T.A. Barnhart

carpe bucko

where did the voice come from?

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Nicci asked the same question as last week, but with a slight twist: “Where did the voice you listen to come from?”

We had been talking about what I want to do, what it will take to do it, what I’m good at. That conversation had one strong outcome: I’m talented and I can do things others cannot. Taken at face value, I ought to be doing great things.

I am not doing great things. I’m not even doing mediocre things. I’m doing sporadic things. Last year, three podcast episodes in twelve months; I’m not sure that even qualifies for sporadic.

I am listening to a voice in my head explain why I cannot do the things I want to do. Nicci wanted to know: where did that voice come from?

Nothing horrible has ever happened to me. I was not beaten up on a regular basis. My parents didn’t abuse me. I was not victimized by the school system. Yes, I got bullied, but most of that was in the form of teasing. Neglect was a far larger problem, beginning at home but extending to teachers who saw a kid who didn’t really need anything and classmates whose job description did not include “befriend the loser and help prevent decades of depression”.

Over time, all the embarrassments, the screwups, the daily neglects, all of that stuff just added up and became the voice in my head telling me how and why to fail. Perhaps if I had suffered some trauma that could be pointed to directly, then I could focus in on that as I worked on healing. Instead, as Vin Scully used to say when a pitcher was giving up a bunch of singles and walks, I was being nibbled to death by butterflies.

Death by a thousand cuts.

Nicci has not told me “Don’t listen to that voice”. She hasn’t come close to such nonsense. She did suggest “four square” breathing: four counts in, four counts hold, four counts exhale, four counts hold; repeat seven to eight times. I’ll get to practice at a committee meeting tomorrow.

In the meantime, thanks to my tax refund, I have some great new podcast equipment and so now I need to learn to use it and then start setting up interviews. If I got to this point in my life by a bunch of little things happening over the years, the only way out is to unbuild those things. Do the things I want to do – which is easier said than done because not doing those things is the challenge that is blocking my life.

“You want to fly? Go ahead, spread those wings and fly.”

My wings are weak and can barely flutter. But I do have wings. Maybe I can’t fly far, maybe all I can do is glide a short distance. That would be a start, at least.

That would be better than sitting on my ass and wishing I could fly.