Friday, June 7, 2013

Life Lessons: Inside Voices

I've noticed, since it's heading towards summer (here in Montana, it is not quite there yet), humans, particularly of the vagina carrying type, have seriously upped the negative self-talk. You know, where you announce to the world (or repeatedly to yourself) that your (name of human body part) is (adverbly/adjectively) (negative adjective).

 I used to do this ALL THE TIME.  In health class in 11th grade, we all had to introduce ourselves, and my introduction was, "I'm Jodee, and I'm fat." and that wasn't a simple declarative like I use now, it was an attempt at being mean to myself, and to let everyone know that I was aware of my (negative adjective) fat, and they didn't need to tell me, because believe me, I thought I was (negative superlative adjective-er) than they could ever think me.

And I was superlatively unhappy.  Even if my body changed, I wasn't happy. No matter what happened, I had a negative remark to fit the occasion, and while there were certain jerks in my life who helped me cumulate those negative thoughts, mostly, it was me, repeating them in my head, allowing people and companies to steal my self-esteem and sell it back to me wholesale. It is a lucrative business, selling self-esteem.

But here is what I learned... there is an unending supply of self-esteem out there, so much that no one ever needs to mine it from someone else. All it takes is... not buying into that bullshit.

Now, I am not saying that everyone should be a stubbly smelly bridge troll, unless you are into that sort of thing (not that there's anything wrong with that), but if you are tired of feeling like crap about yourself all the time, you can totally stop. You don't have to do a thing other than telling your jerk brain to shut the hell up when it starts nagging you. When it starts saying, "Jesus, Joe and Mary, think your thighs could possibly make anymore sound when you're walking!?" Say to that voice, "Yes, asshole, corduroy, now shut up. I have some Doctor Who replacement to think about... ain't nobody got time for your smack talk." And when it says "You have wrinkles at the corners of your eyes, you looking fucking ancient." say, "I laugh a lot, that's why, bitch. I'm happy and I have fun when you aren't here talking shit about me! So I get all squinty -- enough that, of course, my skin shows it. That is what skin is built to do." And when it says, "You're a loser!" Say, "YOU'RE A LOSER! SHUT UP! WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH ANYWAY?! You know we are working here in the same body, right, if I'm all the shit you say I am, you are too, and you know what, neither of us really are, and there is no reason for any of this! I am making the choice to silence you RIGHT NOW. ZIP IT!"

Does this mean sit in a hole for the rest of your life pleased as punch about how awesome you are without ever doing anything positive? Probably not. I mean you could, if you really wanted to, but there are very few people I know who think sitting in a hole singing their own praises is terribly fulfilling. But it does mean that you can cut yourself some slack.

For example, I don't run, I have no desire to run, I don't think I would even really want to run if someone was chasing me with a machete.



Not once in my life have I enjoyed running, so things that pertain to my skills as a runner are not things that I worry about. Why should I? I have no interest in it, so it's not something I should be ashamed of having no skills in.  I do worry about my skills as an artist, it is important to me, and is fulfilling. But sitting here telling myself that this artist does better work than I do does me absolutely no good. Just like telling myself that my knees are not what I consider ideal, visually, does nothing positive for me. They are the knees I have. They have gotten me through 36 years of walking, and skipping, and sitting, and hopping, and other things that I won't write about because my mom reads this (Hi Mom!), and I would rather have them than have no knees at all. Seriously, my lower legs would be much less appealing if they were trailing behind me attached by some rope and a twist tie. So, I am not saying that you should never work on things that are important to you.  That is not what this is about.

I'm just saying, there is a good chance that your life, and the lives of those people you surround yourself with, might just be a little more awesome without that dick voice in our heads being allowed free run of the place. That little voice is usually just trying to fuck shit up, because it is what we have all been trained to do, and it's easy, it's habit, and because for some reason, this society has some sort of beef against people who actually like themselves. Companies have a HUGE interest in convincing you to hand over your self-esteem so they can mass produce it, package it in fancy wrapping, and then sell it back to you by working in collusion with that little fucker in your head. Your self-esteem is YOURS. The word "self" kind of assumes that... you already have it. Sometimes, you just need to shut that son of a bitching voice inside your head off so you can hear it.

That said, my challenge to everyone reading this, should you like to experiment, is to do what you can to shut that voice up for one full day. Just one day of no complete negative self-talk (complete, as in allowing the whole thought to come out unchallenged). That voice is gonna yell like a toddler having a temper tantrum most likely, so don't let the backup voice chastise you for the first voice trying to get its way, but try, for one day to see how you feel without negative self-talk, and let me know how it goes!

12 comments:

  1. This is a very profound post! Thanks for writing it Jodee. I think like plenty of other women, I pick on myself on all kinds of various physical and emotional attributes that could be "better," more perfect. Akin to what marketers would desire for us. But do they really desire it? They just want us to buy their crap. I am overweight myself and am working on becoming an R.D. - the MOST judgmental group of people you will ever meet about weight and health! So I have to make sure to counteract negative self-talk, or I'd feel pretty awful about myself right now. I tell myself that I'm pretty (which I am!), intelligent, funny and passionate...just right now I have some junk in the trunk. ;)

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    1. Yup, all true. Have you read The Fat Nutritionist's blog? I get a lot of inspiration from the things she has to say!

      http://www.fatnutritionist.com/

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    2. Yes! Another voluptuous friend pointed me to her blog after lamenting that most R.D.s cannot relate to most people's actual problems - hmmm...like being fat!

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  2. I've scheduled a run in the park where everyone always seems to be faster/thinner/more athletic/happier than I am.

    Guess what experiment I'm trying today? :) Thanks for the much needed reminder.

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    1. Awesome! I am excited to hear how it goes!

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  3. I don't have anything to say but <3. And I forwarded this on to a friend who has the most assholey inner voice that I have EVER encountered!

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  5. What I meant to say was: Yeah, I'm not running either, running can suck it. Also, I read an article about a larger girl who was crowned homecoming queen and when asked how she had so much self confidence she said, "One day I decided I was beautiful and went on about my business," or something to that effect. We could all learn a lot from that high school girl.

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    1. Yep, I learned that one too. It has worked out really nicely. I personally think everyone should try it, it frees up a lot of time. =D

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  6. I know for a fact if I could get that voice in my head to shut up, I'd be much happier. It takes everything negative that I, or anyone I've ever known, has said about me, condensed it into a few choice paragraphs and repeated them over and over, ever since I can remember. I'm working on it though.

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    1. I believe in you! (That is totally not flippant... I know you are not what the dick voice says and that you can have success silencing it, eventually.)

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