Internal Voices Part 2

Once again thank you to Jenna at Stop Drop and Blog for the prompt behind an earlier post and this one. The last one prompted (pun intended) good conversations with friends and family.   I committed to sharing with you my thoughts on the roots of these voices.   Feel free to once again share your own or add to the commentary.

I will take these in the same order I posted them. Somehow that seems relevant to me. The ease of which I could retrieve the sound of that voice seems to equate to how loud it is heard inside me as well as how often I hear it.

You are fat and this means you are ugly.

This voice started speaking to me when I was very young.  It was low in pitch at first usually spoke through my siblings or indirectly through my mother when she said “you have had enough to eat”. She generally said this loudly so all could hear. We were usually at a holiday event with family and I was usually over snacking on some goody we had only once a year.  Looking back at photos of myself as a child, I, now as an adult, do not think I was a fat or overweight child but surely I must have been. Why would my siblings say these things and only to me?  Why did my mother have to embarrass me at family gatherings and loudly state “you have had enough chips”?  Perhaps in context of those around me, I was larger?  I genuinely do not know.  I can tell you the seeds were planted when I was young and it was within my family.

Later, as I approached puberty, I heard it from friends and society as I compared myself to them and they to me. I matured earlier than my older sister.  My mother got her a training bra and me a regular sized A cup.  I was thirteen. My sister threw a hissy fit in the store and quietly told me (without my mother hearing) the only reason I got a bra was because I was fat.   Seventh grade rolled round and the boy I had a crush on announced in Spanish class that I should be called Thunder Thighs.  He also let me know he had a crush on my best friend, a dancer, who had like a 2 inch waist.  He decided to call her Porsche and me Cadillac. It snowballed from thereon in. Society, lady mags, etc. only made it worse.  I try to reason with the voice. Sometimes I win. Sometimes I lose.

You are an impostor/poser.

I first read about this Impostor Syndrome in an article (or book?) written by Sheryl Sandberg. It struck home.  So did this article today on The Hairpin.  It explains some of my internal voice.  I recommend you read it.

In addition to that aspect of the voice, I struggle with my motherhood. How can I be my sons’ mother when society does not recognize me as my daughters?  I realize I am not her parent but I am her mother.  It is very crazy making. I recall an adoptee friend of mine with a related challenge. She is a single mom.  She has two children with two different men.  One of the fathers is absent. She is okay with that.  Society taught her absent fathers were okay. She is an adoptee. Society gives her no access to her own father or mother.  The father of her second child is very involved with their child and wants to be. She struggles with this.  She sees no value.  If society did not let her know her own father and mother, how is she to value it for her child?  See the conundrum here?

Your daughter will never want to know you. Who would want to?

This is a fear based voice.  Half the time I do not hear and really do not care what it thinks.  I have accepted that my daughter does not want to know me. It still saddens me but I accept it.  Yet, sometimes, when I least expect it, this nasty little bitch voice sneaks up on me.  I consider it some under developed part of myself/my story I have yet to deal with.

You are not a good mother to your sons.

I should have said this differently. In retrospect I am a good enough mother to my sons. I am.  They are fed, clothed, well-schooled, cared for, considered, etc.  My judgment of myself comes from society which in general puts way too much pressure on all mothers.  There is a good enough mother. I am good enough. I am not active in their schools (PTA Nazi Moms bug me), I do not support their fund raisers as frequently as a should,  and sometimes my son gets a big fat Yankee Candle smooshed in the middle of a birthday cake because I forgot to get a box of cake candles.  It is all good.  I am a good mother.  The voice tells me I could be a better one and maybe that it a good thing. It keeps me aware and constantly trying.

You should bake more.

Yes.  I should also shave my legs more frequently in the winter but what is the point?  This really is tied to the next one – more cooking than baking.

You should cook more for your family.

Remember that job?  I work long hours at times.  For the last app release I once worked 3 days straight with no sleep.  Regular meal planning requires grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping. It requires time. I have limited time.  It requires a liking of food.  I have a love/hate relationship with food.   I accept all these things and then I walk outside my home and see some obnoxious lady mag judging mothers who cook and deeming them better than those who don’t. Yeah. Society sucks.  My kids are not starving but sometimes they get too much pasta and red jar sauce and not enough veggies.

You should feed your children a better diet.

See above note on pasta, red sauce and lack of veggies.

You should clean your house better/more frequently/differently.

This voice comes from society, my own personal taste, a knowledge of how my husband would like our house kept. Again, time.  When I die am I going to regret the fact there were dust bunnies under my bed? Gads. I hope not.   If you come to my house and it is does not meet your standards, feel free to decline the next invite.

You should exercise.

Yes. I should.  This is voice I should listen to.

You should grocery shop regularly and use coupons.

Yeah, yeah. See that lady mag comment and cooking notes above.

You will never write a book. Do not bother trying. Even if you did who would want to read it let alone publish it?

As Denise alluded to this is not uncommon with writers. I am working on it. School classes, writing groups, etc.  I will not give up.

