Everyday I listen to the voices in my head. They tell me what needs to be done and how, what can wait and until when, how I’m feeling and why, whether life is good, just okay, or fucking awful.
Trouble is the the voices have a nasty habit of sending mixed messages (like your maybe middle school boyfriend who called you last night but won’t look at you today). Even more disturbing, I have no idea which, if any, of the voices are mine: my authentic voice reflecting my true wants and needs. So much of my personality and approach to life has been shaped by my perception of other people’s expectations, my desire to please, to be praised.
Do I find my job intrinsically satisfying or do I like it because I’m good at it and recieve regular positive feedback?
Do I work out almost daily because I want to feel strong and healthy or because I want to be perceived as attractive by others and fit into clothes of a certain size?
It seems like it must be mostly external motivation because the things that will be good for me but won’t necessarily earn me praise from others are the ones I always put off or avoid all together: taking that nap, being still, leaning in to uncomfortable feelings, just doing nothing for a day (not that that’s really an option right now but maybe it is and I just can’t fathom it).
But how, after 36 years, do I figure out which voice to listen to? What if they are all wrong? What if it’s not a voice that I’m looking for? What if it was, but it died of neglect years ago?
Sometimes I don’t recognize my own life. I look around and think, “How the hell did I get here?” “It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this.” Or maybe it was. I honestly don’t know. It’s like missing something you can’t remember ever having.