Little Guy, Big Voice

D’oh.

As some of you may have noticed, these posts are starting to get more and more infrequent. I have most definitely fallen victim to the never-ending chaos that is college midterm season. As some of you may have also noticed, I only write blogs when I am preparing for midterms. Why is that? Procrastination, that’s why. There is nothing quite like the creative, all encompassing rush of energy that envelops me when it is midterm time.

I have a perfectly good excuse to be here and not in the library, though. While I may be procrastinating on studying for my final round of midterms, I am finally doing something that I have been putting off for a while–writing this post.

Don’t be offended friends. It is not you, it’s me. It is just that sometimes I don’t have anything hearing related to write about. Sometimes, I am just too busy stressing out about school that I don’t have time to think of something to write. Sometimes, I am so busy stressing about not knowing what to write about that I completely miss a topic that is right there in front of me. Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in the build up that I can’t get to the point and tell you that the purpose of this post is to discuss the voices in my head.

Now, before you start making judgements that I am spending a little too much time doing abnormal psychology, allow me to undo some of the sensationalism of my previous statement (hey, all journalists do it).

Have you ever been so stressed that you keep thinking of all the things you have to do? Like, you can be sitting completely still and your mind is still being pelted with thoughts about all the things you have to do and the little guy in your brain is angrily shaking your to-do list at your lazy self?

Hopefully, this is a relatively common experience. Assuming you’re still with me, this “little guy” with the angry to do list is the source of the “voice in my head,” i.e. the conscious mind, or Freud’s “ego” for those of you savvy psychologists out there. The little guy is the part of my brain that coordinates every moment of every day, plans out my future moments, and ruminates on the past moments.

Now this is the part where I must hop off the island.

When I am awake and fully functioning with my hearing devices in, I can tune the little guy out and tell him (I don’t know why I refer to him as a him. This is not a statement about sexism, fyi) to get lost and that I am doing my best. In fact, I’d like to think that I am one of the lower energy level students out there. I am not easily stressed.

However.

When I take out my hearing devices and the silence comes roaring in (can silence roar?), that is when the little guy seems to find his lungs. My thoughts get so loud with no background noise to check them. It gets easier to start stressing and listening intently to this little guy telling me all the things I haven’t done yet when I do not have anything external, like the sound of traffic or of my apartment mates watching Netflix in the next room, to hold on to. In proportion to the sounds that my hearing devices bring to me, the little guy is easily squelched. Without these sounds, the little guy becomes a little dictator.

As you can imagine, this feeling is NO FUN during exam time. It’s like, the night before an organic chemistry test, the little guy suddenly decides to reveal to me that he has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry and keeps me up all night reviewing concepts that I had drilled before bed. Or, if I feel like I made a questionable choice (guys, I’m not scandalous or rebellious or anything–when I say “questionable” I mean that I probably decided to mix orange juice and milk within an hour of each other, calm down) the little guy goes on and on about how that was dumb and how I am going to feel sick and how oh my goodness is that my stomach rumbling? Or if I didn’t have time to finish my homework, the little guy decides to whip out his handy little iPhone with his handy little iCal app and run through all the time I don’t have to make it up.

I get that this experience isn’t all together unique to me, but I think being able to hear or not being able to hear adds a unique dimension to the experience. The value of being able to hear at least SOMETHING else during times of racing thoughts is one that I think others may overlook. When I can hear the noise of everyday life around me, or even the sound of my sheets rustling, I can prioritize those sounds instead of the little guy with the big voice.

While I love to be a good host and entertain all my guests, I have learned, over the past 19 years, that sometimes I have to be mean to little guy and tell him to get lost so I can get some sleep. Thankfully, he listens.

Believe me, the day that he stops listening is the day I buy him a hearing aid so he can hear me loud and clear when I tell him to go away.

P.S.-The little guy says hi. He also says that I will be hearing from him tonight about this blog post.