for lack of knowledge,

who gets sidetracked, lost

then tries,


Is that not the essence of it all?

Try, I beg you, to view me as one

who will not,


reach perfect flawlessness.


Inner Voice,

I am in desperate need:

a pat on the back,

a gentle touch,

from you,

only you.

I ask not too much:

only that you see me through different eyes.

Only that you help me

change my dark shades

and begin to see

hues of color.

Only that you be there for me,

not against me.

Only that you help me

put one foot

in front of another.

Only that you allow sunshine

inside my room–

so long a dwelling

for darkness and doom.

Only that you drop your goals

so I can stop failing

and start living

right where I am.

I only ask that you

listen to what others see;

can they all be blind?

Can you, for once,

find the good in me?


Inner Voice,

Let sleeping dogs lie.

and let their voices be silenced,

once and for all.

All I ask

is that you be mine,

not another’s,

that you see what is me,

not what I should be,

that when I pass you by,

you raise your hand to salute

not threaten, strike, or gloat.

All I ask is that one day

I look in the mirror

and hear you smile.




One response

14 06 2011

As a mother of a 14 year old girl with severe OCPD, this really, really touches me and reinforces to me that she’s much much harder on herself than she is on others.

Thank you.

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