Voices in My Head
Sticks and stones may break my bones —
But some words will always hurt me.
When those words are my own
They break me down as fast as I’ve brought myself up.
I don’t like bullies, and —
In an odd turn of events —
I’ve become a bully…
A bully to myself.
I’m too self-critical…
I’m too anxious about my future.
I’m too scared to fail.
I’m afraid I’ll make a fool out of myself.
(Because I get in my own way.)
I tell myself that I can’t do it.
That I’ll fail at anything that I do.
“You can’t do this”
“You idiot, do you really think this is worth it?”
“No one will think you’re good”
“Wow, you’re going to look stupid”
“You will never succeed in what you want to do”
This is the wrong way to think.
My brain shouldn’t talk to itself this way.
But the thoughts keep pouring in.
I’m trapped in my mind —
And my mind refuses to give me a break.
I can’t make it stop.
I’m a prisoner in a cycle of my own negativity.
How did I become like this?
Is this my fault?
(I don’t want to apologize for my own accomplishments anymore).
People tell me it’s just perfectionism.
That I think that everything should be perfect.
I admit that I have this trait.
Does it come with a self-defeating attitude?
Do some trait’s come with a cost?
I wasn’t always this way.
I used to be confident in my work.
Confident in who I am.
Confident that I’d be able to do anything.
To be anything…
That was before I became the “New Kid” eight times in a row.
Walking into a room full of people that you don’t know…
You’re afraid to speak a word.
You’re afraid to be who you are —
All because you are trying to assimilate into the new culture that you’ve walked into.
I became a target.
Girls would talk about me negatively.
Boys would laugh as I passed by.
And I would think to myself —
“What did I do to them?”
It became a living nightmare.
School became the last place that I ever wanted to be.
Where could I fit in?
Where could I possibly fit in at school?
That was when I was introduced to theatre.
And, I thought, —
“Well, we’re all pouring out our souls in front of each other…”
“Why couldn’t I fit in?”
Oh, there was a way.
Gossip runs rampant with a group of young, impressionable actors.
They’d smile to your face —
But secretly hold the knife behind their backs, waiting to strike when you weren’t looking.
It was hard to make friends —
I didn’t know who to trust.
I was still a target.
But in a different form.
When I’d get praised, people would scowl.
When I’d get criticism, people would relish in it.
People wanted to see me fail.
(But I decided not to let them see that happen).
It was then when people decided
That it was okay to give me notes.
My own peers would tell me when I did something that was wrong in their eyes —
Even when my director would tell me it was fine.
I tuned them out as much as I could.
There came a point when I wouldn’t get any notes at all.
The comments would come flooding in….
“You really should tone down that scene, you sound like you’re yelling”
“Why are you making your voice sound like that? Just say the lines like you would!”
“We think that you were miscast. You shouldn’t even be here”
“I bet you’re just going all over the top and stuff just because you want to show off to everyone that you have a lead. You aren’t even good.”
It became harder and harder to tune them out.
It would go on for weeks…
Up until the show would close.
It would go on… and on…
Until the worst finally happened:
Those comments had a familiar sound to it.
They started to come from me.
My own voice would tell me:
“Oh, that scene didn’t feel right. Do it again”
“This has to be perfect!”
“What are you doing here? Why were you given this role? Do you even deserve it?”
“You sound like such an idiot. Why are you even trying?”
This became my normalcy.
This has gone on for some time–
But I’m tired of it.
I can’t do this to myself anymore.
I’m tired of feeling like I’m not worth anything just because of my own words of negativity.
I need to stop.
I need to focus on the happiness.
I need to focus on the positive things that I’ve done.
I shouldn’t let anyone tell me that my creative process is wrong.
Because I am a human being.
I’m going to mess up.
I’m going to fail.
And I’m going to meet failure a lot.
It’s just a part of life.
I should learn from it —
Not dwell on it.
I need to fight against the little monsters in my head.
I need to be confident in who I am.
I can’t let myself get in my own way as I’m trying to find out who I am.
Because I’m going to be confident in who I am.
I am a unique individual.
I have faults.
But I also have my successes.
And all should be accepted.
In order to live…
I must move on and just keep on going.
Because, at the end of the day–
They’re all just voices in my head.