who am i listening to?
“What voices do you listen to?”
Nicci, my therapist, asked me that after I’d talked about a lot of things that amounted to me talking about the past and how I feel controlled by it. She’d previously asked me who had told me I wasn’t healthy, but I think there’d been a misunderstanding. No one ever told me I was (mentally) unhealthy; I had to figure that out on my own. But I had been told I was bad, in various ways: my mom, the Christians, myself.
What she wanted to know was: as I continued to not do with my life the things I say I want to do with my life – who was I listening to? On whose advice was I deciding that I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. And the answer was,
I was listening to voices I created out of my memories of the past.
(That’s probably a bit different than I responded at the time, but I wasn’t taking notes. There are likely to be many such “discrepancies” between what I say in session and when I get the chance to write some thoughts down. I’m trusting that I’ll be honest in both cases and it will add up to part of the healing process.)
(And that paragraph is a perfect example of something I do: Create an excuse, a dodge, a caveat. What does anyone care if my words in session do not match what I write half-an-hour later?)
My past is not something horrible. I’ve made way too many mistakes, but nothing terrible. Just the usual mundane set of screw-ups and oopsies. There is a lot in my past to be proud of, to take hope from, etc. But when I’m considering a new project, or just getting some forward movement going on anything, I hear the voice of the person who has taken all those past experiences, found the most negative aspects thereof, and now tells me all the reasons I should be afraid, ashamed, and a quitter.
That’s the voice I listen to. The one in my head that is too scared to do anything and wants to stop me. The one who hates me. The one who remembers all the little screw-ups that are cause of endless humiliation. The one who isn’t good enough and never will be. That’s who I listen to.