Maximum Occupancy

My brain is a crowded place.

According to Freud, my brain is home to three distinct personalities: the id, the ego, and the superego. A mental health professional once described them to me this way: the id is the petulant child (cue toddler screaming, "MINE! MINE! MINE!"); the ego is the teenager (think: THAT'S NOT FAIR!); the superego is the parent--the beleaguered being whose job it is to keep that screaming toddler and angry teenager in check. I hear every single one of those voices on an almost daily basis--although the teenager and toddler seem to have worn down the parent quite a bit.

There's another voice in my head, and it's the strongest one. It's also the most destructive. That's the voice of my negative critic, or NC. NC's favorite word is "but." As in "Sure, you can try to lose weight, but you know it won't last." Or "Go ahead and write that novel, but it won't be any good and no one will want to publish it." Basically, she's a bitch.

Somewhere inside, there's also a girl, about 12 years old, cowering in the face of NC. That's the girl whose voice I strain to hear. She's the one who dreams of being a published novelist. She's the one who wants to be physically fit enough to hike mountains or cross-country ski or do yoga without falling over. She's the one I'm trying to nurture and strengthen. She is what one might call my authentic self.

It gets tiring, listening to these voices jockey for control of my psyche. Like that little girl and the beleaguered superego, I get worn down. Sometimes, all I want is a little peace and quiet.