Back when I lived in Manchester, in a house of seven working professionals, we used to go to the local pub quiz on a Sunday evening. I’m utterly rubbish at general knowledge and was there to make up the numbers, although I did answer the odd random question like “When was the Salvation Army formed?” (not that I know why I knew it, or can bring the answer to mind now.)
We started out calling ourselves The Dolphin Friendly Tuna Fish Sandwiches but that was too much of a mouthful so we changed our team name to The Voices, in honour of one of our housemates’ favourite t-shirts which said, “You’re just jealous because the voices talk to me.”
What’s the reason for this rambling recollection? Right now, the voices are definitely talking to me. My head seems to be full of them. So much so that I wrote the following, at 5am this morning.
It’s part truth, part fiction, as much of what gets written at that time in the morning is. Particularly after a night of waking every hour stressing over something read just before bedtime. But it is a little window into my pre-morning psyche. Scary.
The voices have been chattering and pontificating in my head like a room full of inebriated dinner guests. I hate the voices, I wish they’d bugger off home and leave me in silence. I know they are what push me to write, to try and make sense of the noise, but they also drive me crazy.
One voice has spent the last twelve hours saying “I don’t want to live anymore.” It gets shouted down with drunken cries of “Nonsense, you’re just saying that for effect, for attention” and “Think of your beautiful family, you can’t leave them behind.”
Another charming soul has been regurgitating an article I read at bedtime, via the Kristen Lamb blog post on bullying, about how we can be affected by the experiences of our grandparents. I don’t pretend to understand the science, but the loudmouthed git in the corner is delighting in repeating all the bits about how stress in childhood causes children to grow up to be bad parents. So I’m continuing the cycle of generations of parents specialising in towering indifference and vicious temper. Lovely. As if I needed any more reasons to feel guilty.
The debating voices should allow for reason, but they don’t. There are so many of them there’s no perspective. Like my own experience, as a child and an adult, of trying to have an opinion that I can’t quite articulate and being laughed at or talked down to by my family and friends. If I don’t know how to be heard in my own head, what hope have I got in the world?
I want the voices all to finish their drinks and sod off before the lone voice that thinks permanent silent might be preferable stops trying to be taken seriously and takes action.
That’s as much as I wrote, before a small child climbed into bed and I had to put down my phone. Cuddling a sleepy son, his toy dog and plastic snowman, gives perspective in a way that the voices in my head never can. There’s something grounding about a small boy farting and then giggling in the darkness. And, now I’ve bought the kids some super-soft tiger onesies, they’re like giant teddy bears. (They’re also driving us nuts and we can’t wait til they go back to school, but that’s normal, right?)