Can I tell you what happens EVERY time I try to write something?
Every. Single. Durn. Time.
The mean voices. The mean voices start up in my head and say nasty, nasty things to me.
– No one cares!!! Would you jeeest HESH?!
– You’re too over the top. Drama maaaama!
– You’re too late! We have Glennon and Jen for this.
– You have, um, lemme count, ZERO qualifications.
– You’re too bland to be meaningful.
– You’re too weird to be relatable.
– You don’t write well enough. Why is there a pen in your hand? Could you just go… bake something? Be a good wife and mother, please.
The mean voices in my head also remind me that if I spent less time pretending to be a writer and more time in the gym maybe I wouldn’t look like I ate lard. (Not buckets of lard, mind you. Just, you know, lard in moderation. Lard on the weekends. And holidays.)
My mean voices like words like “pudgy”, “failure”, “wasted life”, “lousy mom”, “trite”, “fraud”, and “embarrassment”.
They’re dangerous because the mean voices sound an awful lot like ME.
My sensible voice.
My grown up voice.
My big girl pants. As if I’m seeing myself with the veil of confusion and silliness pulled back! The truth! Laid bare! TA DA! Oh there I am. Worthy of no things. Except maybe shunning. And death by lard.
To be honest, the mean voices have been winning.
Yep. They have. I have let them be louder than my love. More dominant than my desires. Pushier than my push. More convincing than my courage. I have been a quitter.
I have quit more things than you can even imagine. I have boxes full of three-ring binders full of folders, full of notebooks full of projects I have quit.
I have computer files full of computers files full of computer files of stories without endings and essays without books.
And I don’t just quit work! Oh no. I do not discriminate!
I have quit churches, friendships, clubs, jobs, and diets.
I have quit hard things for being too hard and easy things for being too easy.
I quit gluten and then quit quitting gluten because I’m not a psychopath and bread is delicious. Amen?
I’m tempted to quit THIS ESSAY because it’s starting to sound like some sick pseudo humble brag thang. Darn you, Mean Voices.
Here’s the true thing: The Mean Voices aren’t liars. Nope. Sometimes they tell the truth. But they never tell the whole truth. They’re not lying, but they’re not honest. They always forget to mention the thing that matters most… (and I’m 100% sure they forgot to mention it to you as well, so here it is… take this to the bank)…
Here I am.
Here you are. There you are! Yes indeed. I see you. Rising up. Reengaging. Reaching for it.
Here I am. Standing on a mountain of try and quit, try and fail, try and shrug… and instead of saying, “I accept my own defeat” I’m saying, “Let’s call it a practice round. Or 700?”
I quit many things that I start.
BUT I never quit starting again.
Here I am! There you are! Here we are! Like a morning glory flower that spits out blooms in the first soft rays of dawn… and then shrivels before lunch time. A short simple little sputter of uncertain beauty. But there it is again each morning. New. Brave. There it is again, by golly. It will never quit putting its small bloom into a scorching earth until it dies. And somehow… somehow… in some small way, on some small fence, in the back 40 acres of some old cow pasture… that morning glory adds its beauty to the world.
What do you keep bringing and bobbling and bringing again?
Loving and leaving and loving again? No matter how small? No matter how silly? No matter how scorched, by your mean voices or theirs?
There’s something really magical there.
Lean in… look into my eyes… listen close… I want you to hold on to that.
That treasure. That gift that only you have in your hands. Hold it close. Don’t give up. It’s not yours by accident. And there’s just nothing the mean voices can do about that!