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I’ve recently become aware that I tend to imagine a person watching me and, subsequently, judging me. It happens usually when I’m feeling incredibly anxious or desperate- but it happens sometimes also in times of heightened happiness as well. I think it’s a manifestation of my own anxiety and self-judgment. Maybe it’s a mechanism that allowed me to be religious for a large part of my life- the imagined judge-y, scolding, know-it-all presence. Sometimes I picture someone I know watching me– and judging me, but most of the time, the presence is anonymous.

I started to take more notice of what this presence says to me. It says things like, “If you were more organized, things like this wouldn’t happen to you” or- when I’m really desperate- “See? You’re miserable. I knew you weren’t ready to have a baby. There is no way you can keep this up.”

I confronted this presence this week. I shook my head and said that I didn’t need to listen to what it said. I don’t need to care so much about what people think- even and especially if they’re imaginary.