I can feel it following behind me. It’s a creepy motherfucker and I can feel it’s hot, stale breathe on my ear. It starts small, “You’re not good enough” it whispers. I can easily dismiss this notion. It’s absurdity makes me chuckle and I keep on my merry way. It repeats itself, ad nausem and catches me at just the right moments until it slowly grows louder.


It starts as a nothing and grows to a translucent non-thing that grows darker and bigger with every sentence. This voice is starting to take form. It looks a lot like my shadow. I can’t shake it off and it’s growing larger and larger. It grows because I’m not strong enough to stop it. “You really aren’t that smart, look at how you did in school. I mean, you went to college for almost 10 years and you’re not a doctor.” it says.


I hear it’s voice come out of my mouth. I’m shocked and realize I didn’t want to say that. I would never think that on my own. That wasn’t me, I didn’t mean that. “STOP TRYING” it shouts to an empty room.


It gets in my brain and changes the way I want to think. I think that letting go of everything I thought I cared about would be so fucking easy. This voice, my voice, tells me that I have a good life, and it’s unrealistic to keep going.


“Live a contented life.” I say and I think I mean it. This voice reminds me of how simple it would be to stay in the same place, do the same work and live a life that is just okay. “You can make it work.” these words escape my mouth without my brain telling my tongue to stop moving.


I’m starting to think that I shouldn’t try because I might fail. I believe that I should be happy I made it this far. I compliment myself for making a good point. I remind myself that many people, my friends and family would be happy with my life and that I’m selfish for wanting more. It is telling me that my idea of an extraordinary life is just a dream and to keep my head down and shut up.


I’m talking myself out of trying because I already know that the failure is going to be too much. My voice has changed to one of pity. Now I’m reminiscing and looking back on what I’ve done: I hear my own pep talk: “You gave it your best shot and didn’t succeed. Time to pack it up.” I’m thinking about all the jobs I didn’t get. I berate myself “WHO DOESN’T GET HIRED BY TARGET FOR FUCKS SAKE!” I think about all the tests I didn’t study for in school. All the required readings I didn’t do. All of the hours I didn’t practice… “Why would you be good at anything, when you couldn’t even get into your first choice for colleges.”


My voice changes again, now I’m telling myself that I’m not a good writer. “Your sentences are too short. You’ve never been able to string a cohesive paragraph together before, why start now. I mean, really, who puts two e’s in cohesive. Shit, you don’t even know if there is suppose to be an apostrophe in the previous sentence. Did you even use the word cohesive correctly?” I can’t stop. I’m getting louder and louder and I’m on the verge of starting to speak aloud. “Great, now you’re going to be the fucking nutter who talks to herself. Classy. No wonder you have dandruff.” Low blow, self. Low blow. “I’m not the one talking my myself am I?” Fuck, yes I am.


“stop” a whisper. It was so quiet, I try to listen for it again but I don’t hear it. Did I imagine that? Great, now I’m imagining two voices. That’s twice as crazy.


“You’ll get through this.” is what I want to hear but maybe it was my twice as crazy brain saying “Pundit’s two fish.” I’m not really sure, but it’s enough. It’s enough for my voice to get angry and try to fight this new whisper. “NO YOU WON’T!” I scream “NOT THIS TIME, ASSHOLE! I’M MINE!” The other voice gets louder “Dude, that doesn’t even make sense.”


“Shit” I say; I would have sighed that but I think I read somewhere that you can’t sigh words. I ask the new whisper “Can I wallow a little more?”
“No” It’s gotten stronger, It’s not my voice, it’s HHP, it’s the Js, Ns, S & A, Ks and the friends I’m not good at keeping in touch with but I think about all the time. This new voice echoes with so many voices but it’s loud and clear and like a salve protects me.


I pick myself up, wipe the non-existent dirt off my ass and before I can start to utter any protests about it being easier to just lay on the floor the new voice beats me to the punch.


“Yes, right now it would be easier, but not getting back up is boring. And even I can’t make a good story out of that.” It says. I look behind me and see the shadow growing smaller. “Come back” it whispers, “I was gonna make espresso.”

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