4.22 Goodfellas


I'm not done with what I was writing about last week. I really try to write about stuff and let it go away, like a fart released on a windy day. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard. What I couldn't get outta my head was the notion of a separation of consciousness. And the movie Goodfellas, but I'll get to that later. Okay, so, just to review in case you're new to all this and the crazy stuff I'm saying. Last week I talked about going to see a hypnotist and how I failed at being hypnotized and the differences between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind. I revealed that I've started to have arguments between two competing voices, which after some reflection, perhaps I shouldn't even be talking about. But screw it. Full blown shouting matches when confronted with a situation where I have to make a decision to do something that requires some type of risk. One side tells me I suck and should give up, the other saying to just go for it and see what happens. I believe that these competing voices were always there, but only talked one at a time. They'd take over from each other and whatever it was saying - you suck or just go for it - became the truth and the reality of my actions. What I mean is that there would be no argument, if the voice took over that says I suck, well then, I would just think, Forget it you suck it's not going to work.

Maybe I am truly going mad? This is somewhat scary to even be referring to my inner monologue as having competing voices. This is stressful and alarming and surely a sign of my brain loosening, breaking apart, finally revealing me to be what I always feared: batshit crazy. From here, the voices could only get louder and soon they'll not just be in my head but become vocal. It'll start with me pacing around my place talking out loud. Then I'll move out doors, becoming one of those guys walking down the street having a full blown argument for all to hear and judge and I won't even hear the people I pass whispering to each other as they pull their kids closer, Don't make eye contact. My hair will grow long along with a patchy beard, eyes bloodshot, unable to work, to make decisions, to wash. Let's not go down that road too far.

It happened again just the other day. Overwhelmed with work, heading to my newly rented office space, I sat there unable to do anything productive while others around me had noses to grindstones. Combined with a few other things and getting soaked in the rain and splashed by a few cars - which never helps - led me to feeling useless, insufficient, inadequate, irrelevant. Walking in the rain, telling myself these things and that other voice chipping in, trying to pull me out of this You Suck dialogue by yelling, No no no no no no. Can't say I won that battle that night. But the war's not over.

Maybe I ain't going crazy? Maybe this is a healthy sign of growth and change and self-awareness? Jesus, I hope so. I've felt useless and inadequate because I've told myself this for so long. Maybe I'm just trying to change my perspective of myself? Where's the harm in that? Although I can't say for sure, I feel that these two voices are just different parts of my brain talking to each other. Maybe the conscious and sub-conscious, maybe the id and ego, maybe something else.

Last week, my therapist said something that stopped me in my tracks. I told her that I don't often call friends up because I feel like I am being tolerated, that they don't really want me around. A bit shocked, she said, Okay, so let's say a friend of yours is sitting here and you told them that, what do you think they'd say? Well, of course they'd say it was ridiculous because it is ridiculous. So, a big part of dealing with these competing voices is to look at what is being said inside my head and bring it outside, look at it from an external perspective. You know what, most times I can easily say that what the You Suck voice is saying can be called ridiculous. Most times.

Here's the thing, there is some truth to the You Suck voice. One of the things that popped into my head lately is really something weird. The past few weeks have been wild. I've gotten some huge opportunities that are moving me in the direction I've wanted to go in for a while, I'm getting out to events and writerly stuff and meeting new people, finding my people, socializing a lot (maybe too much), meeting interesting women who seem genuinely interested in me, working with individuals whom I respect, traveling and taking risks. Listening less to that You Suck voice. The thing that popped into my head is if I get everything I want and I'm still unhappy, then there is something seriously wrong with me. What kind of twisted fear is that? It's almost like the You Suck voice is going stealth, choosing a different tactic, taping into very specific fears and making me look at them in a different, more scary way.

About Goodfellas. I might've watched this movie hundreds of times. There's a scene where the young Ray Liotta character is spending time with the local gangsters instead of going to school. His parents find out through letters delivered from the school. The gangsters grab the postman, drag him into the pizzeria and shove his head in the oven, warning him, From now on, any letter from that school to that kid's house comes directly here, you understand? If another letter from that school gets to that kid's house, in the fucking oven you'll go head first. My You Suck voice is the postman: If any of your (me) thoughts govern this guy's (me) actions, we're going stick your head in a goddamn pizza oven.