Listening to the Right Voices, Not the Loudest Voices

While cruising my Facebook news feed several days ago, I came across the following post . . .


     . . . and I stopped.  Wow. So true. Immediately, I shared it.  Then, downloaded it to save it forever. It was exactly what I needed to “hear” at that particular moment.  

It was one of those days, and I was being pretty hard on myself for not getting anything done. I woke up with such great intentions of crossing off a massive amount of tasks, tasks that were mocking me day-after-day as they stared up at me from my to-do list.  I had such big plans to just slash those tasks from that list once summer arrived, but like so many days in the past year, I did not accomplish much at all, if I evaluated my progress according to that to-do list.  Instead of working on my interview transcriptions for my dissertation, or tackling the many projects around the house, or designing wine charms, or focusing on voice over copy, or starting to plan for the next school year, I had read a book.  Practiced some music for my acoustic trio.  Played around with building my website and this blog.  Floated in the pool for a bit.  Nothing that I should have done, which caused my ever-present anxiety to bubble to the surface and push me under with overwhelming thoughts of, “I’m such a waste of human space,” “Why can’t I get anything done,” “I have the attention span of a gnat,” “No wonder I can’t get anywhere,” “I’m never going to get anything done,” and countless other paralyzing sentiments.    

Then, I saw that post. I read it three, four, five times.  I felt a little better.  

I needed to stop.  Take a deep breath.  And realize that I needed to slow down, let myself recoup from a rough (putting it mildly) year at school, and realize that just like every other time or thing in my life, things WILL work out and be alright.  I will get everything finished. . . I always do.  I just needed to listen to the right voices — the ones who encourage me, give me a boost, and help to reign me in when I enter one of my manic phases — the right ones that say, “Girl, you got this!”, not the loud ones who scream, “What were you thinking?  You can’t do THAT!”  It’s hard to listen to the right voices all of the time, especially with that annoying anxiety lurking in my mind and sneaking around in my thoughts, ready to pounce at any moment.  I am at a point in life where there are so many changes on the horizon.  I feel unsettled.  Am I doing the right things?  There’s so much that I want to do, and I want to do it all NOW. NOW. NOW!  What’s on that to-do list? Well, . . . 

  1. Dissertation – Finish transcriptions and write the dang thing! I am so close, but I have hit a wall. Not a high wall, or even a brick wall, but a wall nonetheless.  I have gone hard for three years, and with the craziness of the past year, my brain has simply shut down.  It’s coming back, though, slowly.  
  2. That’s My Grape – My wine charms business!!! Oh, stay tuned for a link to the site!  I have been a crafter my entire life, and I decided at Christmas when making a set of charms for a friend that I wanted to turn this into a business. SO EXCITING BUT IT’S ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT! 
  3. Voice Over – Last summer I checked into starting a career as a voice over artist.  When the nutso of the past year hit the roof, I started pursuing this career with a bit more gusto.  I am almost finished with my broadcast demo. . . and I am constantly mulling over in my mind a home studio, narration, audiobooks, promos, . . . .and how I can jump start this thing.  Logically, I know it will take time.  Illogically, the louder voices are getting in the way.  
  4. Sundry – Acoustic trio with my fantabulous hubby (Glenn) on drums and a guy I found on Craigslist (Dom) playing guitar.  They are very patient with me. We have practiced about four or five times, and did a three-song set during Glenn’s band’s (The Loyal Hanna Band) acoustic show last night.  It went pretty well, and we got some great comments. We had fun, too, and the three of us clicked.  We are going to be good.  I always wanted to be a singer. . . wondered if I could be. . . now, I know that I can be.  
  5. New Job – Well, I am getting this PhD. And I have been doing the same thing for about 20 years. 20 YEARS. I feel like I need to challenge myself, move on. I love leading professional development workshops and being an instructional coach. I want to teach at the college level. I want to work online or remotely. . . just something. Glenn and I want to live on the beach or on a lake or on some big body of water.  Not near it. On it.  We have some time until that is a reality, but a new job would get us a bit closer. . . So, I am applying for jobs like THAT’s my job. Fingers crossed. Scary, but exciting. 
  6. Lesson Plan Writer – After 20 years, I have come to the conclusion that I have created some pretty darn good lessons. I have a few activities for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers, but I want to sell them myself. Yep. Another task on that God forsaken list. . . develop my own company? Site? Something through which I can share and sell the lessons that I know engage students.  
  7. Website Project – With all of these voices in my head, I decided that a good way to get them to speak in unison would be to create a website. I have my “landing page” (, from which a person can go to whichever “Lisa” they want – teacher, voice over, That’s My Grape, Sundry, this blog, acting, job hunting, etc. 
  8. Oh, and on top of all of that, I begin rehearsals for the play Shuffle, Ball, Step, . . .or Die!  I am an actress, too, and it’s been over a year since I’ve been on stage.  I am stoked to be part of this cast and play.  If you are in Pittsburgh, PA, in August, come to the show! 

Enough voices for ya’?  All of these voices are talking over one another, filling my head with such a chaotic mess that I can’t understand what any of them are saying.  I want to listen to ALL of them and do everything NOW and get it all done NOW, even though I know that it is not realistic and each and every one of the voices needs time and patience so that they can be heard clearly.  Some days when they are not arguing at the top of their lungs, I hear the right voices and make progress.  This blog, for instance. Other times, I can’t make sense of what any of them are saying, and I shut them out. The anxiety takes over, the OCD tendencies kick in causing me to become fixated on one thing and one thing only to the point of obsession, followed by the guilt of focusing so much energy into one thing that wasn’t even the most important thing, and I revert into a numb slob who succumbs to the depths of her Facebook news feed. . . . 

 . . . Until posts like the one above rescue me from the angst ridden corners of my mind, so that I can listen to the right voices – not the loudest.  Those right voices remind me that I can do all of those things on that list, a little at a time. I have to listen to whichever voice is speaking clearly to me at the time, and give it the attention it deserves, rather than try to push it aside and give anxiety the microphone.  Because even if I stumble some days and don’t get as far ahead on EVERYTHING, if I make just a few little steps toward SOMETHING, well, then, I am moving closer to those dreams and goals.  

The right voices are right. . . I can do it. All of it. 

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