Menagerie of Me

The beginning of this is actually an old blog. Not a “reprint,” but a “forgotten to print.” I was going to reference it in a new blog and realized I’d never posted it. So rather than have a confusing blog, I’m just going to post this and work out the rest later. I figured this one should be here first… and deserved an updated ending.

Layers, layers, layers. That whole onion metaphor is truly spot-on when you delve inside and are honest with yourself. After the divorce I spent some time peeling layers and playing dress up [which was actually kind of fun] and trying to figure out what color the center was—because as a wise Greek girl once said, “You’re still an onion inside. You might be bright purple instead of the deep blue you were expecting, but you’re still an onion… not an apple.”

But it goes deeper than layers.

I have a cacophony of voices cruising around my mind on a regular basis, not counting the characters that take root for spurts or the muse that pops in and out. Some voices are nothing more than hats worn by the amalgamation of me: mother, writer, friend, co-worker. But these are the modes by which I travel, not really the parts from which I’m made. The parts run deeper, purer, and come forth in strange combinations to fill the hat of the moment.

Those deeper parts—those little nodules beyond the layers of onion—are the importance behind looking inside oneself. Those are the things you need to both understand and accept. Those are the personalities that flick through your eyes, control your emotions or decisions, and play across the field of hats that make you unique. Me? I’m Sybil… multiple cores, and just crazy enough to not only label them but reference them as if they were as tangible as the flesh that holds them inside.

Let me introduce you…

I’ve got a wise old woman (the Gypsy). She is the voice of reason and caution. She questions everything, watches and listens to what’s going on around her, takes what’s useful or necessary from lessons learned and builds on the foundations of failures. She can be a horrible skeptic at times, but tends to be the one I listen to the most when a dilemma pops up. She’s tough but level headed. She’s old and beat up, feels her age, remembers her past, and holds onto the wisdom of its pain rather than its tears.

Next is the child, the 12-year-old heart that you’ve either heard referenced or witnessed (Sparkles). She is spoiled and pouts, but also blows bubbles and skips in public. She laughs at the silly and screams at the unexpected. She’s boisterous and precocious. She whimsical and fun. And while the rest of you can have a good time with her, I need to keep her on a short leash or she’ll run amok with my emotions. She’s the dreamer. Her eyes speak of mischief. She’s the one that hopes and plans and thinks everything will be just fine after some ice cream.

I’ve got a bitch with a heart of gold (Wenchie). She’s tough but nice. She’s brutal but fair. She takes no shit and enjoys dishing it out. She’ll push her best friends as hard as she can, and then hide the wounds their pushing creates. She let’s no one see anything. She’s my protection, my strength—my fortitude when I think there’s none left. She’s a professional wall builder and bad gardener. She doesn’t just allow the weeds to spread, she welcomes them, in hopes they’ll cover her walls so she appears natural rather than guarded.

I’ve got a young girl with a broken heart and and a head full of nightmares (Gracie). She is the polar opposite of my child. She flinches and cringes, she cries and remembers the pain behind the scars I carry. The muse loves her. Loves to tap her, poke her, and egg her on. She’s very fragile and sometimes impossible to control. She keeps the wounds fresh and the emotions fluid, against my best efforts to stop her. She’s afraid of everything and trusts no one. She assumes everyone is equal to those that hurt her, but the old woman keeps her in check and reminds her that each of those demons have faces all their own.

We’re all a little crazy—you just have to admit it and embrace it. And I do both. I understand that in any given situation, one of these personalities is in charge. Usually. Sometimes there are power struggles. Sometimes there are arguments. But in general, one is in charge. Lately, there’s been a lot of arguing. And after a rough night of soul searching, I found them all in agreement. A rarity. They each gave their opinion. They each offered their solution. And then they each bowed out politely and let a new voice take over…

A woman I’ve been trying to figure out for over two years now.

She’s confidant but not cocky. She’s romantic but realistic. She’ll go to an upscale restaurant and hide her swinging bare feet under the long table cloth. She’s both child and matron, carefree yet cautious. She can show you the bruises and scars, but explains the injuries with an “it is what it is” attitude. She’s got a past but she looks forward rather than backward. She’ll laugh at adversity and cry at the sight of a butterfly. And while she sounds like a combination of the rest, she’s not. She’s more than that, she’s deeper than that.

And if I’m honest, truly honest, I don’t think she’s new at all.

I think she’s always been there. I think she may be where the rest of them came from. The part of me that is pure. Perhaps she has lived 40+ years and created the other little demons along the way to carry the burden of different aspects of life and its experiences. She’s the one responsible for categorizing my life, my emotions, my decisions. This personality that I’ve been regarding as new growth, as a stranger to me… She’s the purple at the core. Always has been. But she’s always assigned the situations. She’s never let the layers fall away and taken hold of the reins herself. She’s never allowed the others to play together until now.

She is every facet of me. She is the scars of the past and the hope of the future. She is survival… and she’s finally decided to bloom.

Thoughts? Tell me what you think...

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