Day 8: Perception

“Listen to this! Jess, listen! He’s saying “It’s so hard to keep this mouth on my face!””

“I really don’t think so, B.”

“No, here.” My brother skipped back on the song and held out his phone to me.

“It’s smile from my face.”

No. How can you not hear it?”

He played it over and over, utterly sure he was right.

I grinned at his conviction, then googled the lyrics to prove it to him. “See? Stuck in the Middle With You. “It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face.””

“Well it’s wrong. I hear “mouth.””

“Why don’t you listen again and try to hear “smile”?”

He raised an eyebrow but obliged, rewinding the song. Reaching the crucial line, his eyes widened. “What!? How does it do that?”

He rewound it again. “I could have sworn it was “mouth.” See? It’s “mouth”!”

I nodded. “Now go back and listen for the “smile” again.”

Once again, his eyes grew large and his mouth gaped in disbelief. “How does it sound like whichever you’re thinking of?”

I laughed. “Because perception is nine tenths of the law. Or something to that effect.”

Some of the ideas I’ve had about myself of late haven’t been very helpful to me. I spend all day researching and applying for jobs, trying to help out around the house and respecting my parents’ rules, and yet I spit at myself that I’m lazy and a burden. I maturely discuss rent with them, promptly hand over all they ask for and request no special treatment, yet I think of myself as a mooch. I devote a couple of hours a day to writing, the sweet art that is so dear to me, yet a part of me says “No one cares, no one wants to read it. You should just stop.”

No, honey. With the utmost kindness and respect, you need to stop. None of these thought patterns is helpful to me, because they’re not grounded in reality. And even if they were, would putting myself down be an effective way to motivate me?

I’m creating guilt where I don’t need to be feeling it. It’s not helping me find a job any faster, or making me a better daughter, or helping me as a writer. It’s just making me feel like shit.

So, building off the speech awareness that was my focus yesterday, I choose to see this situation differently. The tape of these same old thoughts can play in my head, but I will choose what I perceive in them.

I choose to acknowledge that:

  • I’m working hard to maintain my financial independence.
  • I’m listening to the needs of my parents and responding so we can have a healthy home environment.
  • I write for the health of my heart and soul. What people think of it is none of my business.
  • I am stronger and braver than I give myself credit for.

I have more control over my situation than I realize because I have control over my mind. For too long I’ve let it walk all over me. But guess what kid? You’re not the boss anymore.


To My Mind

I am spirit built into muscle and blood,

like water you won’t notice

as I wear down walls.

I am a guardian

though you say I am guarded.

I’ve chained myself to these oak doors before.

In this love I am fierce,

more warrior than slave.

Protected by Divine –

yet divine flows through my veins,

there is power in stillness

might in these hands

bones built from earth

that bled and broke for me.

Respect where I stand,

my mother built me this house.

Respect what I say,

my father told me to write.

You will grant me my space –

God saved it for me.

And he gave it to me to defend.


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