This house is a mess.
These clothes make me look terrible.
These little yellow fireflies of negativity flit through my brain, coming and going throughout the day. I brush them absently away because I have more important things to do than address them: meals to make (though they are often uneaten), clothes to fold (though they end up in the laundry again in no time), books to read aloud (ahh…the best moments).
But then the goblins come.
Why can’t I keep up with everything?
Why isn’t Theo talking yet?
Why does Sebastian keep testing every single blasted rule?
The why goblins come beating their way into the control center of my brain, muscling out all of the other thoughts. They make those fireflies look almost pleasant by comparison.
The red ones make me angry. Why won’t he get up when he hears both of them crying? Why am I the only one cleaning up after dinner?
The green goblins fill my mind with envy. Why can’t I have the perfect part-time work situation like they do? Why aren’t my outfits as put-together and lovely as hers?
The orange ones waste my time on whys of the past. Why did I quit my job? Why did we buy this house at the peak of the housing bubble?
The trickiest are the purple goblins, who slide into my brain in their lovely color, pretending to be friends. “You need to answer this in order to move on,” they sweetly say. Why didn’t my teammate want to work with me again? Why is it so tough to make friends out here?
The problem with the why goblins isn’t just that they are negative thoughts. It’s that they turn my days into quests for answers, most of which either lead to more tasks to complete or more negative thoughts about myself. Or both.
The black goblins are the worst, though. They have no answers, so I am left spinning my wheels into depressing depths. Why did my nephew get cancer? Why can’t they get rid of it?
I’m not against facing the tough whys that have useful answers and have to be dealt with, but the goblins have to go. They waste my time and sap my energy. Like Harry Potter looking for positive thoughts for his Patronus, I struggle to kick my goblins out of my mind.
Fortunately, I have a secret weapon. A little blue-eyed one who can make the rest go into hiding.
Why is there a rainbow, Mama?
Why did she say that funny thing?
Why am I still hungry?
Why do we have to have a bedtime every day, Mama? I want to stay wide awake.
This is the one little goblin I’d like to keep. Even if he is training up his sidekick when I’m not looking.
Meanwhile, if you have tips for vanquishing the rest of the goblins for good, I’m all ears.