Sometimes, I feel angry. Sometimes, I feel like I shouldn’t speak. Sometimes, I feel upset and emotional. Generally speaking, I communicate to my heart’s content – I participate, express myself, but only to a certain extent. Otherwise, I fear it comes across as overpowering. Like I’m “too assertive” or too this or too that.
I have four voices in my head. Let me introduce them.
Appearance tells me I should wear this outfit to look just like that perfect combination between casual, professional, cute, and sexy. She sometimes says that I need to be skinnier or tanner, that I have too many pimples, and that I should look like a Kardashian. Typically, she says that I am terrible at hair and makeup. She leans on the side of casual and cute and has not yet allowed the sexy side to make its debut. She comes on strong and we talk every day.
Behavior dictates what I do and when I do it. She wants me to be a people-pleaser, and encourages my communication, strength, and assertiveness. She filters out things that she knows are not acceptable to say, especially curse words. She makes me think I should have better manners, especially with stomping around the house accidentally. Behavior and I are often in sync and I don’t second guess what she says 99% of the time. She keeps me safe and secure and hasn’t let me do anything wild and crazy or screw anything up big-time. She doesn’t like it when I feel angry, sad, or emotional, and often wants to make it go away so as not to be an embarrassment. She likes me to say “sorry” for no reason and it’s hard for her when I shake things up a little and do something not totally acceptable. She wants me to work hard, which I enjoy, but also makes sure I do everything in my power to succeed.
Society is what everyone else thinks about me or I guess sometimes what I think everyone else thinks of me. I would like to just forget and not listen to what Society thinks of, and typically I can, but it definitely has its impacts. After all, it makes sure I don’t walk down the street naked or drive 150 mph on the freeway. Society tells me that I shouldn’t participate, that I can’t possibly like math or science, that I am too loud, too passionate, too driven, and too much or not enough of whatever the hell else it thinks of. I don’t like to listen to Society, but it definitely likes to share its thoughts. It makes me feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. It sometimes doesn’t let me breathe.
The Shadow is my wild side. I’ve yet to truly delve deep into this side of me. This is pure anger, pure emotion, pure wild and crazy and totally out there. She doesn’t listen to what any of the other voices believe in and always votes differently. She and I haven’t really met. She is starting to come out, with cursing, especially at the stupid ticket machine I have to deal with multiple times a day at the office. She wants me to party and dress sexy and just do things that I would never even think of doing. She wants to start up a Fight Club. She wants to stay up all night and just drive around for no reason. She likes to waste time. She is epic and likes to have a good time. She’s the one that surprises everyone for knowing or doing things I never thought possible. It’s funny because she’s also the one that sort of inspires me to explore and makes me understand that I can do anything. I’m nervous about my Shadow because I just don’t know her yet.
As humans, we need to learn to grow and explore the different sides of us, from the distraught to the happy to the wild side. As a society, we need to allow for women to communicate in ways commonly more acceptable for men and to make sure men can communicate in ways more acceptable for women.