Am I the only person who hears voices from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep? I will spare you all the voices and questions I hear, but here are a few highlights. And these are just the ones I have heard in the past 24 hours or so.
* Upon rising:
"Why are you getting up so late? _________ has probably been up for hours studying the Bible/meditating/praying/reading/writing/creating art/drying fruits and vegetables to put in her root cellar/digging a root cellar/planting all the food she will need for the rest of this year in her backyard garden/planning her family's homeschooling lessons/cooking breakfast for her family already."
"How long has it been since you changed the sheets?"
"When will you start to wear sexy pajamas to bed? Doesn't your husband deserve a sexier wife?"
"What about your 20 minutes of sitting with legs folded and mind emptying?"
"What about memorizing another chapter of the Bible before breakfast and planning a weekend retreat based on your reading?"
"Why do you sleep so much?
"Why do you sleep so little?"
* Upon entering the bathroom:
"Are you going to use that toothpaste? It isn't organic or even all-natural."
"That cream? How many red list chemicals are in that stuff? It doesn't matter how much better and healthier your skin looks; appearances aren't everything."
"When will you get your eyebrows threaded again? Sure, it hurt, but beauty comes with a cost."
"I cannot believe you got your eyebrows threaded. What exactly was the point of that?"
"Do you really burn incense in your bathroom? Isn't that just adding smoke and pollution to the environment?"
"And that cleanser? The fragrance, the chemicals, the artificial color - your entire family will have cancer because you use that stuff. You know that, right?"
"Ant baits? Seriously, Gail? All God's creatures deserve to live. You should gently guide them back outside with thoughts of peace and freedom."
* Upon getting dressed:
"Are you going to wear that? Not one piece of this outfit matches any other piece."
"Didn't you get that at Good Will? What would _______ say if she knew that?"
"Didn't you buy that at the mall? How can you support multinational corporations that have a stranglehold on the worldwide economy that way?"
"__________ has way better taste/shoes/clothes/accessories."
"What's up with that bra and the old lady panties? Could they ride any higher above your belly button? Oprah's crew would call for an under garment intervention, for sure."
"Are you gonna use that bag? Patterned bags are for teenagers, aren't they?"
"That's too matchy-matchy. It doesn't have to match; it has to 'Go.'"
"What does that even mean? And who cares what you wear anyway?"
* Upon entering the kitchen for breakfast:
"Once again, you forgot to clean the kitchen thoroughly before you went to bed. You are already behind."
"You are going to take those vitamins? Are they organic and vegetarian? Are you taking the right dosage for your age and weight? You aren't taking enough ________. What about additives in those vitamins? Are they water-soluble or fat-soluble? Chewable vitamins? Aren't you a child or an adult?"
"Coffee again? Caffeine will surely give you more cysts in your breasts. And the sugar? You are killing yourself and the environment with every single spoonful."
"There is not a single cold cereal on the market that is healthy. But you still insist on eating it?"
"Oatmeal is better in some ways, but yours isn't organic or Irish or steel cut. When are you gonna get your act together and eat some decent food? Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, you know."
"Go out again for breakfast? Will you order butter on your bagel and an egg and BACON? Are you out of your mind? What about the chickens and cows cooped up in their pens for their entire lives? What about the pig that gave its life for your bacon? How selfish are you, Gail?"
*Upon beginning our homeschooling day:
"Are you even qualified to teach these kids here at home? What if you completely screw them up for life?"
"What do you know anyway? What can you possibly pass on to them?"
"No Latin or word origin studies? No memorizing the timeline of American history? They can't name all the countries in Africa with their capitals and currencies? No biology or chemistry labs? No music lessons? What kind of half-assed school are you running here?"
"What do you mean - you are forcing them to study specific subjects? You should be allowing them to be completely and radically unschooled. Let them lead the way themselves, choose what they want to study and when."
"And how can you possibly do Bible studies with them? Why not let them discover their faith walk for themselves? Plus you curse/get angry/lie/covet/skip church altogether sometimes; you are a terrible example and a hypocrite."
"If you are going to do Bible studies with them, then why aren't you making them memorize more verses?"
"Chores for the kids? What are you, a taskmaster who had children and decided to homeschool them so that they could be your housebound servants?
