I’m not sure when I picked up the voice in my head that runs a pretty much constant commentary starting when I wake up. Oh, wait. That’s me. So maybe I’m really wondering when I got to be such a damn downer. I don’t really notice until I’m peeing first thing in the morning feeling a little grumpy and I suddenly think, “Why am I in a bad mood already? Nothing has even happened yet!” I have to chuckle to myself since it’s so stupid to wake up mad at nothing, but it’s annoying. Ooops. I’m being a downer again.

That voice makes mountains out of molehills. Mountains that I can climb all day until I have blisters on my poor little soul. That voice can take a small burst of impatience and turn it into me being a terrible mother in my head for hours. Me: “Everything is fine. Everyone gets impatient.” Voice: “No they don’t. You suck you suck you suck you suck.” That voice was the thing that told me to drink, too. Me: “Drinking makes me miserable.” Voice: “So what? Just go get wine and you’ll feel so much better. You’re drunk you’re drunk you’re drunk you’re drunk.”

I used to ask my me voice to get stronger when I was running. I would beg me to step up and save me from the voice- don’t listen don’t listen don’t listen don’t listen. When I was running I would feel so strong and capable and me would step right up and say “We’ve got this” and I would believe it until 5 o’clock or so when the voice would push me aside and suddenly I’m at the store buying cigarettes and overpriced beer. Before you knew it the kids would be in front of the TV and I would be in the backyard smoking with my first quick drink chillin’ on the air conditioner unit. I always liked it in the summer when the A/C would come on and blow the smoke away so the neighbors wouldn’t know I was smoking. A forty-one year old woman hiding in the trees.

In a moment of clarity I realized that the reason this voice probably started was when I was waking up hungover and guilty and I had the constant tape on replay “You suck you suck you suck you suck”. Twenty years of that can be hard to undo. I know that. I really know it. I know in my heart I have to be gentle with my breakable new self; I’m only twenty-one days in for goodness sake. Give “me” a break. But sometimes I feel so good, so real, that when the voice pops up I feel so surprised: “Oh…you’re still here?” And isn’t it odd that the part of me that’s doing the healthy thing feels bad, instead of the part that’s wanting me to self destruct?

I hate that fucking voice. Now I just need to learn not to listen.