Voices Inside My Head

Sunday 3 February 2008

When I was a kid, I was a bit of a daydreamer. I spent a fair bit of time staring into space. For a man who was feeling driven by many things and who expressed himself by doing, this kid must have been some sort of weird anomaly to my Dad. Surely she didn't come from his loins.

And so I copped a fair dose of "You're lazy" throughout my young years. I don't have any sharp conscious memories of being told that, but I know I did because it's become one of those tapes we play inside our heads, that remain there unnoticed until we cast our gaze on them and root their messages out.

I was talking to my friend on the phone the other day about this very thing. I felt like a hypocrite at the advice I was giving to her, considering I haven't learnt all the lessons myself yet (but maybe a hypocrite on the road to recovery is the best type of person to give advice). She was bemoaning how she felt like she was being lazy if she considered giving up the voluntary work she's doing for an hour a week, helping a Burmese woman learn English. This is a friend who is ill, unable to work even part-time at this point of time, who is on a shitload of antibiotics to kill off the things that have been keeping her sick, and there is no way known laziness is coming into the equation.

But logic is overridden by those voices inside our heads. I have become much more intimately acquainted with the tenor of that lazy voice, grappling with it when I was ill for those 6+ years with CFS, fighting it like it was a tiger. I had to. It was a big step towards my recovery - or at the very least, made my recovery a much more relaxing process where I could even enjoy some things.

It seems patently ridiculous now, but entirely obvious given those tapes that my father carelessly put in there, that when I was at my most ill I would, even while I was dragging myself out of bed to have a shower, dragging myself back to bed to recover from the ordeal of that before dragging myself out again to make myself something to eat, at the same time be dealing with a low-level, vague underlying feeling that maybe I just wasn't trying hard enough. Maybe I was being lazy.

How ridiculous is that? But still, maybe no more ridiculous than the tapes playing inside your head :). We all do it to varying degrees.

That CFS lesson was a big one. I did grapple that tiger to a large extent, forced it to the ground. By the tail end of my illness I was beginning to revel in the delightfully cosy feeling that occurred when I would walk myself through the logic of why it was that I wasn't lazy, but was ill, and that the best thing I could do for myself and my health was to lie on the couch all afternoon, despite what the internal tape message whispered. This was an ongoing process for me. I basically had to do it every day, this conscious reminding myself, going through the steps of why it was that I was on the couch, and how it was that I needed to rest.

The tiger is still there. It's been grappled, and it's toothless and made of paper, but it still exists in the ruts of my mind. Maybe one day it will disappear in a cloud of tigerish smoke, but for now, the best thing is to be aware that it is still there, informing my emotions. Sometimes I forget.

I am on week 9 of The Artist's Way. One of the tasks for this week is to read back over my morning pages - the three pages of longhand I do upon wakening first thing in the morning. They are quite invaluable for insight, these pages, even though they are quite boring. Much of what I write in there is surface level urgency, blathering, getting stuff off my chest, the stuff that is uppermost in my mind, often the negative stuff. What I noticed in there that I complained about the most was that over the past two months I have consistently not been doing enough centreing prayer and I have consistently not been having enough sleep. I have also been consistently fighting off ill health in one shape or another. Except that's been going on for six months.

Looking back, I have realised that since September I have battled tracheitis (the asthmatic after effects which still linger in occasion), followed by colon cleansing and parasite cleansing, followed by a month-long low-level virus. So much for being well :) This girl who has recovered from CFS apparently still has a fair way to go to get to good health. But I forget this.

And so yesterday, when I lay down to watch a movie (Paris, Texas, a Wim Wenders movie, Kentster - t'was good) I had to go through the rigmarole again of telling myself that I wasn't lying down in the middle of the day to watch a movie because I'm lazy and inherently morally deficient. I was lying down in the middle of the day because my body was telling me to, because it is recovering from basically six months of being tossed to and fro, whether by external viral forces or by my own detoxing forces. And it's feeling weak. (Our society does not teach us to listen to our bodies, nosiree. It teaches us to ignore them. Dangerous place to be).

Last night I started feeling better. Maybe it's the vitamin C I've been taking - 4 grams a day for the past 2 days - but last night I got a bit of a giddy-up of energy. And what did I do? I got up, cleaned up the house, did some more filing, cleaned up the absolutely ginormous pile of clothes sitting in my bedroom threatening to topple on me in the night, asphyxiation by cotton. And as I was doing all of these things, it was like one more repudiation to the toothless paper tiger that
I am so certainly not lazy. I'm a pondering mystical meditative, but just 'cause you're sitting on the couch staring into space ... that is work of a different kind to the physical - but by God, it's still work!

The tiger still roars, though. Just not as loudly. I recognise it earlier as something separate to me. It does, however, share my living space. I have got used to that. It's a long-term visitor but it isn't, after all, a permanent resident :)

Happy Sunday, bloggers :)

No comments

Post a Comment

Newer Older