I hear voices. No, not in a Joan of Arc way, and no, my dog doesn’t talk to me (probably because I don’t have a dog), but I do hear voices. They pop up when I read an “informative” article, listen to the side effects during a pharmaceutical commercial or when someone cuts me off on the freeway.
Sometimes the voices are helpful: “Pick up Lauren at school. Don’t forget to call your aunt. Today is your husband’s birthday. Hey, that a-hole just cut you off!”.
Sometimes they are catty: “Wow, did she look in the mirror before she left the house?”.
Sometimes the voices are lead by my EIC (Evil Inner Critic): “Wow, did you look in the mirror before you left the house?”.
The volume and number of voices appear to be directly related (in inverse proportion) to the strength of my internal filter. I’ve always heard voices, but they got much louder when I stopped telling people what I think. We all have a filter which prevents us from making rude/inappropriate/embarrassing comments. (i.e. “That lady is short.” “When’s the baby due?” and “Could you walk ANY slower?.”) Young children, old people and people who have suffered from head traume have a weakened filter. This can be either amusing or embarrassing, depending on what they say and whether they’re related to you.
When I was young(er) I chose to ignore my filter. I was under the mistaken belief that my parents were right, and that honesty was always the best policy. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve discovered that honesty might be the best policy, but, just as with alcohol and sex, moderation and timing are key.
I learned to pay attention to the little voice that acted as my filter (“Don’t say anything about a pregnancy unless you see the baby’s head”). Once I started listening to the little voice, it got louder. And then it brought friends. At first I was worried. Then I realized my voices allowed me to have internal conversations that were educational and entertaining.
Just the other day I saw a car with a bumper sticker – “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”
“Well no shit” piped up voice #1
“Actually, that’s not right. It should be ‘Guns don’t kill people, BULLETS kill people’…unless you’re bludgeoning or stabbing someone with your gun” said voice #2. (from here on out, voice #1 will be in italics, voice #2 in bold.)
“Stabbing someone with a gun? You’d have to push pretty hard..”
“No. Some guns have knifes attached.”
“With duct tape?”
“Must get what? Duct tape?”
“Not must get. MUSKET. Muskets have bayonets attached, and they haven’t been around for hundreds of years. You’re an idiot.”
“I’m an idiot? You’re the one that said ‘bullets kill people’ – that goes without saying.”
“The whole bumper sticker goes without saying. Guns can’t kill people by themselves. Unless your gun is haunted or alive.”
“Ohhhh. Ghost gun.That would be cool. Do ghost guns use ghost bullets? Can they kill you?”
“GAH!” (yes, the voice in my head actually said “GAH!”).
“Well, what do YOU think the bumpersticker should say?”
“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people – but it’s easier to kill people with a gun than a rock, because they tend to run away when you come at them with a rock.”
“Kind of long winded. The print would have to be realllllly tiny.”