All These Voices

I hear voices, all these voices, in my head, that tell me conflicting things all day, every day.

I hear my mother telling me to look both ways before I cross the street. Her voice is stern without being harsh, full of concern as always.

I hear my sister calling to me from her table in the cafeteria, inviting me to come sit with her and her friends. I haven’t heard her voice in a long time so I’m unsure if she really means me, even though she says “Sam.”

I hear my Nana telling me I’ll grow into my feet, back when my feet were gargantuan appendages on my small frame. She sounds sincere, like she knows something everyone else can only guess at, and she’s only telling me.

I hear Charles Barkley saying he’s not a role model out one side of his mouth while the other side is curiously silent. It hearkens to a time when I never thought he was a role model, but it seemed like so many others did.

I hear my father telling me he’s proud of me as I stand up in front of the church the one time he is there to see me. His voice is deep and booming, the type of voice I want to have when I grow up.

I hear Kim Robinson saying that I’m her best friend because she feels sorry for me, and I cry at the sound of her voice, at the pity that emanates from it. When she says it I want it to be true, her voice sweet as candy, as close as my own.

I hear my own voice as if through a tunnel, telling me that I’m good enough, that I’m smart enough, that doggone it, people like me, but I can’t bring myself to believe it. My voice cracks in places where the rough edges have broken and the plates have shifted, leaving me empty.

I hear all these voices pulling me to and fro, back and forth across the landscape of my scattered mind, and I don’t try to tune them out. I try to reconcile them with my idea of me, of my past, my future, and where I am right now, at this moment, when the voices are plentiful and full of vibrancy. Like I sometimes am.

Sam

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