Frank is a class A jerk. I have other words, but this blog gets out there where people have expectations of my professional vocabulary, so I’ll settle for just, jerk.
Frank is the new name I gave to the voice in my head. You’ve heard about the voice before. He’s been with me all along, and he says really nasty things. The trouble is, he has enough truth in what he says that his running commentary cannot be ignored.
For example, Frank will remind me of how I have no disabilities or road blocks in my way, the way so many other people do. Frank has little tolerance for soft pudgy white middle class American men who whine. Frank should have little tolerance for us: we have it coming.
But Frank is not a builder, he’s a destroyer. Instead of motivating, he crushes. He’s a real drag to have around. I used to think of him as Frank Grimes, aka Homer’s Enemy from The Simpsons. And he did indeed have a point: guys like Homer are what’s wrong with America.
Now I’ve decided that this Frank, is more like Frank Underwood. If you don’t watch House of Cards (and if not, what is WRONG with you?) this is the main character, played by Kevin Spacey. He’s not just an anti-hero in the vein of Tony Soprano, Don Draper or Walter White. He’s a full on villain.
Frank has little tolerance for weakness, and he will exploit it in others to get his way. He’s brilliant at what he does. As a viewer, even after his atrocities, you come to respect him as a “player” of the game. But in the end, he offers nothing but self-interest and Machiavellian destruction of anyone who doesn’t fit his plan.
I try to outrun him, but it’s not always easy. The “real” Frank is actually a solid runner on the show. (This is my biggest “reality” issue: a seasoned runner like his wife Claire would never actually struggle to keep up with him.) – So I can’t beat Frank by athletic prowess. And he knows that. So that’s where he hits me. He taps into my insecurities about still being so slow, and combines that with the winter blues that have finally hit me hard enough to make a dent. In doing so, he creates a toxic chemical reaction worthy of the aforementioned Mr. White, and he knows this is a drug that has a great effect on me.
So today, when I had fallen prey to negativity that was fueled by my own self-rage for allowing myself to even be upset about these trifling first world problems, I was ready for a full on depressive pity-party shame spiral. Frank was shouting me down.
I decided to do the only thing in my power. I took him for a run. But since I know I can’t outrun him for now, I can try to win the battle by persistence. Frank is a bully, but he will move on if he doesn’t think he’s getting anywhere. I don’t have to go faster than him, I just have to keep going long enough so that he loses interest.
I think I left him on Fremont road today. For the first mile, he’s always strongest. He’s so inside my head, I start to believe all his accusations. I make plans to give up, to pull the plug on all these projects. He has me convinced before I go a mile, that this is all pointless.
But I force myself to keep going, and it happens: he gives up. I outrun him by sheer will.
If you have a Frank in your head, take him out for a run and don’t come back until he gives up and sulks away. You don’t have to be victim to your own negative voices. Run them down until they give up, and the positive ones are all that survive.