Last night, I had a chat with the rational voice that lives inside my head. I think she was surprised. You see, I don’t consult her very often, mostly because she’s usually wrong. How weird is that? The voice that’s supposed to think clearly and look at all the facts is the one that usually ends up getting me in trouble or leading me to believe in something that simply isn’t true. I guess she’s optimistic that way. That, or she’s just not very smart. At least she tries.
As writers, we constantly live with different worlds inside or minds. It would only make sense, then, that there are several sides of all of us that contribute to these worlds. I guess my problem is that I’ve never known which of these sides of myself is my true side, or which one I should be giving the most attention.
First of all, we’ll start with the Writer. She’s the one that drives me. She’s the one that’s won out after twenty-seven years of competing with all my other selves. She often knows what I want to say before I know it myself. She also gives my characters words and actions that I didn’t know I had in me. I kind of love it when characters come to life like that and act in ways that I hadn’t planned. Unfortunately, the Writer in me also sees everyday life, not as real life, but as a story being acted out. She gives every person their own plot, their own motives, their own inner dialogues. When life doesn’t work out like a storybook, it confuses her. More often than not, however, it comes as a relief. A lot of stories have tragedies. No part of me likes tragedies.
Then we have the Outdoorsman. This is the part of me that loves being outside and hiking and kayaking and getting dirty. She loves nature and wants nothing more than to live in a cabin by the lake and become one with the trees. She doesn’t care for the hustle and bustle of city life and more often than not, she dreams of simply running away and being free. She also might be kind of a hippie.
The Photographer and the Outdoorsman go hand in hand, but unlike the Outdoorsman, the Photographer likes all kinds of settings, city life included. She dreams of visiting places like New York and Colorado and Alaska and London. In fact, she’ll go just about anywhere as long as there’s something cool to photograph, and trust me, she can always find something. She loves seeing things and she loves capturing moments. She also loves taking those moments and making them entirely her own.
Then there’s the Beachcomber. This side of me wants nothing more than to be by the ocean 24/7. She loves everything about the ocean, from the reflection of sunlight on its surface to the countless creatures that call it home. She would give just about anything to be by the water constantly.
Next, there’s the Genealogist. Technically, I guess she’s not so much of a genealogist as she is a wannabe historian, but for whatever reason, she’s obsessed with my family history. She’s in love, not only with Scotland, but the idea of all of her homelands. She has a huge desire to explore those historic lands where my ancestors once lived.
Those voices or sides or pieces of self are all well and good, but there are other voices, like the Neurotic Overreacter, that I could do without. See, she’s the one that tries to convince me that I need to be worried about everything all the time. Thankfully, she’s not the most prominent voice in the bunch, but she’s still there, and every once in a while, she manages to push her way through the rest of the voices and remind me that she’s still there. And boy, do I hate her. I guess I still need her, because in a way, she does contribute to ideas for stories, but as far as my life goes, I would love it if she just stayed the hell away. She’s a control freak, she’s very demanding, and she bums me out. A lot.
That’s where my Rational voice comes in. She’s supposed to keep the Neurotic Overreacter in check, but she doesn’t do a very good job. She’s kind of timid and doesn’t have a lot of confidence in herself, whereas N.O. is convinced that she’s right ALL the time. It’s like, impossible to argue with her because she is SO convinced that she’s right. My Rational voice tries really hard, I think, but she’s more often lost over the shrill chatter of all the other voices.
There are several other voices that I haven’t touched on: the Good Girl, the Ravenclaw, the Rebel, etc… But I think you get the point. The road to self-awareness is a long one, and I’m not sure I’ll ever fully get there. I think there will always be something new to learn about yourself and how you fit into the world around you. Sometimes, your inclinations contradict themselves. I’m just trying to get by and find my place, and to live in a way that leaves me few regrets. It’s difficult, but I think I’m learning.