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The Voices in My Head

I remember deciding long before becoming a mom that I would never yell at my kids. It was a ridiculously unfair construct to create for myself, a childless young woman who struggles to close a cupboard door without slamming it or say hello to a friend without tackling them. I live loudly and that includes my booming voice that can fill my home with everything from impromptu blues lyrics about taking the dog out to pee to warnings that it’s time to get ready for school. I’ve been a parent for 10 years and have long since giving up on my crazy rule. I yell. I’ve always yelled. I always will yell.

But I haven’t stopped paying attention to what I yell. The words I say today will be the voice in my children’s heads for the rest of their lives.

I’ve blogged about this topic once or twice in the past, but as someone recently told me, I like to talk about tough topics like a rock skipping across the water. I think I’m out there, but I’ve not really broken the surface. The truth is that the voices in my own head sometimes fill me with paralyzing anxiety and fear, pain that I don’t want to ignore anymore. Right now my biggest anxiety is a friendship that I’m afraid I’m going to ruin because I’ve somehow convinced myself that that’s what I do. I’ve come to care strongly about this person and for me, that’s dangerous territory with a strong threat of having to dive deep. The result is fear that once this person gets to know me – theĀ realĀ  me – they won’t want to be around me anymore. And what I do next – what I always do next – is exactly the wrong thing to do. I become the nervous child who stops playing every few moments to look for her mother, worried that she’s left and isn’t coming back. I check in again and again and again. Do you hate me yet? How about now? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy as I drive away the very people I’m so worried will leave.

As I walked this morning, lost in thought in the early morning sun and cold, I felt the anxiety creeping up over me, my chest beginning to tighten. I thought about this friend and worried that it was already too late, that I had already gone from that wonderful and exciting place of discovering an incredible person and the joy of realizing that they want to be in your life, too, to becoming overwhelming, annoying, and then, unwanted. I watched the birds flitting around on the ground, looking for a stray seed or a worm brought out by the rain, and suddenly I saw not birds in a field, but kids playing in the grass. Some I had known for years, others I had just met, and we were all enjoying the summer sunshine, sitting on inner tubes and towels and talking, just children, maybe ten years old. And then I heard the voice of someone incredibly important to me sound this warning, “Is she bugging you guys? You’ve gotta’ be careful. She’s like a fly on shit. You can’t get away from her.”

The voices in my head that fill me with anxiety sound like my own, but they’re not. Those aren’t my words. I just can’t stop repeating them.

 

Comments

  1. 1

    friendships + anxiety = me all.the.time! I used to be so carefree and make friends easily but my own anxiety and worry about my anxiety drives ppl away :/ it’s tough to get out of your own head…
    Clarissa Nassar recently posted..A Springtime Luncheon: 14 Recipes to Delight Your Guests

    • 2

      Clarissa, you are such an incredibly inspirational and wonderful person to be around! No more anxiety. Let’s let it go together.

  2. 3

    Realizing the origin of the voices is a big deal. Now stop letting them take up valuable space in your head and your heart.

    I know it’s easier said than done- I’ve had similar revelations- but you can do it. Anyway, ain’t nobody gonna get tired of you. :)
    robin recently posted..How Not to Run Your First 5K of the Year

    • 4

      Awareness has been a huge step for me, but man, it puts everything front and center, doesn’t it? Denial is a super awesome coping mechanism. And yes, now to clear it all out and give it all back. Working on it.

  3. 5

    Thank you for sharing this, Amy. It’s good to remember that the voices in our heads don’t necessarily belong to us.
    Everything boisterous thing about you has drawn millions to you and your your brand and created your social “empire.”
    I hope you can find a way to let those voices go.
    Krista Swan recently posted..Driving Home From Hood River

  4. 7

    I read this twice, and couldn’t help but whisper “me too.” It doesn’t matter how much we accomplish or grow, those voices always creep in. As good moms, we go out of our way to make sure that our children don’t hear our own voices in their heads, and we encourage them to ignore those negative whispers, but we’re dealing with them our own damn self. Thanks for being so truthful, Amy.
    Amiyrah recently posted..Obligatory Pregnancy Post

    • 8

      Amiyrah, you once sent me an email that has gone so far to replace those other voices with positive ones. I will always be grateful for that, friend.

  5. 9

    I do this too. But don’t you think people should get to know the real us? Also, I really like you.
    jodifur recently posted..In Case You Forgot Just How Bad My Taste In Television Was

    • 10

      I want them to get to know the real me, but I think she can get lost behind the anxiety. You know the real me. And I really like you, too, and not just for the wine and bagels.

  6. 11

    You always seem so wise, confident, and one of the “cool kids”! I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t want to be your friend. You are an inspiration – I wish you could see yourself the way that others see you. Sending you a loving hug!
    Kelly from Kelly’s Lucky You recently posted..5 TV Shows To Inspire Science Project Ideas or Things To Do Over Spring Break! #NetflixKids

    • 12

      Oh Kelly, I’ve never been one of the cool kids! But thank you for your kind words. I think even the most confident, successful people struggle, and I’m finally taking the time to work through some of those struggles. Glad you’re hanging in there with me :)

  7. 13
    Anne hill says:

    Sorry I don’t get it!

  8. 15

    :( I love you, Amy! One thing I have learned in life is that we need to replace the negative voices (even- especially?- the ones that might have some truth in them) with what God says about us. Anxiety comes when we feel the need to prove ourselves. But God made YOU, beautiful, loud, opinionated, insightful, knowledgeable you, with all of your idiosyncrasies and your lovely heart for a reason. Anyone worth being friends with WILL love you for you. And I know it is easy to say these things, but a whole lot more difficult to believe them.
    I’m sorry that comment was made to you. But God says- I created your inmost being, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, you are my masterpiece, I rejoice over you with singing! Again, I love you, my friend!!!
    Becky Daye recently posted..What Makes a Church Successful?

    • 16

      Love you, Becky! I wish so much that we lived closer. My crazy teen years were so blessed just by your presence. Thank you for your wise and loving words.

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