Voicemails-to-Self

birds can be so beautiful
  • birds can be so beautiful
  • INKA
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i noticed that soytit uses this response to her messages sometimes, and i imagined it as an answering machine message, interwoven with birdsong and dial tones:

go outside my dear, feel the grass. call your mother, tell her you’re sorry. birds can be so beautiful.

We asked people to leave us a voicemail and tell us what they learned in 2014.

My name is Angela. The last name isn’t important. I’m 58 years old. I’ll be 59 in 2015. And what I learned this year, in 2014, is that life goes by really quick. And yet at the same time, I feel as if I’m only just beginning to understand my life now.

Over half a century of living on the planet, doing what other people wanted me to do, saying what other people wanted me to say: being a good daughter, a good wife, a good mother, a good employer, a good citizen. I don’t regret being good at those things. But I am so much more than that. I live alone now. I am divorced, I have two grown children, one of whom I see regularly, the other whom I don’t see at all.

And in the quiet of my single life now, I am beginning to discover who these 58 years of life belong to. They belong to me. Each and every experience, each and every heartache and joy, they have made me who I am. And while my life is not perfect — no ones is — I am about to embark on a journey of self discovery and goals reached and this time, the words that I speak and the things that I do will be for no one but me, because I choose them. That’s what I learned in 2014. Thanks, thanks for asking. 

This is Anna. I think the most important thing I learned in 2014 is that loving yourself beats any kind of love another person could ever give you. And I think once more people start to realize that, the happier people will be. You shouldn’t rely on others for your happiness or base your self-worth on other peoples opinions. Because even on your lowest days, I think it’s important to remember that you’re loved, you do matter, and you are important. I guess the point of all this is that you should strive for happiness within yourself and never give up on anything you do. Because I promise things do get better. Even your worst days only have 24 hours. Bye. 

Hi there, my name is Eleanor. One lesson I learned in 2014 is that hating myself was not the way to go. I struggled with depression a lot last year and I almost made an attempt at my life. And I’m very glad that I did not go through with it. Because I just felt so alone. And I realized that I am not alone. I am not alone. And you are not alone. Another factor of that was that I felt that I was so awful and ugly and that I didn’t look right, I thought something was wrong with me. And then I realized that hating myself, it’s not the way to go. And that was letting other people treat me like garbage. And so I decided that I am beautiful and I am better than the hatred that runs through my mind. 

We asked people to leave us a voicemail and tell us something they’ve learned about love. Call 314-643-6152 to share your story.

Hi, um — something I learned from love is that you can care as much as you want about the person, but you can’t care about them enough until you learn to care about yourself. And it takes a lot, I think, to realize that, because when you’re in love you spend so much time focusing on how to make that person happy, and sometimes it can strip away at how you make yourself happy. And there can’t be an equilibrium until you note that there needs to be an even keel to it.

So love taught me how to self-love, I guess, and I think it’s really important that people remember that, because when you’re in a healthy relationship it means that everybody’s happy and it’s not just one-sided. So, yeah, anyway, have a great day.

  • Listen
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We asked people to leave us a voicemail and tell us what they learned in 2015. Call 314-643-6152 to share your lesson. 

Hi, my name’s Amanda. And the biggest thing I learned in 2015 is that you need to take the things you deserve. A lot of this year, I sat back and let good thing after good thing happen to people around me, and it’s not that others might not deserve things, but if you don’t ask, you will not get them. Today I found out that my old coworker is just getting a new laptop from the company. And it’s it’s a little thing but I didn’t even ask for a new desk chair, and I’m sitting on a dining room table chair and it’s just – you have – you have to force yourself to ask so many times. I don’t ask for things because I assume the answer will be no, and I get scared that the answer will be no, but if you don’t ask, you’ve made the answer be no. So you – you really need to push yourself to do it. Because you’re already – you’re already turning the tide against yourself to begin with, and you deserve it. Whatever you think you need right now, you deserve it. So go ask for it.

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We asked people to leave us a voicemail and tell us what they learned at their first jobs. Call 314-643-6152 to share your story.

Hi, I’m Heather. My first real, independent, got-it-on-my-own job was as a sales rep for Rue 21. While working there I witnessed an amazing amount of manipulation, lying, backstabbing and conning — even (and sometimes especially) at the hand of the store and district managers.

The years while working there, I began to feel like it was a kind of a poison and I was losing my self-respect. I really needed the job and I really needed the money. The money was my ticket into independence, and I had to decide if I was willing to compromise my morality for a little bit of cash. It turns out I wasn’t. 

I never took part in any of the petty fighting and I refused to be anybody’s gun for hire. It made me a target and I had people turning on me left and right, going out of their way to get me in trouble, because I refused to take part in anything other than what the guidelines required.

Eventually I quit, because I wasn’t going to sit around somewhere that was going to punish me for acting like a decent human being, and try to make me feel like I was wrong for saying, “No, I won’t lie for you, or to you, or anybody or for anybody.” And not only that, I wasn’t going to participate in that underhanded f—-ery.

After a few more jobs, I ended working somewhere I loved, that felt like home to me. And I think we should strive for this more often. Now I’m at home with my parents because of some medical issues that came up with me, but what I learned from my first job still applies. But I guess, to sum up what I learned is you’ve got to pick and choose what you’re willing to sacrifice and do for what you want to achieve and what you want to gain. I wasn’t willing to give up my heart for a fatter pocket, and even though my situation is a little more complicated and I’m less independent, at least I still know who I am. Bye.