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When The Dog Bites, When The Bee Stings…
Did Mariah Carey Have it Right After All?
“Baby it’s all in your mind, yeah-ee-eah-eh-eh-eh-ee-yeah-ee-yeah-eh-eh…”
I believe those last few notes reached cats on Pluto, but that might be beside the point. Though Mariah Carey’s song is admittedly about concern over love slipping away - like when you reach the end of a sleeve of Fig Newtons - it contains a profound grain of truth:
Many things are simply “all in our mind.”
We truly make mountains out of molehills. My 6-year-old is notorious for this. He will obstinately avoid entering the garage to take the garbage out unless he has turned on all the lights in our entire city, including the hallway leading up to the garage. Also, I am required to be standing right there at the garage door threshold to protect him from the monsters that supposedly lurk therein, and whom I have been starving in anticipation of his arrival. It has proved pointless trying to assure him that they are not in there at all, and rather are simply waiting in his closet until he goes to sleep.
Now, I know Imposter Syndrome has been killed off, no one struggles with it anymore, and everyone reading this is supremely confident and well-adjusted. By killed off, I mean alive and well. By no one, I mean everyone, and by supremely confident and well-adjusted, I mean not.
Since I was a child, I have been familiar with the concept of lies. You see, a child is a small human who is part politician. They are able to tell you things, and be utterly convinced of what they are saying, even though every other human is effectively saying this in response:
I thank you for allowing me to repurpose that colorfully fine GIF from last week's blog.
Let me give you an example.
I once found a book of matches in our junk drawer when I was about 7, which is The Age of Deception. I lit a match, purely out of curiosity. Oh! Also because of the burgeoning arsonist within. Realizing instantly what I had done, I put it out, and tried desperately to wave the smoke away. In an instant, The Sentry was upon me. I am talking about my mother. You see, Mother Units are robot sentries who are always present, and come equipped with Smoke Detection and The Hand that Spanks. There would be no escape this time; the smoke still lingered in the air as I saw her veer into view around the corner of the wall, nostrils flaring. She raised her blaster and shot a laser fire hole clean through my guilty conscience. My reply?
“Well, you see Mom…stammer stammer…there must have been a matchstick on the ground...shuffle shuffle...near the matchbook that was...stammer stammer...perfectly aligned with the strike strip, and when I...shuffle shuffle...walked on it, it must have clung to my shoe and...stammer stammer...lit itself as I walked across the matchbook.”
I am not kidding. That was my well-crafted spur-of-the-moment defense. I then asked to be excused from the interrogation as I picked up the phone and called United Airlines to ask what flights they had to the Island of Tristan Da Cunha so that I might live there free from robot sentries. I then asked them if they provided complimentary matchbooks.
I was the pitiful architect of this unclever deception, and The Mom Sentry saw right through both it and me. I do not remember what punishment I was given, because I believe I blacked out from the rage, and went to my happy place. When I regained consciousness, there was still the smell of smoke lingering in the air, but I am sure this was actually from the laser fire.
Apparently, lying is genetic, because the ability to lie definitely came baked into my 2-year-old as well. The question, “Asher, are you poopy?” is routinely answered with a nervous “Noooooo...?” even though my wife and I know that is a lie. You see, horseflies have already begun their slow migration from Kathmandu to his butt, and Richter Scale alarms in China are still trembling from the recent audio rupture emanating from his pull-up.
Lies. It turns out we are not really fooling anyone.
Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies
But sometimes, do we even try to fool ourselves? Here, dear reader, is where you say, “Why yes, Josh, I do believe we do.” Good reader!!! Pat-pat.
Whether it is Imposter Syndrome or his older and no-less-nasty brother Inferiority Complex, we are not immune to the lies that come from mercilessly doubting ourselves.
Baby it’s all in your mind.
Voiceovers are a competitive and passionate vocation and art form, and we are all in a race to do them well and to make them our career. Along the way, here is just a smidgen of the lies we tell ourselves in voiceovers:
- That I should not use the word smidgen.
- That I’ll never be good enough.
- That I’m too old to begin voiceovers.
- That I don’t have the time to commit to voiceovers.
- That smidgen is a smaller amount than a “scosh.”
- That I don’t need to conduct direct marketing.
- That I don’t need to exercise in this sedentary career.
- That no agent would want to hear from me.
- That I don’t need coaching.
- That the P2Ps are all I need.
- That a smidgen is a cross between a Smurf and a pigeon.
- That I will never be as good as So and So.
- That every word of a script is gospel, and not to be changed or deviated from.
- That if I quote high, I won’t book.
- That if I take a day off, my career is over.
- That they’ll hate me if I ask them to change verbiage in their contract.
- That celebrating my success on social media makes me an egomaniac jerk.
- That I'm not good enough for market rates.
- That smidgen does not taste great on a cracker.
So. What lies are you telling yourself? By the way I can see you with that matchbook. SentryMom will be with you momentarily; I would recommend you start practicing your stammer shuffle now.
We Are Men Of Action. Lies Do Not Become Us.
As Wesley said to Count Rugen in The Princess Bride, “We are men of action; lies do not become us.” And so we are: we voiceover artist men, and voiceover artist women, and voiceover artist women who are men. We are all men, and women who are men, of action. All of us. The men AND the women. Who are men.
I do not think that was my point.
My point was that lies do not become us. The truth is always so much more appealing, much like like Yanni music and Double-stuffed Oreos. The truth, dear reader, is that every one of the lies listed above are hollow and empty, which means hollow. If you are telling yourself any one of the lies listed above, ask yourself why. Then ask yourself: what fear does that lie stem from?
Many times I find that my lies are simply excuses to protect my fear. As Pope John Paul II once said, "The party don't start until I walk in." But after that, he said, “An excuse is worse and more terrible than a lie, for an excuse is a lie guarded.” Eeek. Far be it from me to erect a walled garden and iron bars around my lies in order to protect them. They cannot be freed, and they will always be inside me, corrupting me from within.
So here is what I prescribe for you. Today, adopt a smidgen of Hope, because that is what we need to see beyond the traps of our lies. Bereft of hope, we will simply knock our heads against the wall and relinquish the dream of one day escaping. Additionally, we will have to use words like “bereft” in a sentence, which sounds like a word that would precede a “Bless you!” and a Kleenex wipe.
Lies do not become us. Renounce them. As Gandalf said to Théoden:
Give up those lies, and start breathing truth:
- I CAN do this.
- I AM enough.
- I WILL get there.
- I DO have what it takes.
- I AM as good as So & So.
- I AM worthy of market rates.
- Smidgen DOES taste good on a cracker.
Pardon the profanity, and meaning no disregard to the subject matter, but let the lyrics of this song from Pink sink in.
My 2-year-old will be by to drop off his pull-up later.
YOU HAVE MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END, AND I SALUTE YOU.
- Like this blog? My children are counting on you to put bread on our table through the purchase of one of my books. Do it for the children.
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- This is a fourth bullet point.
AND HEY! WAIT JUST A S.E.C.!
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- E-NCOURAGE: Go encourage someone else today with a single, simple sentence of affirmation. Tell them, “I like your earrings”, unless of course they are manly men, in which case you should compliment them on the size of their chainsaw.
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Seattle Voice Actor & Voiceover Artist for hire