I have been playing with ChatGPT a bit lately. It’s an excellent crutch for people like me who question their every move with cripplingly minute detail.
I can ask it questions I already know the answer to, and have it soothe me with vague validation that henceforth emboldens me toward action.
I can ask it, for instance, if this email is fit for purpose, and when it tells me yes, and reflects back my purpose to me, I can feel empowered to send it without fear. It saves me from having to ask myself that same question, and reread the contents fifty times, then have a break and come back ‘with fresh eyes’, just to make sure I haven’t inadventantly said something offensive, stupid or unclear. It, alternatively, saves me from sending an email without the luxury of those fifty extra checks and a break, and enduring the anxiety of wondering how it is received. Because I actually don’t care how it’s received – I care that I do what I intended to do, and if ChatGPT gives me the go ahead on that front, I don’t need to mind what the feeble humans on the other end think of it, because it’s probably not my fault.
I try really fucking hard in everything I do. I try too hard, in most things, and I know that, rationally. The problem is I have had the misfortune (and often stupidity) of being intimately involved with people who told me that my best try wasn’t good enough. And, sometimes, not only that it wasn’t good enough, but that it was actually a terrible, cruelly-intended betrayal of all that is good. And to be perceived with such blackness was horrifying, every time.
Maybe a few times I ran from that dark judgement, but most of the time I looked it dead in the eye and let the truth of it destroy the parts of me that couldn’t take it. Not the truth that they were right, but simply the truth that that’s what they thought of me.
So, following that dissolution, I can cope with what they think of me. But the idea that, in any moment, they might be right about me, they might be justified, well, it still makes me check myself fifty times over then take a break to come back with fresh eyes, just in case.
Having an impartial adjudicator in my pocket is a nice idea, if that’s what I can trust it to be…but I don’t really know what it is, do I?