Why Don’t My Inner Voices Like Me?

 

“An inner voice always used to be an outer voice.”

“We internalized the unhelpful voices because in certain key moments in the past they sounded compelling.”

If you ever heard a Jamaican say the phrase “Dark an’ fool“, they’re referring to a person who avoids the company of people at all costs or who’s extremely shy if forced to join a crowd. This person usually stammers, chats rubbish, is suddenly clumsy or has magically lost all their senses. The term usually makes the person sound as if they brought it on themselves for entirely no reason but for fear of the one thing you have no excuse fearing – your fellow species. It says, “If yuh fool/coward enough fi fear yuh own kind, wah yah go do when animal attack yuh?

Growing up in my house, “dark and fool” was my nickname. I was a bookworm, and for some reason:

bookworm + less & less socialisation = nerd & nerd = lacking trust in the people around you who you think are incapable of understanding anything you have to say.

There. I said it. So that’s what that was…

Anyways, because I was pissed at being considered stupid for “being precautious” (the excuse I told myself), I withdrew further & further into my shell as self-defence. I consoled myself with the thought that if there was an apocalypse, I’d live because they’re the real idiots (“they” being anyone who doubted me).

But something else buried itself in that shell with me. Because the outside world constantly met me with withdrawn politeness, I started to wonder if I really was overreacting so much as to make it obvious that I didn’t trust people. People would talk to me, but not directly because I probably gave a sense of unwelcome. I started to hear things they wouldn’t say out loud in my head. Things like,

“Why she so boring” or “She couldn’t dress better? Why she so tomboyish?” or “Lawd, just cuz she bright she feel like she must answer to everything? We nuh done see her?”

The moment I started hearing that, I imagined that the people who said them in my head were those who stood before me. Their smiles and eager expressions were masking how they truly felt – disgusted at my awkwardness & upset at having to endure my presence. So I started pulling away from them. The messages became infrequent & if anyone saw me after a long hiatus, the atmosphere was sure to be filled with “Wow, you look so different!

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I started to believe everything the voices in my head would tell me. I’m not funny. I don’t have any real talent. I’m only book smart / I’m not as smart as I think. I’m too skinny. No one will like me enough to accept a big belly. Why am I even writing if only I will read it? Why should I think anyone cares enough to support me?

An inner voice used to always be an outer voice. That line is what helped me understand why I tricked myself into believing I don’t like me, & why when I’m alone, I ignore consciousness of self completely. Coming into this world, I was fed only negative ideas about myself. I was told whenever I was singing that I was making noise and upsetting peace as early as being age 7. I was criticised for having bad penmanship when I was just learning. I was told no man would want me, or I’d be beaten by one because I had no interest in learning how to cook “properly” at 17. Nothing I cleaned was thought to be clean enough. As soon as I was no longer in the presence of someone who called me pretty, I was reassured by who remained that the comment was only made as part of the small talk. When there’s little to no one saying the opposite, it’s hard to believe in the contrary.

But things have been changing. Videos like this one help me to understand myself & understand why the world is the way it is. They might not offer advice that is directly related to all your needs, but they help you along. And to me, if I can make sense of why there’s any kind of negativity, I can be better able to forgive more freely.

What do you use to cope with inner voices? Let me know in the comments below.

This post reminds me of a poem I wrote about overthinking so much about perceived behaviours around me that I couldn’t see clearly. Read “Pensive” & other poetry here.

Watch: Aman Batra – “I Don’t Have An Anxiety Problem” | All Def Poetry x Da Poetry Lounge

6 People Yuh MUS’ Meet at Work

  1. The Top Boss(es)

Usually the nice ones. Unexpected warm personalities with an eagerness to help resolve all your problems, all a click away from their having-access-to-everything screen. Their offices always seem to be way too big for the simple tasks they do but you resolve that a big office is just a necessary match to their egos (if they have one). Their only purpose (it waah look like) stretches nowhere beyond scribbling an authorizing signature when you need it, writing vacation dates down in those expensive company branded journals and talking on the phone all day. Long story short, you never see them unless you go into their offices. And you might not even be worthy enough to ride the elevator up to their floor.

2. Those who have ACTUAL power

Aka VPs, Assistant Managers and the like. For some reason, the power that these people have is greater than the top bosses because they’re overseers. They get wishlists from the top bosses, and to keep them happy-go-lucky & unawares of any glitch in the system (think, the Dai Li of Ba Sing Se in Avatar: The Last Airbender – yes, I LOVE that cartoon). They give you too much work and impossible deadlines, pressure you and then call you out for buckling. Or at least they try to until they meet that one subordinate with a fiery tongue who just nah tek fi dem s*&t.

