Might we not say to the confused voices which sometime arise from the depths of our being: “Ladies, be so kind as to speak only four at a time.” – Madame Swetchine
I have been hearing voices lately, some welcome, others not. There’s the one that is ice in the pit of my stomach, whispering, There is not enough, there will never be enough, you can’t afford this gas, this meal, this gift, this opportunity, this house, this life. My inner critic is on overdrive, berating me for being tired, unproductive, a terrible parent, spouse, and friend. Despite my continuing weight loss, she yelled at me today for eating three cooked meals and no salad. The voice of doubt took a peek at my to-do list, at my dreams and goals and laughed uproariously, pointing to the 2000 unread emails in my inbox, the mess in my house and the garden that waits patiently for its summer planting. My back and shoulders ached from the tension. Wanting nothing more than to join Ada in sleep, I put my glasses back on and sat down at the computer to write.
This is where I would have stopped before, in my pre-Benjamin life. The voices would have gotten louder. I would have shut down or gotten shingles or sat with a bottle of wine and some stinky cheese, not getting up until they were gone. I struggled today, wanting to fill the hole with food, wanting to escape the demands of parenting, wanting to be anywhere but exactly where I found myself.
As the anxiety threatened to claim me, the voice of trust chimed in, gentle but with a backbone of steel. You are held. It stopped me in my tracks and I felt the sweetness of it. I am held. There is enough, she added, Look at the gifts. Ah yes, those. The votes of confidence that slide into my inbox daily, the fact that I haven’t seen ants in the kitchen in a week, Ada’s delighted smile and wriggling dances, and that deep knowing, a gift from my son, that I can do this. I will do this. My dreams are worth living and I am held.