When I am quiet and still, Mr. Fix It takes over my brain. He says I should do this and that and abstain from doing certain things I like and that come naturally. He says I need to work harder and smarter. I need to reach higher. I need to be finer, kinder, more moral.
Whose voice is this? It is the voice of my father. Dad’s a self-made man. A striver and achiever. I walk around with his voice in my head.
Dad’s keen on improving people. He holds himself to a high standard and pushes those around him.
I remember dad on cold winter mornings covered with blankets and the windows wide open for the fresh air. There’s frost on his chin. His hands hurt from the cold. But he’s healthy.
I see him eating food that nobody else in the family will touch and bitterly calling himself “Garbage Can Dad.” For me, the bananas are over-ripe. For dad, they’re fine. He was born in the depression and he doesn’t take food for granted. By comparison with him, I’m spoiled. I’ve never lacked.
It’s up to me to replace his voice in my head with one more amenable to my values. I’d like to do less lashing of myself and to hear instead an attitude of gratitude.