I was sitting there in her office. My shoes off, feet folded underneath me as I sat on the couch. A rather large stuffed dog with sad eyes was sitting next to me on my left, just chilling, staring at me. She said something, but I didn’t catch it, so I asked her to repeat it.
“Next time we’ll have to start unpacking that.”
“What?” I asked her.
“The feeling of doom.”
“Greeeeaaaaaat.” I said in a fake sarcastic happy tone.
“We need to figure out how to silence that voice in your head,” she said.
And then it hit me.
I shared with her a vlog I had watched by Tiffany Dufu, author of “Drop the Ball”. It was about Cynthia, the name she has given to “the voice” inside her head who always has negative things to say.
I left her office, and by her I mean my therapist-counselor-whatever you want to call it, and went on my merry way.
(Side Note: There is no shame in seeing a counselor; it doesn’t mean I’m damaged and I’ve long unpacked that bag… one moment while I put my soapbox back in storage)
I headed to Erbert and Gerberts to grab a quick lunch and while I was sitting there, I heard it. It is the little but very loud voice in my head that likes to tell me how much I suck, am a slacker, or could be doing so much more, so much better. I somehow managed to silence it, finished my lunch and headed out the door.
My husband and I were going to be headed on vacation that afternoon and I needed to finish packing. I got the vehicle loaded, house cleaned, and we finally headed out around 5pm. My husband, Josh, was driving the first leg of the 8 hour trip, and that’s when I heard it. That tiny voice in my head started in on me. I tried to silence it to no avail.
“If you don’t check your email one more time you’ll miss something and someone will think you aren’t dedicated enough”.
“It must be rough going on vacation when you were just gone even if that was a family emergency”
“People are going to think you are a slacker”
We stopped for a quick supper and I took over driving. My husband starts work at 5am so he soon fell asleep. And that’s when I really started to hear the little voice in my head and I decided to take a lesson from Tiffany and give that voice a name.
As I was driving along I-90 East, I started trying different names…. outloud.
“Not today Janet!”… no not feeling it.
“Shut up Delores!”…. nope.
“What the hell Megan”… next…
“Oh hell no Patrice!”… me likey.
By this time my husband was awake and wondering what the hell I was doing. I briefly told him and then he asked me if I remembered what show Patrice was from. I could not recall, so he started quoting in voices and then it hit me.. it was from “How I Met Your Mother”. Well… so much for that, I want my voice to be original.
We stopped at a hotel overnight which was legit unplanned (something about my Dad freaking out about us driving into Chicago in the early hours of the morning – safety first you must stop) and when Josh fell asleep, I googled “Top 10 Ugly Old Lady Names”. I was digging this whole naming my inner voice concept. So they started coming up.
And then I saw it. It was just sitting there waiting for me. No offense to anyone who has this name, but I said to myself “Oh for f@#$ sake Eileen, not today!” And I felt all warm and fuzzy inside.
It was like I was riding a polka dot unicorn in slow motion with my right arm raised; my mouth wide open with a Zena Warrior-like cry.
And so, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to you to meet Eileen… she’s a real B.
Eileen lives to love everything that causes me anxiety, self-doubt and shame.
Not only will she siphon water from my glass until it is half empty, but that B will stare me down while she gargles my water and then smile with a “what now” shit eating grin while she has her feet up on my desk… MY desk!!!
And if that isn’t enough, she will sip my remaining water while pressing all of my shame buttons.
She’s so good at what she does she could sell shit to the sewer department.
She never sleeps but is like the annoying friend at a sleepover “Are you still awake? Hello? Oh good I need to talk to you”, when you’ve been sawing logs for nearly 2 hours.
And so, the magic began.
“What would you know anyway, Eileen”
“No one invited you, Eileen”
“Zip it, Eileen”
“Oh hell no, Eileen!!!!!”
And then I began to feel it. I was taking back the power. I was shutting Eileen up and putting her in a corner so fast that not even Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing could get her out.
Because as it turns out, naming the little voice in my head made it not so powerful.
It’s only day 1, but I can tell you that so far, it’s working pretty well, if I don’t say so myself.
And I do, because no invited you Eileen, you’re a real B.
Feeling inspired to name your inner voice? Click here to view Tiffany Dufu’s Vlog about her inner voice, Cythnia