Who’s over your shoulder?

The Judge stands in my mind as a dark figure seated upon a huge black beast.

There are people who don’t fear this man, he has never shown his face to begin with. There are people who have faced this man and beat him, their lives now free from his interruptions. There are people who have faced this man, fought and beat him, only to have him remain. And there are those, like me, who have yet to face him but can feel his hot breath on our necks every day.

When I stand on the edge of a bright white empty landscape, writing utensil in hand, he is there. Somewhere behind me – I can feel his presence – he sits upon his black steed waiting to charge forward and gut what little belief I have in myself and what I’m attempting to do. He is a dark shadow in my mind, an ever present observer who will stop at nothing to make me feel inadequate and unqualified for whatever task I set out to perform.

Do you feel him behind you? The Judge stands behind me and I’ve yet to turn to face him. I am procrastinating, dreading the show down, putting off any necessary confrontation for tomorrow. Today I will say to myself “I need to pick up this pencil and draw something, anything!” and yet I’ll push it off with other excuses. I’ll watch TV, I’ll spend an hour on Twitter, I’ll read blogs,  I’ll suddenly remember that I need to pay some bills, anything to keep the standoff for another day.

I need to turn and face him, I need to lift my chin high and stare into his cold dark eyes and tell him where to go. This paper is mine, this pen is mine, what I create is for me and me alone. He need not interject his fear, doubt, loathing, and despair into my work, this isn’t for him, this is for me. I am the one in charge here, he lives in MY head. I am the master of this mind, he is simply an unwanted inhabitant who must be taught his place.

He doesn’t like these words, I can feel that. The Judge doesn’t want to be faced, he doesn’t want to be banished from my mind to leave me to my creative wishes. He wants to be in charge and the audacity that I would face him can be enough to send him on his way, back deep into the recesses of my mind to spend his days in a cave, waiting for weaker times. He’ll be back, he always comes back, but after you defeat him once, the power lies on your side and he knows it.

Don’t tell him, but I’m about to turn and shove a sword into his belly. For me, it will simply take the first stroke of this pencil to my sketchbook and the fight will begin. I do not intend to lose.