Every other exploration of my inner critic has asked me to name that voice.
I was never able to do it because that voice is not just one voice - it is an amalgamation of things, a gorgon with 7 heads, and it didn't exist as a thing that I could see as separate from me. The gorgon is the air I breathe.
Once I managed to draw that distance, I saw it. If the gorgon could slip into a familiar shape, then it would slip into the skin of corporate male boomer Bob.
It's a complicated relationship. Bob tells me that I must be exceptional. He also talks to me like his errand girl, so I end up being a people pleasing badass bitch which gets really confusing because it makes it difficult for me to open up with people about what is really going on inside my head.
Like the good corporate overlord that he is, Bob makes me earn my rest. Of course, I never do enough to truly deserve it, so I always carry background levels of guilt whenever I am not working.
Nowadays, Bob is more considerate when I get sick. There was a time when he'd made me push through it, my favorite episode being the time that I fainted on the hallway and hit my head and I still went to school.
I got COVID last week and he let me sleep for about 1.5 days. The rest of the week he was the presence looking over my shoulder, reminding me that it's already end of March and I haven't been able to settle into a productive routine.
He's a conservative dude, and I offend him in every possible way. I finally understand that he does not have the upper hand in this dynamic.
I think he is finally getting it, he doesn't need to be so mean and threatening. Bob is softening in his old age. He can't help himself and he is still a crabby, pessimist asshole. But, I'm not scared of him anymore. I understand him now.
He just wanted to make sure that I survived.