She Needs To Follow The Rules

Okay, so we let Self-Loathing in the house. She’s a part of me too, after all. I’m learning that all the parts have their place; it doesn’t do any good to try to chase some of them away.

This morning, we’re all sitting around the big table together: Compassion, the girl, Weekend Laziness, the Housekeeper, Snarkiness, and Hope. We’re eating raspberries for breakfast when we hear shuffling on the stairs. Self-Loathing comes in the room. She looks cleaner than she did last night, though she’s still wearing the same ragged clothes. She smells like lavender, so I guess she did take that bath.

“Come join us,” Compassion says, scooting over to make room at the table. “There are plenty of berries.”

Self-Loathing remains standing, looking at us. Her eyes are a bit glassy, unfocused. She takes something out of her pocket. It’s a small gun, which she holds up to her head.

The girl stiffens and cries out, and Compassion puts her arms around her, pulling her close. The others are quiet and watch.

But I’m not allowing this. I walk up to her and take the gun out of her hand. “Absolutely not,” I tell her in a firm voice. “You are welcome here, but this gun is not. No weapons in the house.”

I hand the gun over to Weekend Laziness and ask her to dispose of it in the usual manner. She in turn gives it to Snarkiness and asks her to dispose of it. Snarkiness rolls her eyes and murmurs something under her breath about the apparent immobility of Laziness but gets up from the table. She takes the gun, walks to the front porch, and drops it into out magical This-Doesn’t-Belong-Here (TDBH) disposal chute right next to the mailbox.

“Here’s the deal, Self-Loathing,” I tell her, my voice a little more gentle. “We have a few rules in this house. Not many, but the ones we have are inflexible. No weapons. No killing anyone, including yourself. No deliberate endangerment of self or others. If you have difficulty sticking to this, you are required to let us know, and we’ll have Compassion and Hope hang out with you for a while. We won’t punish you for feeling this way, but we also won’t permit you to wallow in self-destructiveness by yourself. Do you understand?”

She stands still. But her eyes are more focused. She looks from face to face. Snarkiness nicely looks away in order not to frighten her too much with her usual dirty looks. Self-Loathing doesn’t say anything, but she nods.

Hope stands up with a big bowl of raspberries. “Come on,” she says, taking Self-Loathing by the hand. “Let’s go upstairs and eat these in peace. And then maybe we can find you something else to wear. I think I have a sundress you can borrow.”

They go upstairs. While Compassion rocks the girl on her lap, humming, the Housekeeper starts to clear the table. Snarkiness asks Laziness what she’s going to do to help out today.

“Take a nap in the garden,” Weekend Laziness says with a yawn. “What else?”

 

11 thoughts on “She Needs To Follow The Rules

  1. I love the personification of the facets of your personality. Such a creative way to express your self! Do you ever find that it causes you to struggle any with compartmentalization in your own emotions?

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    • I find that it helps me not be so overwhelmed, especially by the negative or scary emotions. They have often felt overpowering, and I have tried to beat them off, with little success. E (my excellent therapist) tells me that I can accept all of the emotions, but I can also set limits on them. This is what I’m working on, and sometimes putting it in the form of these short stories is helpful. Or at least it amuses me. 🙂

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  2. Weekend Laziness, I applaud you. That is the perfect thing to do today. I’m sure Self-Loathing will need to be reminded of the rules over and over, but it’s worth the repetition. I wonder if there’s anything else she would like to be? It sounds like she could be good at Tough Love.

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    • I love Weekend Laziness. I used to try to keep her under control, but I’ve come to realize she often has the best plans.

      I, too, have thought about the possible transformation of Self-Loathing. But I’m not sure she is transformable. She has been around a long time. Maybe she can be tamed, however. Or maybe I’ll need to call in Compassion and Hope to keep her (and the rest of us) safe sometimes. We’ll see.

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      • All of the above, perhaps. Some days she’ll be on fire and screaming, others she might be coaxed into cooperating. It sounds like she is outnumbered, at least.

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  3. Yah, boundaries are going to be import with this one. I could see her trying to get in cahoots with Snarkiness or being rude to weekend laziness or giving some of the other slightly unbalanced house guests a reason to kick off. But I’m glad she showered and is smelling better. She has been in a lot of pain, and when she is able to stop carrying that burden all herself she may transform and surprise everyone, especially herself.

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  4. Oh, Q, I REALLY like the story set-up in this. Give some real thought to writing out this novel, please! I’d line up to buy it. It’s fun and very evocative at the same time.

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  5. Personifying them like this is very interesting because not only have you given them all a name and identified them, you’ve also given them all a voice and a place in your House. I think this way, you can more successfully integrate all these parts! Awesome!

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  6. Love this approach – and I like the boundary of her following the rules. No one gets to hurt anyone else, and everyone is allowed to have their experience within the rules. Everyone stays safe and supported that way, while being accepted and held in whatever their emotional experience may be.

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