“I have an angel on the other shoulder, and she’s me, doing the best she can to be heard.”
I have an angel sitting on one shoulder. She has dull brown hair, blue eyes and glasses, and she’s not very tall. She’s barely visible, struggling to be seen, and when she talks her voice is soft, uncertain, she fights to be heard. She’s nothing magnificent but at least she’s there. Her look-alike is on my other shoulder. She’s bolder, her color brighter and her voice much louder. She easily overshadows the other, and often drowns out my own thoughts. She’s proud and always right. This is the one that tells me what to do, what to be afraid of. I have allowed myself to become controlled by her and by her fear. She interrupts my conversations to point out all the things I did wrong, all the possible things that could go badly. She’s the one that tells me not to touch something, or that I need to wash my hands, I need to wash them better, longer, more soap, again, missed a spot… She’s the one that feeds the spot in my brain that thrives off of doubt and what-if’s. The angel tries to tell me to stop. I can often see her trying to scream at me to stop washing, to stop avoiding, to stop listening to the lies. I see her mouth yelling, but I never hear her because the other one is drowning her out with a list of all the bad things that could happen if I do stop. All the bad things that would be my fault. And every time I listen to her instead of my angel, she gets stronger, a little taller, a little louder. While my angel disappears just a little more. Until she’s just a barely visible ghost of my old consciousness. Lately my angel has looked more tired than usual, a little less hopeful, and has started to give up on the possibility of ever being heard. But she’s still there. She never leaves no matter how much the other bullies her. Every once in a while her voice does get through. When it does, the other gets angrier and meaner and much louder. But if you look closely, that anger and loudness is just a cover up, it’s just a distraction in the hopes that the angel and I won’t notice that she got a little bit smaller while my angel got a little taller. But we do notice. And that’s why we won’t give up, because we know that we can shrink that fear and doubt back down to the size it’s meant to be. I have a devil on one shoulder, she’s my OCD doing the best it can to imitate me. But I have an angel on the other shoulder, and she’s me, doing the best she can to be heard.