Guided by Voices


Apparently I need someone to tell me what to do.


Between guided runs, guided meditations, an app barking at me to log my meals, a “watch” buzzing me to take more steps, and a personal trainer politely telling me do five more reps, I had no idea how much instruction I needed to get something done.

I suppose I always knew that I’m better on a deadline, when someone is expecting something from me and there are real consequences at stake.

Then again, you’d think when I have a three and a half year old who basically never stops talking unless he’s asleep or watching Blue’s Clues, I would want silence. Or at the very least, not someone directing my every move right down to how to breathe.

But there is something almost soothing in a voice telling me how something should feel, or that it’s OK that it doesn’t feel like anything, or that if it hurts to stop. Even cheesy motivation to keep going, that I’m doing something just for “showing up”, that I’m a better version of myself after twenty minute of “easy running” is strangely inspiring.

When they tell me to smile, I smile. When they tell me to check my form, I sit and stand taller. When they congratulate me for literally the smallest, dumbest crap, I feel better.

And this explains why I engage on social media. Yes, I like the Likes. I need the feedback.

My fiance asked me if I post on Instagram just for me and I said “absolutely not”. I do it so people hit the heart button.

Not for popularity, but for validation.

I have no idea if it’s healthy. It probably isn’t. I got off of Twitter (except to make automatic posts from other accounts) and I truly feel better. There was something so intense and real-time about that platform that gave me anxiety. Maybe it was the sheer amount of people I followed who I didn’t know IRL. Or maybe because it really is the type of place where people go to react immediately, like a constant scrolling text at the bottom of 24 hour news, except so much of it is triggering .

I doubt Facebook or Instagram are much better, but I feel like it’s better curated in terms of what I see and how I engage.

Though looking into a mirror while hanging out in my echo chamber can’t be all that great either.

At least I’ve been engaging with different people in grad school. You know, those online courses I’m taking at a school based in Hays, Kansas.

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