The ones with power insist that you address them strictly as “Sir” or “Ma’am” if your mouth isn’t full with “Mr/Mrs So & So”. If male, they are almost always dressed in jackets (even on a Friday) and suits so sharply pressed, the crease lines cut slice a cake. If female, they most likely break all the dress codes by wearing the same forbidden brightly coloured mini dresses, every piece of jewelry in the box, sky-scraper heels and shockingly bright hair colour. These people don’t take suggestions or corrections. Them quick fi blame & slouchy wid delivering apologies (if them plan fi gi yuh).

3. Those who have a Foot in the Circle of Power

Meet the hyenas of the Pride Lands. They do the dirty work of keeping their ears to the cubicle walls & relaying ‘controversial’ info to the overseers in exchange for meager employee benefits. 607fb04f5657134da2810d04f5df9571And by info, we’re talking who a look fi mek a move pon di boss, who a f%$k who, who hate the job & wah lef’, the list goes on. They’re usually the ones who underperform yet always somehow get 1st preference when things a give out, & you can never understand how. The only thing is that while they always know when fi pop up and sabotage everything you try to be promoted, they won’t have the opportunity either because the gossip guy/girl is only good for gossip.

4. The Chirpy Ones

These people love their jobs no matter what. They know how to deal with top bosses, overseers, gossipers and customers alike. They never seem flustered or stressed in the face of fast approaching deadlines. They can juggle back-to-back phone calls, meetings & be responding to emails and not blink. When you 1st meet them, they appear too good to be true or even real, but over time you’ll make excuses for them in your head. Oh that one’s low-key crazy, let’s not upset her – everyone knows this. Oh he’s the CEO’s nephew, money already inna di family so him nuh haffi worry.

5. Me

You’ll be me in 4 weeks. You done mek up your mind seh anything goes if this is what the system is. If bossy wah fire you, so let it be because as far as you know, you’re 21st century & you neva come fi mek babylon stress you. Mek dem dweet. You neva spen’ how much years at university & haffi repay SLB fi this. What is this?

This person is usually afrocentric, part of the natural hair community or the loc nation, forward-thinking & ever have a controversial statement ready.

OR I could be completely wrong and you’re the opposite. Are you? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Into short, short stories? Read some at Story Poetry and let me know what you think!

Why I Don’t Blog Often

Recently I’ve been stalking start-up bloggers and old timers (vloggers & insta-famous people included) to see what it is that they have and I don’t. And then I realized – the only difference between me and them is that they don’t hold back.

I come up with random, out of the ordinary ideas a lot but I often don’t voice them because of fear. Part of that fear is that the world won’t accept who I portray myself to be and since rejection nuh nice, then f*&^ it. I may go for a certain look or feel, then all of a sudden cringe at my obviously poor decision-making skills (you’re free to roll your eyes).

Because we live in an audio-visual generation, I’m discouraged by the thought that people hardly like reading anyway (and don’t act like you’re not part of the crowd that will only read Instagram captions THE MOST – ESPECIALLY the ones who skip over all the words to look for who was tagged because their name is somehow relevant info to your daily survival).cropped-wpid-img_20150901_1103593.jpg

Sometimes when I get the urge to write, I question my writing style. I’ve come to terms with having Jamaican Creole pop up at EVERY turn no matter what. I talk like that, so it’s a homely feeling. But if I have to think of my audience & the fact that not everyone knows J’can Creole, then I start doubting my methods. If I go into questioning my methods, then everything is thrown out of balance & feels unnatural to who I am. Once I start switching words around, I lose interest and don’t post anything.

But to solve all that, I’m making moves to simply letting things be and the chips (& words) fall where they may.

Maybe I have some ideas that seem normal and insignificant to me but are actually beneficial to you. Maybe I’m wrong about something that you can teach me about. In any case, don’t just expect more frequent, random posts, but longer ones too.

Adios!

 

 

If you’re into poems and short stories, click the “Poems” or “Story Poetry” tabs at the top of the page, or just go here Poems * Story Poetry

 

Hol’ a Vibes: Shekinah Ade-Gold – Room 7 ft. Mario Spencr, QuietKush and White Knight

“Always pray before you mek a move”