"You mean your kids don't do all the chores in the house? They are supposed to serve willingly - at home first and then out in the world."
* Upon doing chores around the house:
"How can you say you care about the environment when you use the dryer/bleach/that laundry detergent/that floor shine product/that mop/that broom?"
"You should get rid of the carpets and put down hardwood flooring. The allergies/filth/bacteria/germs living in the carpet will kill you all."
"You spend way too much time ironing. You're so vain. No one cares what you look like."
"You don't iron enough. Why aren't you ironing all the kids' clothes and your sheets and towels the way they do in Spain? You are so lazy."
"You should unplug every appliance that you aren't using. You waste money and the electrical energy emanating from all these electrical appliances is adding to your chances of getting cancer."
"You aren't cooking a vegan/vegetarian meal? Think of all the animals suffering for your meal."
"You are making a vegetarian/vegan mean? Think of all the farmers suffering because you don't eat more meat."
"You should be eating only raw food. Cooking kills all the nutritional value of your food. The pots leech chemicals when they get hot. Plus the electricity wasted..."
*Upon going to the gym for exercise:
"You work out four or five times a week? Is that all? You are one lazy woman."
"You work out four or five times a week? Are you obsessed with your body? Insanely vain?"
"You should be lifting more weights. You are not getting any younger. Work that body as hard as you can while you still can."
"You shouldn't be lifting weights at all. It's bad for your muscles and bone structure."
"You are a terrible dancer/weight lifter/treadmill walker. You can't do anything right."
"Are you gonna wear that outfit to the gym? Shouldn't you iron those pants? That tee shirt is more than five years old. Don't you have anything newer than that?"
"You call yourself serious about working out and that's all you can do? That's as fast as you can go on the treadmill? You've never been in a cycling class? You still weigh that much?"
*Upon ending my day:
"Are you gonna watch television again? Aren't there Bible verses you need to read? A Bible study you need to attend? Carpets you need to vacuum? Dishes you need to wash? Games you need to play with the kids? Books you need to write?"
"Aren't you going to get on facebook and check up on people, respond to their clever comments with clever comments of your own, check other people's status, and come up with something even more clever to put on your own page? How else will your friends know everything you are up to and be impressed by everything that you do?"
"What? Another week has gone by without you writing a blog? What will your readers think? What if they don't come and check your blog again ever?"
"What? You think you have something to say that anybody cares to read? No one checks your blog anymore anyway. Why do you keep up this stupid blog?"
"What? You wrote a blog and didn't write about ____________ or defend ______________ or bash _________ or try to convince people to _____________ and stop _____________? Why bother to write if you won't touch on the real truth about topics that really matter?"
Plus there are a few voices and questions that resound above and below and all around all of the aforementioned:
* You call yourself a Christian/feminist/good wife/good mother/environmentalist/well-read person/well-traveled person/open-minded person/evangelical/Baptist/tolerant/trustworthy/black/thinking person/Democrat (What? You're a Christian and a Democrat???)/loving daughter/caring sister/attentive cousin-sister-in-law-daughter-in-law/member of the church/writer/blogger/friend/_________________ (fill in the blank) and you talk that way/watch those movies/read those books/don't ______________ every day/attend _______________/shop there/ don't shop there/travel to those places/have never been to those places/have friends like that/believe that/don't believe this/_____________________ (fill in the blank)?
*You seriously call yourself all those things, Gail? You call yourself any of those things? Why do you label yourself so often? What good are labels? Shouldn't you be striving to live a label-free life?
*What would Jesus do?
*What would __________________ do?
Yes, friends, it gets mighty noisy in my head sometimes. Gratefully, I am learning how to shut out most of those voices or at least ignore more of the questions and commentary that is constantly streaming through my mind. I must say that writing them down today (and there are tons more in my journal that didn't get included here) has made me laugh at myself and at how ridiculous it is that I have spent so much of my life trying to live up to all those expectations - and many more than these. In writing them down, I have already felt a sense of freedom from them. Naming them and releasing myself from their power.
Am I the only one who hears this many voices in my head? (Are you seriously publicly admitting that you hear voices? Really, Gail???)