When you’re as neurotic as I am, (aside from having a lifetime of writing) you’ve had a lifetime of therapy as well.
But psychologists can get extremely bored with you and your same old stories replaying, so they’ll often have you do simple “therapeutic exercises.” Nothing that would make you feel awkward or silly of course! Just sitting on their couch and pretending a part of your personality is in the empty chair across from you. And then talking to it. “Speak to your Fear & Anxiety and tell it everything will be okay,” they’ll encourage.
And they love role-playing “games.” But they always make me play the part of ME. Hmmph.
But if they find out you’re a published author, this one becomes their favorite idea — “Write a letter from your Younger Self to Your Present Self” or “From Your Future Self to Your Intuition.” Or “Your Small, Fragile Child” or “Your Angry Side” or “Your Control Freak.”
However, what they really get off on is having you do certain things with “Your Inner Critic.”
Let’s see . . . so far I’ve embraced my Inner Critic. Then in a shocking move, I fired my Inner Critic. Apparently I hired him back however because next thing I knew, I was instructed to silence my Inner Critic. I still have to tame my Inner Critic, then challenge and conquer him. We’re very busy together.
My point being with all these different facets of my personality floating around various therapists’ offices, I thought it was high time I did something completely innovative with all of them. I would invite everyone to a fun cocktail party!
“Hi Personality Traits! Please come to a formal gathering so we can all get to know each other better and then we can rely on one another when we need help or when we just have an impulsive desire to be one well-rounded, sane person! Potluck, of course! See you at my house. Oops, I mean OUR house.”
I was nervous an hour before the get-together but my Perfectionist showed up early and laid out the silverware, plates, and napkins in meticulous order. Okay okay, Miss Compulsive might have come along as well, but I think she busied herself threading fruit salad onto skinny wooden skewers. Soon the kitchen was alive with a cacophony of noise and conversation as various parts of me interacted.
Lazy Bones: Seriously? Who do you think is gonna clean up this huge mess?
Eating Disorder (ED): And how come you’re only putting out healthy fruit and veggies and some measly cheese and crackers? Where are the Oreos, Nutella, and pints of Rocky Road?
Mean Girl: Like oh my god! You can’t eat anything until you fit back into your cheerleading uniform from high school. And what makes you think anybody will show up to a boring party that Loser you throws anyhow?
Confidence: Hey everyone, after we have a few ice-breakers, I’m gonna read aloud one of my classic Huffington Post humor pieces. You’ll love it and never stop laughing.
My Fiancé: (Yes I just got engaged and he’s the only actual real person at this wild shindig!) That sounds great Stephanie. I’m so proud of you, but first let’s go into your room…
Me: (tossing hair in a flirty flounce) Oh, really? Right now?? Well okay, Handsome. Come along Inner Critic, Bitter About Prior Divorces, Blame, Shame, Aggressive, and Sarcasm. Oh alright, Fragile Little Child, you’re welcome in our bed too. In fact, let’s try this with everyone for a change! C’mon y’all — we’ll be swingers!
Inner Critic: Lights off!
My Fiancé: Yep, that’s the drill.
Bitter About Prior Divorces: You’re just like the rest of my ex-husbands. Already implying our sex life is mundane and predictable.
My Fiancé: Let’s hammer out the details. And shelve it.
Fragile Little Child: I don’t wanna put this discussion on the shelf. Tell me now! You’re leaving me, right? I feel scared and tiny. And vulnerable.
My Fiancé: I’m not going anywhere as long as you can take all my pounding.
Confidence: (fluttering eyelashes) Well I like it rough, but gentle can be nice too. I can handle anything you got!
Asks For What She Needs: But can I get a lot of support?
My Fiancé: Definitely. It will hold up to a lot of abuse if nobody throws a wrench into it and you go easy with all your many hang-ups.
Self-Defense Mechanism: Like you’re so perfect! You have a few skeletons in the closet too, I’m sure. Maybe you’re a skirt-chaser?
My Fiancé: Skirts? Nope, I just can’t wait to come out of this closet!
Waiting For Other Shoe to Drop: What?? You’re gay? See that! I knew something like this would happen to prevent our future happiness. Can’t you at least fix it to swing both ways??
My Fiancé: Stephanie, can you stop integrating all the different sides of you for just a moment? I need to concentrate on getting this extra storage wardrobe built. Otherwise when I finally move in, I’m afraid I’ll drown in all of your clothing! Why do you have so many dang dresses anyhow?
All Personalities: (simultaneously) Surely you don’t expect all of us to wear the same size, do you? !
Big thanks to my new fiancé who will hopefully be just as understanding as he was when he was my boyfriend that I use his “persona” here for PURE FICTION!