The Madam and the Mistress

What’s next? Her mind asks her seductively

Penelope refuses to give attention to the thought. “No! Focus” she sharply whispers outloud. She’s starring at her computer screen, atleast twenty tabs are open, multiple apps running and several desktops on her MacBook. “What was I doing?” She thought. “Oh right, homework.”

Nothing is happening fast enough. Look at Etsy or Pinterest. The sultry voice now a little incredulous.

“I know. I need to put more on my calendar, to stay on track” she thinks to pacify the voice that is so rudely interrupting her unproductive work. Penelope opens her calendar, records assignment due dates and milestones, texts a few friends, makes some plans and feels more on track. But it’s been two hours. Instead of crossing things off her list, she’s put more on it.

Idiot. That’s why you never get anything done. Planning. Planning. Planning. Always dreaming, rarely doing. Stupid girl. You’ll fail. You always do. 

The mistress hands the mic to a Madam in a geisha house. As if trying to keep a new girl in line.

“No! I hear you. I don’t believe you. I can do this. I can do everything I’m trying to do. My homework, my business, my life. I can do this.” 

Sure you can. Keep telling yourself that. Afterall you’re getting so much done right now. The mistress injects her patronizing words through Penelopes grey matter like a parasitic worm, overpowering any positive  affirmations she can muster.

She has some lunch. Takes a nap. Takes a walk. Calls a couple friends. The day passes. Nothing on her list done. A week goes by. Each day, a similar pattern.

“Why did I think I could do all this. I’m so far behind…on everything. Dammit. I’m failing at everything.” Penelope begins to cry.

I told you. You’re worthless. Insignificant. Going nowhere. You should be more focused at work. You should do that favor for your mom. You aren’t spending anytime with people that need you. Terrible employee. Terrible friend. 

Now she’s in a full blown sob…an ugly cry. 

Nothing will ever be happen fast enough because you aren’t good enough. Always making it about you.

The voice is no longer the sultry mistress trying to seduce her into narrow alleys of guilt. Nor is she the Madame, whipping her into submission, to succumb to the needs of others. Now it’s her ex husbands voice, every lost friend and every critic she’s ever encountered. 

The tears stop flowing. The hyperventilating ceases. A stronger voice, a nurturing voice, her own voice and only hers…

I love you. I’ve got your back. You’re right where you’re supposed to be. Don’t let the Madam or the Mistress lead you astray. They get a tad jealous. Their master is Ego.

She feels a warmth envelope her like a nurturing hug from a parent. Penelope laughs out loud at the rediculous mess of her own brain.

“Oh hell no. It’s never been all about me. And when it is about me then I really need it. I know you- you’re my biggest critic. I’m better than you. I don’t need to cross things off my list to know I’m worthy. I just am. I will fail at some of these things. Then I’ll get up and do it again. Better. Stronger. 

Penelope didn’t turn in the paper. She cancelled every social engagement for the next week. She changed some big plans that no longer fit. She went to yoga. She danced to music. She did everything not on the damn list. And she’s didn’t feel bad, she didn’t feel guilty. She just felt joy. For several days…no past, or future. Only the present.

We all know this battle. The battle where we are are only fighting ourselves. When we start a track but our priorities change, or our lives shift. Or we simply need to let ourselves fail. Sometimes it can feel like failing is not an option, but failing is just as important as succeeding. Sometimes we need to let go, rip up the to do list, throw it in the air and let pieces fall where they may. đź’ś