The Voice in My Head


In the past two months I've mastered the art of not writing.

First I was sick.  Then the kids were sick, then Nathan was sick, then I was sick again.  (I call it the "Preschool Effect".)

I've been working six days a week since January - the last thing I want to do when I have a rare hour or two to myself is put fingers to keyboard.

But the longer I avoid writing, the harder it is to start again.

I mean well.  I sit down at the computer and even log into Wordpress before my mind starts to wander.  The voice in my head begins its incessant chatter:

What's the point?  

Nobody cares.  

That's a dumb idea.  

So I open a new tab and scroll through my Facebook feed.  I'll look at my sister's pictures, see if Julie got back to me about that playdate, maybe upload a few pictures from Ellie's birthday so my mom can see them.

I mean well, but the voice in my head is louder than my good intentions.

Look at Hayley!  She was gorgeous in high school, and she looks like a model now - even after she had a baby!

And Lindsay - she has two kids, and she always looks so put together.  

You?  You look frumpy.  You've never had any sense of style.  

Delete that picture Mom posted.  Ew! 

So I open yet another tab and type Lindsay's name into the search bar in Pinterest.  I'll just check her style board, maybe re-pin a few things for inspiration.  I'm sure I can convince Nathan to make some wiggle room in the budget for a few new outfits!

I mean well, but then I hear that pesky voice again.

That won't look good on you.  

You're too short.

You have no bum.

You're as flat as a pancake. 

And who are you to think you can ask Nathan to adjust the budget for something as silly as new clothes, when the ones you have are perfectly fine?  You're so close to having enough money for a down payment!  Don't screw that up! 

So I open another tab and enter a few search parameters into MLS.  I'll just see if there are any new listings.  Maybe I should check the neighbourhood around Topher's kindergarten?  It would be nice if I could just walk him to school.

I mean well.

But the voice in my head is relentless.

That one's nice, but it needs a lot of work.  And you're not remotely handy.

What do you know about decorating?  You've lived here for eight years and the only room you've "finished" is the half bath.  That you never use.  

You're too afraid to take risks.  

Frustrated, I quit Safari and push back from the desk.

I need something to numb my brain.  A run with the dog?  An hour with the Gilmores?  Maybe I should make banana bread.

I flop onto the couch.  "I thought you were writing tonight," Nathan says, looking up from his video game.  "Are you done?"

"No," I snort.  "I haven't even started yet."

"Oh," he says, turning back to his game.  He knows better than to try to have a conversation with me when I'm in one of my moods.

I watch in silence for a few minutes, silently seething over the fact that my husband can escape so easily into something as mindless as a video game when I don't seem to possess the ability to turn my brain off at any time, for any reason.

But then I realize something:  Maybe I don't need to numb my brain in order to write, maybe I need to deal with it.

Maybe I need to tell the voice in my head to shut up.