Voices in My Head

When we were little, I told my brother that dreams were actually movies shown by little guys in your head. I also told him that if he locked himself in the bathroom while we had a babysitter, candy would fall from the sky. He was deeply scarred by all of this: when he grew up, he became a lawyer.

But here’s the truth: there really are little guys in my head.

They’ve always been there, and there are actually two gangs of them. One gang is made up of voices I’ve heard in life, and those I’ve heard in the media (hi there, Spike!), and some of them were born right there in my skull. They tell me stories. Lately, for instance, I’ve heard quite a lot from a brave, ugly giant, as well as from a computer geek from Sacramento. I really like these guys, even the not-so-nice ones. You may have met some of them, such as the creepy wizard and the werewolf ex-boyfriend with control issues.

Unfortunately, there’s the other gang, too. I imagine they all look like Voldemort or Vezzini the Sicilian. And they only have one story to tell me: “You can’t.”

Now, for some reason I don’t quite understand, I’ve spent a lot of my life listening to the second gang. They’re pretty convincing. They convinced me I couldn’t write a novel, couldn’t get anything published, couldn’t drag my older kid to live for half a year in a country where we don’t speak the language.

It took me a long time, but fairly recently I’ve come to realize that the second gang is full of shit. I could do those things, and a lot more besides. Now, they’re still muttering, and sometimes I’m still listening. But now that I’ve learned to tell them to shut the fuck up, I’ve found that I can hear the first gang a whole lot better. I can hardly get their words down in print fast enough.

You know, listening to the voices in your head isn’t crazy—but listening to the wrong ones is just plain nuts.

8 thoughts on “Voices in My Head”

  1. Oh, I have voices in my head, too. Luckily, not Voldemort ones.
    Mostly, they are my voice but I have one very loud – it belonged to my grandma.

  2. I’ve realized in the last year that the best thing about getting older is that the judgmental peanut gallery in my head is a lot more easily overridden than when I was younger. I don’t care what “they” say nearly as much as I used to. And I’m willing to risk looking like an idiot. After all – those risks have paid off pretty well. 🙂

  3. I have so many voices in my head. They are always talking, always telling me stories. It’s one of the reasons my stories are 90% dialog. It’s less making up dialog and more just transcribing people that only I can hear. I had years of acting training when I was younger. I’m a crap actor but I got enough lectures in method acting that I can build little people in my head, give them voices, and a situation and just watch them act.

    I had a lot of nasty voices in my life telling me awful things about myself and what I can and can’t do. Those actually went mostly away with medication. I also had one proper voice in my head, a little old man who sounded a lot like Judd Hirsch. Sadly he went away with the meds as well but all the little characters for my stories remain. Even some who haven’t fully found their place yet.

    1. I’m happy to hear that the nasty voices went away and most of the good ones remained. It means we’re never bored, doesn’t it?

  4. Oh man, you have NO idea how much this has spoken to me. Writing ‘Rock Band’ every time I want to post I panic and hear the second set of voices – thank you so much for your constant support – and please keep listening to the first set only!!


    1. Excellent! I haven’t managed to shut the second voices up yet, but I’m paying them a lot less attention nowadays. I hope you are too!

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