Thursday, July 13, 2006

Inside my head...

Inside my head...

I have a confession to make - I hear voices inside my head. I don't think they are of the dangerous fact I imagine they are quite normal. I label them with things like conscious, guilt, pride, etc. Maybe you do too. Or maybe I'm crazy. Who cares? At any rate I've been struggling with one particular voice inside my head for a long time. It sounds like my mother - or maybe my grandfather. Probably both. It's the voice that says things like "You can't." "You'll fail." "Why even try?" and "Because you deserve to be treated that way." It sometimes drives me to wish for bad news just so it will stop speculating about how bad things will turn out. Do you know a voice like this? It's an insidious little beast and I wish it would just die. But it won't because, you know, it's part of me. And it will be there on the day I die.

So I opened up my email yesterday and there was this bit of junk mail in my folder that said very boldly "DON'T LISTEN TO YOURSELF." Well, whoever wrote that headline got my attention, because I opened it. It was one of those IVillage newsletters that I accidentally signed up for and have never gotten around to canceling. The article was about weight loss and most specifically that little voice that drives us to failure. The one that says "I'm too tired" and "You've tried this a million times before." and "Why bother?" And of course the sage advice was, don't listen to that voice. It's all very simple isn't it? Just ignore yourself for a bit. You'll be fine, and you'll get into the habit of ignoring yourself and before you know it, ignoring yourself will be second nature.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Or does it?

I was reflecting back on the fact that this particular little voice sounded a lot like my mom and her father. And it's too very easy to kind of laugh and say, yeah...generations of baggage. But I started questioning why on earth it has come to pass that this horrible self deprecating voice made it into my head. And I realized it isn't an insidious little beast. It's my protector. My guard dog. Mommies tell their children "No" and "You cant" and "For heaven sake don't do that you'll get hurt!" And it becomes engrained in our heads. Because mommies are the guard dogs of the universe. The best of the best, the ones you want on your team, because they not only protect you from the outside, but they implant this little voice inside your head that protects you from the inside. And wow, that's a hell of a thing.

So I've decided it's time to stop railing against my little voice. Instead, it's time to reintroduce myself to it, and start training it to act as I want it to act, which I really need to give some thought to what that might be. But I knew there was no coincidence that Cyndi posted "What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage" the other night and the fact that has been dancing through my head all along. This morning when my little voice approached me and said "You are so lazy, you should have done this a month ago, what is the point of doing it now? She's already mad at you for not doing it!" I silently kept doing what I was doing. My little voice muttered at me a few minutes more, and then reminded me that the post office closes at 5, so I'd better go straight away after work. And I said "Oh yeah, good point!" And wrote it down. And then it was quiet for quite a long time.

Of course, this is all very experimental. Who knows if you can actually train a voice in your head to behave? But a girl's gotta try.

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