What Does the Voice in Your Head Tell You? Discipline Your Inner Voice

I have voices in my head.

I think that makes me weird, and honestly I’m okay with that.  The Voices keep life interesting.  Their presence also makes me somewhat unique, if in no other way than the voices themselves are unique.

For a long time I thought there was something wrong with me.  I never really mentioned the Voices for fear of judgment, worry that no one will believe me, and (the biggest issue) lack of trust that anyone could possibly understand.  I don’t talk about the Voices with friends or at parties.  I don’t tell anyone that “the Voices helped me figure this out.”  The fact I HAVE Voices is permanently added to the list of “things you do not mention on the first date.”

It’s an act of consideration, really… I try to be fair and not creep people out.  Most would have a hard time understanding that my “sitting quietly and thinking” time is less like a single chair in an empty room, and more like a family meeting.  With eight people attending.  And they all have strong opinions, they all “know what’s best,” most of them dislike one another, and most of the time they’re fighting about something stupid.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve become more comfortable talking about the voices.  I think partly that’s due to being more comfortable with myself, my reality, and the cards I’ve been dealt, but even more than that my comfort level can be attributed to realizing just how much The Voices are a part of who I am.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world while listening to their dialogue.  They also help me to analyze all sides of a problem, to see multiple perspectives.  I’ve solved COUNTLESS problems that seemed impossible to resolve by letting The Erins argue it out during my otherwise preoccupied hours.

Over the last couple years I’ve learned to distinguish and identify the voices.  I read somewhere that having voices in your head is fairly normal, and you’re not really crazy unless you NAME THEM.  I totally named them.  Label me as you see fit because of it, but having named them helps me a lot to understand from which part of myself the thoughts are coming from.  I’m able to identify WHO is talking, to decide how much weight to give what is said, and what thoughts to dismiss when I hear things that aren’t productive or uplifting.

And now I’d like to introduce you to them.

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Finding Your Real Self – The Necessity of Self-Worth

I am what you’d call a people pleaser.  A giver.  A grace-giving, loving, hospitable servant of others. A person that gives to others physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

It sounds braggy and self-inflating, but it really isn’t.  I really am all of those things, and I come by them honestly.  I was raised in a family that believes in “others before self,” the kind of family that, without being asked, helps you tie 300 bows on custom made cards at 4 am because you failed to plan ahead very well (or at all).  I had the mom that everyone knew because she baked for EVERY bake sale, and volunteered at EVERY event, and sold snacks out of the concession stand or sat in the bleachers for EVERY game of every sport we ever played.  I had the dad who hosted every party for every family gathering and every class reunion for as long as I can remember.  I was raised in a culture of giving, and service, and kindness.  I was taught that the best way to love others is through acts of wholehearted grace.  I was nurtured to consider every person’s feelings, extend every possible courtesy to everyone involved, to always give attention to the desires and goals of others when making a decision that might affect them.

EXCELLENT LESSONS.  I am glad I learned them.  And I do still believe those things to be true.

The trouble came when I took “others before self” too far.  Trouble comes when I TAKE it too far, because I still do that.  I do it without thinking, and for the wrong reasons.

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The Lie of Perfection – An Effort In Futility

This is a photograph of me taken in 1997.

1998-9-10.  OMG SKINNY.

….and I thought I was FAT.

That’s SIXTEEN YEARS AGO.  Looking at this picture now I think to myself “huh, maybe I WASN’T fat,” but at the time I was struggling with my second serious bout of anorexia and FAT is all I ever felt.  I weighed 112 lbs in this picture, if memory serves, and I’m inclined to believe that’s true.  One thing anorexics accurately know at any given time is their weight.

In this photo I was wearing a pair of jeans, size 5.  They were a little big, as you can see, but that’s how I liked to wear my clothes.  “Maybe people won’t notice my size if I wear big clothes.”  Looking at this photo now I don’t see how anyone could NOT see I was starving OR how I could feel so fat, but hey.  Delusion is part of addiction.  I apparently got a good helping of “fantasy” when Ana was passing it out.
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Owning My Body – No More Hiding

Well, it’s time.

I’ve been putting it off, finding reasons (excuses), staying busy, and telling myself that it doesn’t matter “no one will care anyways,” but it’s time.  It’s time to post a picture of ME.


For as long as I can remember I’ve hated to have my picture taken.  Toward the end of any party or family gathering I would get antsy and flighty because I knew what was coming.

Dad:  “HEY, gather everyone up and go stand over there so I can take your picture.”  (Please notice that was a command, not a question.)

Having been born into a family with a photography-as-a-hobby father and a Japanese mother (the “oooh, tay-koo peeek-cha?” stereotype of Japanese tourists is totally accurate), I had my picture taken a lot.  I had my picture taken WAY more than I was comfortable with.  In fact, I have had my picture taken no less than 1000 times and I hated it every single time.

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