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Jack…the jerk in my head.

Jack…the jerk in my head.

I could use stronger language to describe him. He is that voice in the back of everyone’s head, suggesting those terrible ideas that our true selves would never imagine thinking. The name Jack is one that I adopted from my mother. That is who the voice is to her. I believe that for her he comes from the character that Jack Nicholson played in The Witches of Eastwick…for me; I tend to picture his character in The Shining. Either way you look at it; a deep dark, creepy, demonic character…that’s who he is.

The voice is often illustrated by a devil on one’s shoulder. One of my very favorite books is called the Screwtape Letters and, it is written by C.S. Lewis. It is one of the most ingenious explorations into man’s motivation to do good or evil that I have ever read. In my personal belief though, I go with Jack…he has a short convenient name, and it is easy for me to mentally curse him out when I catch him at work. I think that everyone probably understands what I am talking about. The voice exists for all of us, though it is often difficult to admit. Here’s a secret: It is amazingly empowering to admit to someone that you trust, the things that Jack says. Some people are driven insane by the things that they hear in the back of their mind, because they cannot find a way to disconnect these thoughts from their own soul.

Say for example I get a message that my best friend has been in a terrible car accident, and as I am rushing to the hospital the voice pipes in: “If she dies I bet she will leave me her amazing shoe collection!” “Whoa,” I think to myself. “Where on earth did that come from?” It would be a terrible thing to try to admit to someone, it would make me feel like a horrible person. It would…if I didn’t understand that it’s just random, catastrophic, brain junk floating around in my head, and it has absolutely no significance whatsoever. It does not make me a bad person.

As my method of coping, I work hard to recognize when I am hearing that voice that does not belong to me. I identify it and tell it to be quiet. For me it’s a silent “Shut Up Jack!” It is powerful and it is incredibly effective. Accepting the fact that I have voices in my head isn’t difficult for me. I will deal with the one annoying one, because in turn I get all of the muses that inspire me to create the wonderful stories that I am able to put into words. I also get to hear the words of inspiration that come through to me in the voice of my now deceased grandmother.

If you catch your own little voice piping into the back of your head remember that you can control it. Go ahead and name your inner nemesis so you can better personify whom exactly it is you are fighting against. My Jack is a sneaky little bugger; his negativity isn’t always easy to spot. Sometimes it is a few simple words that I hear, words that discourage me, or put me down, or make me afraid. If I remember the truth of my heart, if I recall that these words are not coming from me, but are a challenge that the universe is throwing in my direction; I can control how I choose to react. So I say: “Shut up Jack!” I put the voice in its place and I move on. I don’t need his negativity in my life.

Here is a link if you are interested in reading The Screwtape Letters:


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