Zachary Alden Smith

The Eternal Inner Murmur of Self-Reproach

After reading Judith Shulevitz describe the "machinery of self-censorship" and the "eternal inner murmur of self-reproach"...

I realized immediately that 95% of what I hear on a daily basis is a perpetual replaying of the most debilitating words I've ever received — a static hiss of discouragement underneath the real content of life, filling all empty contemplative space and drowning out any message of hope and goodwill.

It's like a terrible record I tried to break, then put it back on the turntable to repeat all day, every day, instead of simply switching it off. It became the lens through which I saw everything that I did and everything that happened to me.

And somehow, hearing it for what it was the first time allowed me to put some space between it and my identity, and therefore to stop participating in it.

It's been 2 years since that moment, and I still have to be still and breathe on purpose to get it to stop. And it's still scary sometimes when I have to learn who I am without it.

But it is far more sustainable and fun to walk in freedom.

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