Gut Check (or How I’m Learning to Listen to My Own Voice)

I’ve always believed it steadfastly: that what is meant for you will not pass you by. But with that said, I’ve spent more time in abject existential dread, wondering when, oh when, would what is meant for me come ardently striding my way, ready to be met unflinching with wide open arms. If however I am completely, brutally honest with myself here, those moments come perhaps more often than I am readily willing to admit. And they have sweepingly been dismissed, stymied, and almost constantly told, “no, not that sign, it’s got to be bigger and in Helvetica font” by yours truly.

In youth, which I think I can still claim, you have the defense of inexperience. Doing uncharted things, wanting the unknown, while also by and large being untested and unproven, is the Sisyphean battle with which all of us contends daily. The ol’ “yes, I think I have the nerve today, *big push*, nope, too hard, too scary, back to lounging in the comforts of inertness and pining for that shining day off on the future horizon where I am affirmed, successful, and have a fully formed frontal lobe and an 8-digit net worth”. Suffice to say, it’s terrifying to want for more, and maybe even more terrifying to want for less or simply nothing at all. It’s really terrifying any way the cookie crumbles. Fun, no?

I’ve started to play a bit of a game of devil’s advocate with myself. Call it growth or call it all those TikToks about self-actualization and manifestation that might actually be penetrating the very brain that it is also simultaneously corroding. I’ve started to wonder whether good things might indeed follow if preceded by good work, good intentions, and good energy. Maybe fear in and of itself is not reason enough to stay firmly planted in self-doubt like a fly in resin. We all have those affirming moments, wherein some little gut voice inside of us dares to say, “this here is a feeling I might like to recapture”. But probably very meekly and with some uptalking so you’re not entirely sure if your own little voice is completely convinced. My unsolicited counsel, and I am signing my name to this, so you are within your right to sue if this is bad counsel: add a damn exclamation point at the end and give the little friend a megaphone.

Life being as it is already gives us enough reason for pause. To not trust the innate part of ourself that knows just exactly what brings us the life force that is unconditional joy. But in a world rife with so many things with joy being objectively most scarce in supply, I submit we grant ourselves the audacity to listen to the tiny, persistent whispers of our attuned gut. The thing that has been with us a lifetime, observing every obstacle and triumph in equal part, nudging us ever closer to quiet, enduring, fulfilled contentment. Listen, I get it, I’m declaring myself a recovering gut-denier right here, right now, but from here on out, we’re working on the same side. Those whims resting inside you, inside all of us, are the very seeds that grow movements, enliven worlds, create legacies, and most simply and far more importantly, give us those moments of connection to the purest and most earnest parts of ourselves that want nothing more for us than to live most truthfully and boldly. In so very many ways, our gut is our best friend, wanting ever more for us than maybe we mere mortals might dare to wish for ourselves. And all because it sits in quiet knowing that lounging inside you is a life just patiently, but also restlessly waiting to be listened to. If you would only listen for the little voice speaking just above a whisper.


Performing Artist and Writer still very much in the throes of love with life, New York, and adverbs.

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Kate Bullock

Performing Artist and Writer still very much in the throes of love with life, New York, and adverbs.