The Inner DIALOGUE: Are You Constantly Talking to Yourself? by Matthew Carlson

I should've won!

The Inner Dialogue by Matthew Carlson

THE INNER DIALOGUE (an excerpt from an ebook in progress)
by matt carlson
You are on the tennis court. You are playing a tennis match. Your adversary beats you almost every time (except when he is suffering from a minor illness, you can sometimes eek out a set). This time, you suddenly and surprising have the advantage
with a 15/40 on his serve and you are leading 6 games to 5! It’s never happened before during his periods of being healthy.
Without even thinking about it, your backhand down-the-line has dropped in! You now go and pick up a ball and toss it to your
adversary and during that time, a voice is talking to you.
It says, ” Wow, I can’t believe my luck ! For once my backhand went in at the right time! I’m gonna hit a great big forehand to
close out this set! It’s gonna be devastating!” You tell yourself with a self congratulating air on how it will be afterwards.
Already, you are seeing the photographers fighting to take your picture; this is your moment of glory!
You move into position and stand to receive serve. Your partner begins his windup. It’s a slow, unexpected puffy like sphere
rolling in the air like a cloud, seemingly to take forever to arrive in your service box. Apparently, your opponent wants to play it
safe. Not you though, you’re gonna pound on that ball and show him how good you really are! To make up for all those many
humiliating lost matches! It’s time! You jump at 200 miles per hour on that poor, slowly rotating fluorescent green ball while
slamming it with all your might, using that brand new powerful racquet you just bought (guaranteed for hair splitting return of
serves!) Unfortunately, however, your velocity is too rapid and you completely miss the ball….It sadly rolls into the back fence;
it is alone and unmoving. A lost ball, an unmoving one; a once again lost opportunity….
Suddenly, an irate voice in your head is
now screaming, « What an idiot! How can anybody miss that kind of ball?! Even a 2 year old could’ve made it back into the
court!” You try not to show how upset you are, but your breathing is suddenly short & fast, your face too has become a red
tomato…
The controlling voice intercedes once again saying « It’s okay you still have a another set point – forget about that horrible
forehand – let’s hit a backhand this time – you hit a great backhand just a minute ago ». Your breathing is still very fast and you
can no longer feel your legs either. But you are trying to be positive so you move again into position, hoping it’ll work out for you.
Then while expecting your opponent to accelerate that dinky serve of earlier, you are wrong again. He serves you yet another
dinky serve and ‘oh-happy-days’ it’s to your backhand, as you had hoped! You jump into action immediately, but the controlling
voice is there too, saying « Drop shot! Drop shot!” and you think yes, (though you never worked on it before), there’s a big
ignored hole right next to the net! » However, at the moment when you decide to hit your drop shot, your racquet slips a little bit
in your hand about half an inch in the wrong direction. You attempt to make your drop shot anyway with this new grip (one
you’ve never used before, but you have committed yourself) all the while thoughts at terrific speeds are giving you a lot of
information: « Softly, softly! Hit up on the ball: hit up, hit up…HIT UP YOU IDIOT!!! »
The ball lands at the bottom of the net…
At first you don’t realize it, but the head voice of earlier is now screaming out loud and you have thrown your brand new racquet onto
the ground. Your adversary is quite pleased. Needless to say, the first set has been lost in a tie-breaker and the second set was
a mere formality; you have lost it 6-0. You were a phantom after losing the first set, feeling as if you were somehow disconnected
to your body and its sensations. You wonder if it is worth it to continue playing tennis at all…
You were right about one thing: you were completely cut off from your body and henceforth, your ability to play tennis well…

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