Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A-Z Challenge: J - Just Me

It's taken me almost 62 years to realize that it's just me here. I had so many voices inside my head - parents, teachers, friends, bosses, inner critics, that I had no idea what my own voice sounded like. That's why when  I began taking voice lessons a few years ago, it was so hard. The sound of my own voice was foreign to me - and I didn't like it much.

If you've had a healthy childhood, you are probably lucky enough to have had a successful individuation during adolescence and young adulthood - separation from parents and the home you grew up in. But if you never learned the things you were supposed to learn as a child and then an adolescent and young adult, you struggle with those issues much later than most.

In my past, I was never enough. Wasn't pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, talented enough. I still struggle with some of these issues, and probably always well. The difference now is that they don't rule how I live my life and who I am. I can separate out the critical parent from the authoritative boss to the jealous colleague and figure out what I really think and feel. What a blessing!

Just me is really okay. How about you?


Glynis said...

It is hard to shake off those voices that have followed us over the years. I no longer allow them to creep in and set me into panic mode.

Enjoy just being you, Karen. :)

Ellen Brickley said...

I suffer from anxiety so I constantly feel I'm not good enough - first, I become anxious that I'm not good enough, and then I feel I'm not good enough because if I was, I wouldn't be anxious!

I would love to take voice lessons but have never found any close to where I live. I'll keep looking though :)

Angeline said...

I realised it was ok to just be me when I was about 25, just before I met my husband. But I still swear that the epitaph on my grave will read 'Could have done better'.

Charmaine Clancy said...

It bothered me too, but somewhere along the way I found my flaws actually amuse me. So what if I can't sing - I do it anyway (much to my kids' embarrassment) :)

Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

welcome to my world of poetry said...

After I became a widow I was lost, you see I lost my mother just two months before my husband. She had only been gone three days when I was told he had terminal cancer, So I was doubly lost. As the years rolled by realised I had to find myself again. It;s been 13 yrs now but I accept what fate dealt me and hope people accept me for who and what I am.

Lauracea said...

Enjoy being just you because that's perfect. Me? Well, no-one has the flaws I do so that must make me unique, right? :)

Darlene said...

My biggest critic is myself. Sometimes I have to tell Me to just shut up, get over it, and accept Me for who I am, flaws and all.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

I'm not sure I've had the "It's just me" moment yet, not fully. I get little tastes of it here and there, but it feels like I'm always learning something new that makes me realise there's still more to go.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Good for you! Learning to ignore those other voices can be very difficult, and seeking their approval can be debilitating. I was well into my 40s when my father finally said the words I'd always wanted to hear; he said he was proud of me. But instead of bubbling over with joy, I felt nothing. Whattaya know? I didn't NEED his approval anymore! Hallelujah!

Joanne said...

I enjoyed all the comments here, Karen. It feels like you've got a Just-Me Club going on, all of us just-me in our own, unique way :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

I don't compare myself to anyone else or try to please everyone because it's fruitless, but I'll admit to being annoyed and frustrated by myself frequently! Something I'll always work on.

Jean said...

I am a perfectionist in some ways but only in areas which interest me. Everything else I let slide a bit. I set a standard for myself and pretty much don't care what "other poeple think". I approach everyone expecting to be liked and I tend to trust people. I think my Dad had a great influence on me as a kid. He didn't try to push me and sister around, he just brought us up really well--to be good people and to be honest and upright. I believe in the golden rule. I hope this doesn't sound too stuffy or "holier than thou". I just feel incredibly lucky that I had such a wonderful role model. :) Thanks for letting me write.


Pam Torres said...

I think more of us then admit it, feel inadequate at one time another. The voices in our heads come from so many sources. I've found meditating has helped me quiet many of them, I see them and let them roll on by.

Ella said...

Wonderful post; I agree most of us have been ridden with self doubt, at some point in time. Just me is just right~xXx

Dafeenah said...

Definitely still working on it. It's wonderful that you have come to that place. It's encouraging and gives me hope that it is possible to get there one day. Thanks for sharing this!


Sarah Allan said...

I agree, I think it takes a while to find out what "just you" sounds like without the background hum of teachers, parents, or anyone else talking to or about you in your head. I've found that it's easier with physical distance. My husband and I now live far away from our families, which is both good and bad, but one of the great parts is that we can live our own lives and find our own voices, as you've said.

