Everybody’s talkin’ at me
I don’t hear a word they’re saying
Only the echoes of my mind…
~Fred Neil, Everybody’s Talkin’
I have voices in my head. Wait. Don’t call the funny farm just yet.
Voices that tell me I’m not good enough.
Voices that tell me I’m never going to have what I want.
Voices that tell me that no one is interested in what I have to say, what I have to write, what I have to draw or paint. In other words all of my creativity: my stories, my mini-paintings, my intricate (hah!) doodles, and indeed my entire tiny life is crap. Not even special or interesting crap, just plain, old crap.
Voices that with an astounding accuracy and a red hot intensity know just where, when, and how to say what will wound my soul. Leaving me immobile. After I get done with myself, no one can possibly say or do anything even close to worse. How low can I go? Pretty low, I’m afraid.
I suppose I could be suffering from one of those chemical imbalances. I’m sure there’s some doctor or another that might prescribe me a little yellow, white, or pink pill. Make the voices go away. But don’t I need to argue, appease, ignore, or tame them? We’re all so ready to give over our problems/issues/challenges/what-have-you to someone else to “fix.” Who better to fix the problems/issues/challenges/what-have-you than ourselves? That’s my take, anyway. Therefore…
I struggle with these voices. Nearly every damn day. I wrestle. I push back. I sigh with long suffering grace. I moan with childish temper. I debate. I argue. I use bribery. I scream at them to leave me alone. Go away. Never come back. I’ve ignored them. And when that doesn’t work, I pay them no mind. All to no avail. These voices seem to know exactly what buttons to push to engage me in yet another pointless confrontation. For years, years, and years I’ve struggled with them fruitlessly. I beat them back, appearing to silence them into submission, only to awake the next morning to hear them in full gleefully depressing chorus:
The significant, but actually quite small, step for me came when I realized that I must accept them as part of myself. These Negative Nellies, Whining Willies, Frantic Freddies, Nixing Neds, Broken Bettinas, Angst-Ridden Adams, and Depressing Desirees are all part of me. They are not going anywhere…unless of course, I go there too. And since I have no inclination to be thrown off a cliff, buried alive, or explode into millions of pieces, I am stuck with them. Ah, but they are also stuck with me. And I have learned ways to torture them into silence. Yeah, well the silence doesn’t last forever. If I’m lucky a week or two, but hey, it’s a start. Who knows what tricks I might pick up in the future? I might be able to silence them for months, perhaps years. That idea is so exciting to me I want to go skydiving to celebrate! I’ll settle for pie, though. A bit safer than skydiving and hell of a lot tastier.
P.S. If you’re interested, though my voices say you’re long bored and left my page hours ago (if indeed you ever arrived in the first place), I plan on writing a part 2 to this post: How to Torture the Voices in Your Head Into (temporary) Submission. Hint? You’ve heard the expression, “Kill them with kindness?”It’s sort of like that.