I drove about 15 miles north of the city cruising at 60 plus, fingers fidgeting with the radio station dials. My ear grew weary of the same song heard over and over and so I flip, flip, flip. I hesitated on “The Monster” by Eminem and Rihanna and sung along to a verse, then the chorus:
“I’m friends with the monster that’s under the bed. Get along with the voices inside of my head.”
I let loose, singing as if I’m the next Mariah Carey or Beyonce and imagining myself a diva with the voice of an angel when in reality I only sing by myself in the car and have a voice that attracts stray cats.
The chorus of “The Monster” really gave me pause. Get along with the voices inside of my head? No, I’m not sure that I do. And there aren’t multiple voices, either. It’s really only one voice in my head and she became more defined for me at a retreat back in January. One of the speakers called her the ego and named her “shady bitch.” I laughed at that name a little too long and a little too hard because it struck a nerve. Mine is the shadiest bitch of them all, I thought. The bitchiest bitch.
I know exactly what she looks like. She’s me, but better. The me I wish I looked like with the life I wish were mine. Of course, she knows this and I can only presume that’s why she gloats so much. This is she:
My shady bitch is tall at 6’1″ with just past her shoulders blonde hair that’s wavy and bouncy in all the right ways. Her eyes are bluer, a bit more piercing. She wears a tasteful curve-accentuating dress adorned with some sequins (nothing too flashy and definitely alluring) and somehow she executes the balance of girl hot and guy hot seamlessly. She maintains an intriguing mystique, never revealing too much and always leaving you wanting more. Her skin is flawless, her makeup perfect and she had a six-figure salary by the time she was 30 years old.
Don’t you just want to slap her silly?
Here’s an insight into a recent exchange of conversation between the two of us:
She: You’re ugly. (hesitates, reevaluates?) Well, maybe that’s a little harsh. Shall we say un-pretty?
Me: “Un-pretty?” You must be listening to TLC again. No, I’m not as ugly as I thought I was at 13, but you’re right. I’m not pretty.
She: You have small eyes and pale eyebrows. Your skin isn’t perfectly even.
Me: Thanks. (like I didn’t know this before) I know. I use makeup. I try to make myself prettier. I wish I were prettier.
She: Maybe you should try harder.
Me: (silence; is unsure how to respond)
She: You were stupid to get a theatre degree. Did you think you were going to be famous or something?
Me: The stage is what I loved. Acting and writing. Writing and acting. I wanted to be successful for me. Yeah, I thought I could be an actor.
She: Hmmm. Guess you thought wrong.
Me: I wish I could go back and change things. I would if I could, now that I know more. Do things differently.
She: Well, you can’t. You were stupid. Now you’re stuck.
Me: (offended) I’m not stupid. I was pretty smart.
She: (staring at me, judging me, offering no response)
Me: (protesting) You’ll see. It will out for me somehow.
She: But it might not.
Me: (resigned, with a sigh) You’re right. It might not.
And so I sit with my fear that everything shady bitch has ever said to me is true. I’m worthless, stupid, “un-pretty,” a bad decision-maker, the list of my flaws and shortcomings is endless.
That’s why I drove away from the city – to practice sitting a different way. It was the final class in a three-week meditation seminar. We learned how to crawl, then walk and now, this final week, we were going to run. Meditation is something I’ve tried to do over the past few years with varying degrees of success and regularity and thought this seminar would help bring more focus to my practice. My purpose is to find clarity, self-knowing and a cure for what is dying inside me.
Sitting in the quiet, I’m no part of shady bitch and she’s no part of me. Her criticisms are suddenly silenced. Here in this place I look to find me, who I really am. Here in meditation, you are not your body. You are not your thoughts. You are greater than both. You have no shady bitch.
That’s reason enough for me to sit.