That “Little Voice”

9 Dec

I cannot remember exactly when that little voice in the back of my head sprang to life and started talking to me, but I do know it has been a dominate force in my life for years and that it developed sometime long ago when I was a pre-teen. The little voice is that terrible narrator in your head telling you rotten statements that are not true. My little voice has always said things like:

you are not good enough
they do not like/love you
you are ugly, stupid, and fat.
you will never become anything.
you will never be important.
you, ultimately, do not matter.

Looking back on my childhood (because is that not where most of our little voices develop those strong vocal chords), I see a connection between my little voice and my mother. My mother has suffered from OCD, anorexia, and serve anxiety for years. The anorexia started when she was a teenager; the other two developed more and more as she became an adult.

I first started noticing my mother’s problems with herself when I was eleven. She would stare at herself for ten to thirty minutes multiples time a day in the mirror in my bedroom. My closet doors were mirrors. I loved dancing in front of them pretending I was Baby Spice, but my mother used them to pick herself apart.

How much older than your father do I look?
I am getting chunky.
Wow, I look haggard.
I am ugly.

She would ask me questions that, as a young girl, I thought were weird. My mom has always been beautiful. Even if she was not my mom, I would think that. She confused me. Why did she not see what I saw?

Hearing my mother’s negative self-talk made me start to look at myself more critically. Where the kids at school right? I was tall, pale, and overweight. I did not really focus on this anymore. I was no longer being teased. I had friends now. I was happy. Or was it all a lie? My mom’s self-hate was contagious. The voice was probably born sometime around here when I was between eleven and twelve.

When my mom would stop eating, I wanted to lose weight her. I wanted boys at school to look at me the way grown men looked at her. When I was between thirteen and fifteen, my mother and I went through an ugly time together. We spent a lot of time eating lettuce and drinking Slim Fast. We were unhappy and constantly telling each other just how shitty we found ourselves to be.

I also picked up on her perfectionist qualities. Anything below an A in school (with the exception of math) was disgusting. I was not going to hold myself to the slacker standards of my peers. I struggled some nights between all my honors/AP classes and extra-curricular activities. I wanted to be fresh and creative to teachers regardless of how long I had to spend on the assignment.

The thing about the voice is: I never was able to make myself happy. No grade was good enough. No compliment was true. No report card filled me with pride. No matter what I did. I was not enough. I always had to be better….but I never actually thought I was better.

Same as my mother, I hit a point when nothing mattered anymore. I graduated and decided to not go to college. I worked for a fast food place instead. I consigned myself to eating and working for barely over minimum wage. I hated myself and wanted to torture myself because I thought living that way was what I deserved.

For almost three years, I have been working on accepting myself. I came out of a major depression and have slowly started to work on things, like that little voice.

Having a child of my own has been a big part of why I want to fix my real flaw. It will not matter if i’m fat, skinny, average, beautiful, or ugly. What will affect my son is how I feel about myself and what I do with my life. I do not want to teach him insecurities and self-hate.

As I approach the end of my first full semester of community college, I am proud. I do not have straight As and, for once, I am alright with that. I worked hard for a steady 3.5, but I did not let the pressure of school, my family, and the little voice get to me. Yes, I had days that I felt like a moron. There were also days I told myself to drop all of my classes because I would never be able to obtain a degree. However, I was able to ignore those thoughts. I was able to push through and, for the first time in maybe…ever, I feel proud of myself. Long ago, I let the voice dominate me. Now I know that even though I will never be perfect, I can still be the most amazing me. (and it may sound cheesy but it’s a big step for me!)

Advertisements

3 Responses to “That “Little Voice””

  1. Lauren December 12, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    Good for you, Heather! We often become enmeshed with our Mother’s, taking on all of their ‘stuff.’ We need to realize that we are our own person- separate from our Mother’s. We have our own likes/dislikes, and we may chose to live our life differently than they have. It’s so great that you’ve chosen to evolve for the sake of your own happiness, as well as for your son’s future sense of self. Congratulations on community college! That is definitely something to be extremely proud of! 🙂

    • runnerheather December 12, 2012 at 9:48 am #

      Thank you.
      I think it is hard sometimes to recognize both our problems and where they come from. I’m a big believer that you cannot fully fix your problems unless you find out exactly how they developed. So, for me, recognizing that my mother’s self-hate inspired mine has been a big step in helping me move forward. (:

  2. maryamchahine December 16, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    How we are treated by our parents in childhood has powerful effects into adulthood, and it is a long and hard but worthy struggle of overcoming habits we learned from our parents. Keep going strong.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: