Dearly Beloved … we are gathered here today to bid farewell to our confidant, companion and comrade. A partner who stuck with us through all aspects of life. An ally who was there for us, not only during bad times, but also during the good! Pal, Mate, Friend … we gave him many names.
The time has come to say our goodbyes, so longs and adieus … no „see you soon“, for he shall not return! Weep, my friends, weep! For these tears are long overdue! Let us take a moment to acknowledge his passing. May he find peace in his new home and stay wherever the hell that might be! We all knew him. Some well, some very well, some just casually. But if these tears of joy tell me anything … it is that he will not be missed! Whether your parents introduced you to him, or a friend, a partner or whether you happened to find him yourself in the vast depths of this malfunctioning machine we call society, take comfort … for he is gone!
I remember our first encounter as if it were yesterday! I was seven years of age. I was, even if I do say so myself, a bright, but kind of shy, young girl. I loved to sing. I would happily chirp and chant wherever I went - at home, in school, with my friends, at the playground, before going to bed. No wonder my 2nd grade teacher grasped the opportunity to give me the big solo in our first „Puppets Elementary School Choir” concert. I was ecstatic! I practiced day in and day out. The big day came, and I was ready! Oh, was I ready! I had my purple dress, my pink shoes, my white lace socks, a ribbon in my hair and a microphone in hand. I climbed on stage, looked straight into the audience … and there he was! Sitting there quietly, inconspicuously, perfectly calm, staring me right in the face as if he had been waiting there all evening, just for me. My pulse raged! My hands trembled! My throat tied up! And what should have been the grand debut of a lifelong career resulted in the greatest disaster that crushed my poor little heart.
From that moment on, he was my shadow. No matter what, or where, or how, or who, or when, I could always count on him to be there! So clingy! Like those sticky plants that grow on the sidewalk that magically find their way on to your clothes and you can't get them off. He would just creep up on me out of nowhere!
Like this one time, I went out to buy a set of new clothes. I was fed up with everything I had hanging in my closet and decided to treat myself to something nice! My favorite department store had a sale and I found a beautiful turquoise dress in my size! I ran into the changing room and … no way! It fit! It was cheap, it was comfortable, it looked good! The perfect purchase!
„Are you sure about that?“ said the renowned voice behind my back! What the … ? I told him to wait outside … at least until I left the shop … how did he even get in here? „Yes!“ I answered trying to uphold my fake self-confidence. „I like it!“ He gave me that „Okay, if you say so ...“-look and let his gaze wander across the little cubicle … in that if-you-don't-want-my-opinion-fine manner! I tried to ignore him, but his presence was undeniable … whistling in my ear, bouncing back and forth on his feet. „Fine!“ I gave up. “What's wrong with it?“ Oh, that fat smile I hated so much! „Well,“ he said „For one, it is way too short! Do you really want people to see those bruised knees of yours? And you know your ankles look fat in those new shoes! What would that neckline do for you anyway? You call those molehills breasts? You'll be the laughing stock of the cleavage club! And that color looks horrible on you.“ „I like it“, I murmured. He cringed his nose. „No, no! You need something more subtle. Like black. Black is good!“
Dearly Beloved … what was a girl to do? Something, that was certain … but what? Every time I thought I had gotten rid of him, he came back like a boomerang … always returning, no matter how far I threw, piercing the air, aiming for the head, the heart, the gut.
Whenever I applied for a new job: „Don't do it! You're no good at this!“ Whenever I had troubles at my current job: „Like I said, you're no good at this!“ On my way to meet friends: „You do know, you are no fun, right?“ While getting ready to go on a date: „You better not kiss him! You'll embarrass yourself.“ New boyfriend: „He's just seeing you, because he pities you!“ After a break-up: „Told ya!“ Nagging, nagging, nagging! Didn't you? Didn't you, old friend? Snake in my garden of Eden! Siren hiding in the waves of my sea. Making me fall like I flew too close to the sun, making me freeze like a Pillar of Salt. No matter how much I braced myself, you would find my soft spot, shoot your arrow and take me down! Through purgatory, to the depths of the Underworld, where I was to wallow in Self-Pity for the rest of my life!
Self-Doubt … you have been a hell of a companion! I could never rely on any of my emotions … Sadness would come and go, Happiness dropped by once in a while, Fear sometimes came with you to visit me and Anger, well, I would say we are remote acquaintances. But you … you were always there for me! So it is with but a hint of nostalgia that I let you go! Don't get me wrong … I couldn't wait for you to leave! People have done some pretty shitty things - gone in wrong directions, hurt many lives trying to prove you wrong! But I have grown so accustomed to you that I can't imagine what will happen now that you aren't there to hold me back!
I can't help but wonder what could have been if I hadn't met you! I would probably be a successful singer by now … I would have killed it that summer wearing the dress! I would have had a better life! We all would have had a better life, if Self-Doubt hadn't come into our homes and poisoned our minds! You would have gotten that promotion, he would have kept that girlfriend, they would have better ties with their family and friends … but, Dearly Beloved the good news it … it is not too late!
It might not be that promotion, but you can climb another ladder! It might not be that girlfriend, but love will find him again! And real family bonds never break, and true friends always give, not one, but a dozen last chances.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dearly Beloved … let's bury this bastard! Let's rid ourselves of this wolf in sheep's clothing, this fake monster who pretends to be our friend! Whom we have called Pal, Mate and Friend simply because he happened to be around; who we run to every time we feel satisfaction, because we cannot stand to be happy; who we seek advice from whenever we really want to, but don't dare make the decision ourselves; to whom we have given so much power because someone, at some point, said something that hurt us.
So what your hair isn't blond and perfectly straight? Chances are there are people out there who love bushy, brown curls … and if they don't … screw'em! So what you failed your last exam? People need to see that education is more than just a piece of paper stating you can learn A – Z by heart and there are many different ways of being intelligent … and if they don't … screw'em. So what you wear glasses, your teeth aren't straight, you have an accent, your skin is dark, your skin is light, your eyes are narrow, you like men, you like women, you're no Size 0, you're no muscleman, you have a penis but don't want it, you have breasts but wear your hair short … if people can't deal with you being different screw them! Not you! And screw you, Self-Doubt, for taking hold of so many wonderful people, crushing so much potential and creating so much inner chaos!
Dearly beloved … we have a choice. We had a choice yesterday, we have a choice today and we will have a choice tomorrow! He will try to arise from his grave. Do not ignore him! Do not suppress him! Simply let him pass by until he grows tired of your indifference and decides to leave. And we will walk without lowering our gaze, and we will talk without softening our voice, and we will dance like no one is watching, sing like our life depended on it and be the fullest version of „Me“ „Myself“ and „I“ there has ever been.