You are too quiet/anti-social/introverted.

Let’s go back to childhood yet again. I was born an introverted quiet kid.  Call it introversion. Sensory processing disorder.  Loner. INFJ. Whatever. I have no need for tons of friends or excessive socialization. I love my friends one-on-one or in small groups. I prefer deep conversations over a good coffee or glass of wine in a dimly lit rustic independent book store. I would rather take a class than go on a cruise. I enjoy my time alone and crave it.  The idea that my personality type is wrong or incorrect or unacceptable comes from my mother.  She used to force me to play with kids.  She once pushed me out of the house and locked me out to go play with a new girl named Dawn.  I sat on the steps, wrote a story with a stick in the dirt and ignored Dawn until my mother let me back in.

You talk too fast.

See above. I am quiet. When I do talk I speak too rapidly. This is part excitement and part social anxiety.  As my boss says I “often know the answer before the person asking me the question has had a chance to complete their sentence”.  I have a quick mind and I talk fast as a result. I also am very socially anxious so depending on the sitch, it can be one or the other root cause.   Note however it runs in my family.  My nieces speak even more rapidly than I do. Even I do not understand them.  Sometimes I think they are aliens.

You are too candid. You should sugar coat things for people.  Not everyone wants the cold hard truth.

Yeah, see, I have a problem with this internal voice and even the criticism often made by my family. I am candid. I prefer to deal in reality and truth rather than make ugly things look and feel prettier.  Because I want people to treat me this way, this is the way I act.  If it is too rough for you, perhaps we should not be friendly.  If you need someone to hold your hands in your pool of denial, kiss your emotional boo-boos, I am the wrong person to ask.  Move on.  If you want support, are making a change, need to talk hard facts, need to be accepted for who you are, feck yeah.  I am in.

You should try harder with your daughter. Going away as she asked was the wrong thing to do. You left her again. You should have fought with her/for her.

Yeaaah. This voice is loud and regular and can make my physically sick.  I let the voice holler.   I believe the voice to be wrong and right.  At this time I have no idea how to handle this voice, how to quiet it.  So it continues.

You try to do too much. What are you trying to prove and to whom?

True.  Not trying to prove anything.  Just have an unquiet mind. Need constant intellectual stimulation.  Always feeding the need to be a better person tomorrow than I am today.  Some people are fine being who they are for the rest of their lives. The only thing that changes in their lives is that they grow old.  I cannot live like that.  I have an overwhelming need to be the best me I can be and that means constant growth. This voice is usually rooted in others who want more of my time than I am able to give at a particular time so they criticize how I spend my time.  Whatevs.

You need to learn to relax.

Also true.  When I do get downtime with my sons or my husband, I find it takes me far too long to get into that space with them. Noisy mind, always worrying, wondering, questioning, doing. See above.

In summary, my voices come from my childhood, mother, adoption and society. I suspect most people can relate to these voices in their own way.  How about you? Did anything resonate with you?

28 Days Left

I am in the last month of my 99 Days of Freedom. More specifically, the time clock that is running on my Facebook hiatus will soon run out.  I am not entirely sure I will return. The more I have been away from it, the less I feel like I going back to regular use.

In full disclosure, I have peeked in a few times but not by choice. It is amazing the degree to which people, organizations, etc. use Facebook for communication.  This alone has been an interesting observation. My stylist prefers to make hair appointments that way, hotels and restaurants I am considering for Thanksgiving communicate more on their Facebook page (likely due to ease of use) than their websites.  Despite telling my friends not to message me via their messenger, several still did and with important information (and I refuse to install their messenger app).  Family, like my niece in the Marines, uses it to communicate to broad audiences.  Had I not stopped by I would not have known my niece received permanent orders assigning her to a base in Okinawa, Japan (yay! you go girl!). It is, in a word or two, hard to avoid.

That being said, I do prefer being away from it.  I had no idea how much time I wasted, how much it irritated me, how much of an influence it could have on one’s life.   I see far less negativity, far fewer political rants for or against Obama, Dems, Repubs, etc. I am not subject to copious amounts of racism, homophobia and worse (is there worse?).  I no longer see a friend complain for days on end about nearly everything and I have no idea if my neighbors’ kids are having regular bowel movements. I am okay with that.

I suspect I will be back but with a far less presence. Perhaps I will do what my Canadian friend has done, that is, peek in once a week. I do enjoy seeing photos, jokes and sharing positive information.  I like to share similar.

Friends there and here that have written me privately…thank you.  An interesting side effect created by the hiatus included many feelings of warmth created by individuals writing me at my email and saying they missed me. I appreciate hearing your life updates.  I wish far away friends could be closer. I much prefer intimate gatherings over a good glass of wine (Sheraz, please) or hot chocolate (marshmallows required). While I will stop by and read your Facebook posts, I really wish I could stop by your house or local coffee shop.

BTW, I will be in Arizona next Spring (for you Arizona friends!)