Mean Girl

A real estate agent friend of mine said to me, “If my boss is being an asshole, I only have myself to blame.”

I laughed and nodded, because being a freelance web designer also puts me in the position of being my own boss. I have to say, my boss is not always nice to me and can be a downright Mean Girl.

There is no one as cruel and harsh to me as I am to myself. I imagine a shadow-me with stormy eyes and wild hair, constantly spewing forth a litany of abuse:

What makes you think you can accomplish all of that?
Seriously, you should go back to school and learn some basic grammar.

That looks like someone took a child’s drawing and ran it through the wash.
Are you joking? Put that code away, you’ll hurt yourself.
People actually hire you to work on their stuff and you haven’t been sued yet?

There’s something about working for myself (or maybe just my personality) that sometimes leads to weird fits of worry and self-recrimination. I truly am my own worst enemy when it comes to self-analysis. I spend some bit of time every single day thinking about my actions, but too much thought starts leading down the Mean Girl Shenoa path and then the rest of my day goes to hell.

This was somewhat tempered by being amongst a group of others at Room to Think. Coworking provided me with a little needed perspective. It’s really hard to be an asshole to yourself when you’re surrounded by an atmosphere of positivity and productivity. Others are stoked about what you’re creating and you’re encouraged by seeing their successes.

That’s not to say that I’ve completely put the Mean Girl to bed. In the dark of the night, she still comes around to harass me. I think I’m better equipped to handle her these days, but now that I’ve moved to Seattle and surrounded by newness, I feel I need to be extra vigilant that her snide ways don’t drag me down. For she IS me, and the part of me that uses self-critique to learn and grow needs to know my weaknesses. The challenge is to find the truth behind the cruelty and let go of the insanely stupid habit of self-meanness.

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Shenoa Lawrence

Shenoa has traveled in 17 countries, eaten a meal hanging from the side of a cliff, and been cursed at in Creole. She's prone to skinned knees, goofy comments, and big ideas. Shenoa is a designer of web sites, drinker of coffee, and seeker of adventures. She thinks writing her own bios are really weird and awkward.

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  • Becca Lingley

    “I spend some bit of time every single day thinking about my actions, but
    too much thought starts leading down the Mean Girl Shenoa path and then
    the rest of my day goes to hell.” Yes, I struggle with that side of me too, even though I’m not technically my own boss. I can second-guess myself into insanity. 🙂 Great post. Oh, and Room to Think helped me a lot, too. Seriously.

  • Lizard brain! Did you go to Megan Cook’s talk at TriConf? It was all about the Mean Girl. So good. Thanks for sharing, S. It’s amazing how positively affective it is to be around other people and regain perspective.

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    Awesome! My mean girl side is in my ear most of the time. I like your perspective on it! :)… I see a cartoon image of stormy eyed, wild haired Shenoa in my head now. lol…If I can create her on paper, I’ll send her to you…for your dart board 😉

  • Cari McGann McGee

    I think it’s important to note that Mean Girls don’t always whisper in your ear. A while ago, someone not related to me, said, “Hi, Beautiful!” And I literally did a check-list in my head – “Is this person speaking to me?” “There are other good-looking people in this room, is she talking to one of them?” “I think it’s me, but if I say ‘hi’ and it’s not me, that will be so embarrassing!” But it WAS me. Sometimes the Mean Girl sits silent, because she’s done her job so well for so long, she doesn’t need to say anything. I need to show her to the door!

  • Shenoa Lawrence

    That would be excellent! The dart board needs some decoration. 🙂

  • Shenoa Lawrence

    I am completely guilty of that. I’ve never been good at acknowledging my positive points or accomplishments. On one side, I guess I’ll never have to worry about an overinflated ego. But on the other hand, if we can’t recognize what’s valuable in our own unique personhood, how can we focus those strengths in a positive direction?

  • Shenoa Lawrence

    No, I missed that one, was in another session! I’ll check Vimeo, Megan is fantastic.

  • Shenoa Lawrence

    Thanks lady! I miss you already.

  • Lou Galindo

    “There is no one as cruel and harsh to me as I am to myself.” Oh boy, this is me 100%. I try not to, but find that I compare myself to other people all the time. I always wonder if I can measure up, but constantly sell myself short.