Friday, January 27, 2012

Inside the TLV: The Little Voice

TLV:  The Little Voice is that voice inside our heads. Most people have it, I think, though some people's TLV is weaker than others.  I can't speak for all fat people, because everyone is different, but if I had to make a guess, I would say that the majority of fat people have a pretty strong TLV, and sadly, for many of them it is a negative experience.

I know that my TLV is a petty, vindictive bitch whom I actively fight on a constant basis when I am aware of what she is doing.  That does seem to be the hard part, though, being aware of her and her activities.  You see, when a TLV is part of you for so long, and has been reinforced by so many external voices, you sometimes don't even realize that she is whispering in the back of your head.  She's just there, a dark murmur droning into your subconcious without pause.  You don't realize that she is constantly telling you how you deserve to be looked down upon because you are fat.  Your mind doesn't consciously register that she has just whispered about how you are obviously less worthy because you are weak-willed and pathetic because if you weren't weak-willed and pathetic you wouldn't weigh as much as you do.

The TLV has learned all of the best ways to sabotage even my brightest moments. 

I happen to have a beautiful singing voice.  I know, it isn't considered polite to say such things aloud about yourself, but really, I do.  My instrument is warm, with a pleasing timbre, and a pretty big sound.  Yet until recently I had not done any singing beyond singing along with the radio or singing the end of the day song at Scarborough Faire, and I had not done so for well over a decade.  I went to college for voice, and yet I denied myself the joy of singing because my TLV had finally overrun my defenses.  When I would sing, I would think, "That went well." and then my TLV would whisper, "Except for the fact that your breath control still sucks because you're too fat and out of shape to hold a note well for the right length."  or "That high note was wobbly and everyone noticed and whispered about how that is normal for a fat person." or even, "I doubt anyone noticed how well you sang since you couldn't find a decent fat lady dress and you look horrible."

Even now I fight it.  I sing with The Women's Chorus of Dallas and we had our Holiday Concert last month.  Instead of being able to immerse myself into the music and lose myself in the experience, I ended up listening to my TLV go on and on inside my head about how fat my butt is and how we had to turn around to look behind us and the whole audience would be pointing and laughing behind my back because of the wide expanse of glittery fabric covering my posterior region.  Then she whispered about how hard it would be to get my fat body up and down the risers in any sort of graceful manner.  As the music began, my TLV warned me yet again that my fat body could not in any way, shape, or form actually give the kind of breath support that was needed for the music and maybe I should just quit after the concert and save everyone the embarassment.  It would save the Director the embarassment of having to tell me that she couldn't use me any more because I'm not good enough, and it would save the other chorus members the embarassment of being "stuck" near me, and it would save me the embarassment of failing yet again.

And yet I have a beautiful singing voice, a lot of valuable training, and a solid set of musical skills.  But despite all of this, my TLV managed to push me to the point of almost quitting.

Then I realized what was happening and I analyzed TLV's points.  Honestly, with over 50 women in the choir, I doubt that the entirety of the audience was focused on any one person, even when we turned around.  The curtains were closed when we got on and off the risers, so really, grace didn't matter anyway.  I got up and down them, and I did so with only a minor spasm in my knee when I had to jump down from the second level to avoid the children standing on the 1st level.  My breath support COULD be better, but it hasn't got anything to do with my size, it has to do with the fact that I have been shirking on my exercise and that the only thing that will fix breath support issues is cardio, cardio and more cardio!  I could weigh 500 pounds again, but if I had solid cardio I would have the breath support needed to do what needs to be done.

I almost quit something that I love for a second time because I let my TLV get to me.  How many of you have done that?  Let your TLV stop you from trying something new, or continuing something you love, because it whispers to you in the back of your mind about how Fat People CAN'T do things like that?

How many of you have let your TLV stop you from trying something new or continuing something that you love because it whispers to you that WHATEVER your personal weakness is means that you aren't worthy of doing those things?

Take hold of your future, and your dreams.  Pay attention to when your TLV speaks up, even when it is the softest of whispers in the dark recesses of your mind, and counter it EACH AND EVERY TIME.  Do not let your TLV win. 

We are all worthy of doing great things.  We are all capable of experiencing joy and pursuing dreams that we love.

We are NOT our TLVs and we never were.

Stand against your TLV and deliver your dreams to yourself.  I'll make a deal with you, and I will continue to fight my TLV and share the things that I love with you if you do the same.

We are worthy.  We are strong.  We CAN.


  1. Amen, Lys!! That TLV talks to everyone; no matter a person's size. I am proud of you for recognizing and fighting it. You go, woman! You can sing, and you know you can. As for the breath control?? Cardio and more singing. So sing your heart out woman! Your voice will charm the masses and then no one will notice what you're wearing because they are too much in awe at how well you sing (and wishing they could sing like you).

    Now if I can make my own TLV hush. Mine is strong when it says, "Sing for your kids, because they don't care. Don't sing in public, because you can't sing."

  2. Yep. I told my TLV to shove it and took a POLE DANCING class. Yeah. I did. And I loved it.

    The only reason I haven't kept going is cost, honestly. well, and now, the presence of another person in my person throwing my balance all wonky, but I went back to Tuesday night dance, telling my TLV to once again shove it where the sun don't shine, because "dancing" was fun for me and good for me, and my friends are supportive and critical--they won't let me slack off and will push me to get better, which means correcting my form. That's because they like me and want me to be my best, not because they think I suck and am a giant failure.

    Shut up TLV. Just shut up.


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