Turning off the radio

In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott has a nice bit about learning how not to listen to radio station KFKD, which plays in her head (and my head and most other people’s heads) in stereo. One side tells you how great you are, how much more talented and gifted and special, while the other side tells you how much you’ve screwed everything up. In rap form.

That first side is more subtle, and I don’t always know when I’m hearing it. But I can tell you that I hear that rap music pretty much constantly. And I don’t even like rap.

Tuesday night I could hardly sleep because of KFKD. It went something like this: “Only a few people came back for your book club. You failed. You did a crappy job facilitating today. You failed. They didn’t like the book you picked. You failed. They probably won’t come back. You failed, you failed, you failed.”

Wednesday morning I got up and read that chapter of Bird by Bird. Her recommendation is to breathe. The other recommendations have more to do with writing, so they weren’t really applicable. But I tried to breathe, and to not think so much about it. I went to work, and I tried to do my job. And it got a little better.

My friend Kelly sent me an email asking how my book club went, and I told her that I was trying not to feel like a failure. She said, “I think Nicholas Sparks is the failure in this situation, not you.” hehe. That helped, and by the end of the day I wasn’t consumed with thoughts of failure.

But, you know, last night I felt like I messed up a bit when we had some friends over, so the cycle started over again. “You failed, you failed, you failed. So today I am trying to breathe. Drinking Diet Coke and breathing. Updating the website and breathing. Sorting the mail and breathing. Trying not to be so hard on myself. Trying to turn off the radio.

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