There once was a girl named Owl. She loved learning and reading, and many such things. Now, her friends liked to call her a nerd. But she didn’t mind, she even agreed. Who else would drive to a coffee shop alone with a book and spend hours there?
One day, she met a boy. His name was Squirrel. He was a one of the active, energetic sort—hence his name. He liked to play and run and jump and laugh. He was loud where she was quiet. He was a jokester where she tended towards the serious. He was dynamic when she would be considered more static.
One day, they were spending time together at a park, as they did quite a bit when they were together. They kind of balanced out—Squirrel didn’t let Owl get too inert, while Owl calmed Squirrel down a little. A good time was being had, and people walking by knew not to disturb them because they were obviously busy.
But one person did interrupt them. “Excuse me,” she said while walking towards them. “Hi, I’m Giraffe. I know Owl very well. She likes to pretend she doesn’t know me, but she does. I’m always with her, even when she doesn’t know it.”
Owl looked at Giraffe, and then looked at Squirrel. She laughed. “I’m sorry, Ms. Giraffe, but I don’t know you. Please continue on your way. Have a nice day!”
Giraffe shook her head. “You think that now. I’ll be back later, you’ll see. Then you’ll recognize me.” And with that, she walked away.
“I have no idea who that was,” said Owl to Squirrel. “Anyways, what were we saying?”
And they continued their conversation as if nothing had happened.
The next day, Owl was getting ready to see Squirrel again, when Giraffe knocked at her door. “Hi, there!” Giraffe said.
Owl’s eyes widened. “H-hi!” she stammered.
Giraffe smiled grandly. “Now you remember me, don’t you? Why don’t you let me in, and I’ll tell you what I think about you and Squirrel. Also, I’ll tell you what I think about what you’re wearing. Oh, and why don’t I give you my opinion on your English essay? You could really use my input, I’m sure!”
And so the two ladies spent quite some time together, with Owl barely getting a word in edgewise, until she had to leave to meet Squirrel. Her head was swirling with all of Giraffe’s words, and her hands shook a little bit with the shock of everything she’d heard.
However, when she walked up to Squirrel, her hands stopped shaking, her head stopped swirling, and Giraffe’s words were dismissed if not totally forgotten. Nothing of what Giraffe had said could be true. Giraffe had no right interfering with Owl’s life like that. Her outfit was fine, her essay was awesome, and Squirrel was great. That was that.
Later, getting home from a long, fun evening spent with Squirrel, Owl walked into her room to find Giraffe waiting for her.
“Hi!” said Giraffe. “I’m sleeping over, you don’t remember?”
Owl sighed. “Sure, you can sleep over, I guess. But don’t talk, okay? I don’t need to hear what you think.”
Giraffe burst into laughter. “That’s not gonna happen!” she exclaimed. “If I’m here, and Squirrel’s not, I’ll talk all I want! You can’t do anything to stop me.” And so she talked all through the night, until Owl fell asleep, and probably even whispered things in her ear after that.
And she was right, Owl couldn’t stop her. No matter how hard she tried, she wasn’t able to convince Giraffe that she was wrong, and that her words were wrong. She was only able to make her stop when Squirrel was there, and Giraffe couldn’t be. She was only able to stop Giraffe’s words when her essay was handed back to her with a perfect grade, or when her friends sought her out to spend time with her instead of the other way around.
But Giraffe’s first claim was also true—Giraffe was always with Owl, even when Owl didn’t know it, or didn’t want it. Most of the time Owl didn’t want it, but that didn’t stop Giraffe from creeping into her life, ruining perfect thoughts and memories with her poisonous words. In retrospect, always in retrospect, did Giraffe’s words come into play.
When Owl was moving, Giraffe couldn’t catch up. But don’t forget: Owl was a stationary creature by nature. How could she help but to be overwhelmed with the words of her dear, hated friend, Giraffe?
You’re not alone in your self-doubt. If it gets overwhelming, talk to someone. We’re here.