Better is Possible said...

Yup, I am enough! Thanks for your post!

Karen Walker said...

Glynnis, right back at ya, enjoy being you, I mean.
Ellen, that must be so difficult. Anxiety is hard. Just try to remember you are okay.
Angelina, how lucky to realize that so young.I was way older. But I think our epitaphs should read: We did the best we could!
Charmaine, how lovely to allow your flaws to amuse you. Character flaws are a bit harder to ignore than ones like singing, though.
Yvonne, you've hard it harder than most and I admire you so much. I do hope there are those in your life who love and accept you just the way you are. You are delightful.
Lauracea, yes, it's our quirky things that make us unique.
Darlene, yup my inner critic is the toughest as well. Sometimes I say, put down the whips
Paul, I realized a while back there will always be more to learn and ways to grow. I hope I'm still learning on my death bed.
Susan, that's so sad, but good for you that you realized you didn't need to hear it from anyone else.
Joanne, that's a delightful idea - a just me club.
Elizabeth, that's great. I'm still working on easing up on myself as well.
Jean, happy to have you comment here and it certainly doesn't sound "holier than thou." You're a lucky lady.
Pam, Ella, Dafeenah, thanks so much.
Sarah, I lived far away from my parents when they were alive. It's what worked for me.
Better is Possible - yeah, you.

Brianna said...

I was never enough. Wasn't pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, talented enough.
Have you been reading my mind? I never feel good enough at anything I do and never feel confident in myself. I have brief fleeting moments where I feel good, but it's like there's this big bullying giant that lives in my mind and comes along and stomps on anything positive I feel about myself.
I've been wrestling this giant my entire life and only recently did I realize he was there. I figure that is step one in beating him!

Thanks for stopping by my blog and introducing yourself. This is my first visit to your lovely blog, but certainly not my last!

Karen Walker said...

Brianna, glad you're here and glad I found you as well. Recognizing the giant is the first step.

Pen Name: Imogen Rayne said...

Great blog post! I truly love being me, because there is NO ONE like me in this entire world. I may not be famous but I am special to those who love me. That's truly all that matters. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. I truly enjoyed reading yours as well. I will try to come by and read more along the way.

Hugs, Princess Imogen

Amy Brantley said...

Love this post. I don't think I've ever done anything that was good enough for my mother, but have learned to stop caring.

D said...

Hey there. Found you on the blog challenge. Thanks for supporting http://DonPennington.blogspot.com!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Just me is good! And I was one of those weird kids that had a normal childhood.

Linda H. said...

I went from perfections to the "whatever...I don't give a damn" laidback attitude to where I am now--somewhere in between. I am more comfortable in my skin now but still struggle at times with issues. No one is perfect.

Ann said...

What a great achievement Karen....Just Me is enough. Congratulations on surviving the battles that eventually lead to winning the war.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm happy with just being me now. Not so much when I was younger, but I had some things to overcome, too.

Karen Walker said...

Imogen, isn't it wonderful, there is no one like any of us?
Amy, did we have the same mother?
D, you're welcome. Thanks right back.
Alex, you have no idea how blessed you are - my hubby had a childhood like that as well.
Linda, it's so true, yet we keep trying. Sigh!
Ann, thanks for the support.
Diane, Yeah for all of us who have gotten to the point where we're happy with ourselves.

septembermom said...

Amen! This post is very thought provoking and says so much. My dad used to say, "Fight those dragons inside. Don't let them get you down." I'm still fighting but I agree with you that I have to focus on just me and let all those other influences not push me away from "me."

Michelle in a shell said...

I've been trying to work on this myself- remembering that is really is "just me" that counts. Thanks for sharing this tidbit of yourself

Empty Nest Insider said...

Karen, sorry you had such a rough childhood. It's good that you're able to talk about things and will continue to with your blog. You seem like a wonderful person, and I hope with each passing day you will feel better about yourself. Thanks for visiting me, and I'll be back to see you. Julie

Mason Canyon said...

Being 'Just Me' is the best way to be. It is hard for us to remember that sometimes, but it's the best way to be.

Thoughts in Progress

Melissa Bradley said...

I'm just now starting realize it's okay to be me. Very inspiring post for me today. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

It's just me, lurking.